Green cities aren’t just good for the environment – they’re good for the people who live in them. Freiburg, Germany has a great quality of life with its parks, public transit and clean air. But will the city keep pushing environmentalism or rest on its laurels? Paul Hockenos takes a look.
All posts tagged: Passive Houses
Breaking down the elements of an energy efficient building
The up-front costs of energy efficient buildings and passive houses may be relatively high. But they are one of the most important ways to reduce energy use and thereby emissions – and, of course, energy bills. Justin Havre takes a look at how homeowners and businesses can act.
Why an innovative new eco-hamlet should be the size of a city
Recently, we talked about the fact that Germany’s energy transition has been too electricity-focused. Today, John Grant describes what is necessary for more efficient buildings: the support and understanding of the construction industry.
The magic of efficiency revealed
Germany aims to reduce its energy consumption by 50 percent by 2050 relative to 2005. It sounds like a fanciful target, especially if the country continues to grow economically. But in reality, Craig Morris says, there are two simple steps to this goal, which do not seem so magical once you know them.
Doing something about the weather
As the saying goes, everyone talks about the weather, but no one does anything about it. One grid analyst recently told a German grid operator it was time to take action. Craig Morris investigates.
German government’s three-year Energiewende plan
The German Industry Ministry (BMWi) recently published a chart presenting an overview of the government’s roadmap up to the end of 2016. Craig Morris says it is encouraging to see how much wider the scope is than just the power sector, but he noticed that one thing is still missing.
And the winner is… Passive House!
Last week, the 18th International Passive House Conference took place. As the long tradition shows, this approach to architecture is nothing new; it was a proven success in the 1990s. The building sector unfortunately has not proactively adopted the Passive House Standard, choosing instead to wait until EU law essentially requires it at the turn of the next decade. Craig Morris investigates.
E.ON threatens premature closure of nuclear plant
One common question from pro-nuclear Energiewende critics is what Germany would look like today if it had not switched off 40 percent of its nuclear capacity in 2011. In recent weeks, we have gotten a taste of the answer: massive voluntary shutdowns of coal and nuclear. Craig Morris investigates.
In defense of Passive House architecture
The Guardian reported this month on an energy-saving approach to construction. Craig Morris says that, in attempting to present “both sides” of the story, the journalist misses the point.
German renewables community united
American Ozzie Zehner is looking for “alternatives to alternative energy.” Craig Morris agrees with practically everything he says but nonetheless feels that Zehner’s approach is self-serving. Orgs in the US all protect their own industries. Who is left to call for a true energy transition?