Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
  Energy News  

Subscribe to our free daily newsletters

How Can Urban Areas Efficiently Save Energy

Seventy-two municipalities, ranging from million-inhabitant cities to the small towns in the country have responded to the call to develop intelligent and practical energy plans.
by Staff Writers
Bonn, Germany (SPX) Dec 09, 2010
Germany is a country of towns and cities. Almost 90 percent of the population lives and works in urban conurbations - from Aachen to Gorlitz, from Flensburg to Friedrichshafen. The need for energy is obviously highest where these people are located, and that is the key to achieving a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions.

However, what form should intelligent urban redevelopment take, from transport through residential accommodation to workplaces?

"All German towns and cities have great potential for saving energy," states Hermann-Josef Wagner, Professor of Energy Systems and the Energy Economics at Ruhr University Bochum.

The possibilities range from efficient thermal insulation in old buildings to ingenious traffic management and also extend to low-energy lighting of public spaces. Numerous technologies are already available, but their introduction often fails due to high costs, multiple conflicting interests or the ponderous decision-making processes in local bureaucracies.

New ideas through a national competition
The 'Energy-efficient Town' competition, initiated by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research has created some momentum in this hesitant development and could deliver financially viable conversion concepts for the entire country.

Seventy-two municipalities, ranging from million-inhabitant cities to the small towns in the country have responded to the call to develop intelligent and practical energy plans.

Of the 72 respondents, 15 qualified for a 200,000 Euro grant to enable them to prepare their redevelopment strategies. In autumn 2010, this list was reduced to five winning towns and cities. These are Essen, Magdeburg, Stuttgart, Wolfhagen, in North Hessen, and Delitzsch, in Saxony.

"Local authorities must understand their cities as complex systems," says Michael Knoll at the Institute for Future Studies and Technology Assessment in Berlin.

In addition, transparency and public discussion help to achieve widespread acceptance, ensuring that the plans they devise gain the support of their citizens. This rationale prompted the overall winner, the city of Essen, to place its inhabitants firmly at the heart of the climate initiative that it adopted.

Energy from waste
Magdeburg aims to transform itself into an urban role model for renewable energy. An 'Energy Geo-Information System' with the use of refuse and renewable fuels in power stations aims to achieve a 40 percent reduction in the emission of greenhouse gases by 2020, compared to 1990 levels. Stuttgart is setting itself similar targets, and it intends to draw up an 'Energy Roadmap for 2050'.

Delitzsch is also giving careful consideration to the socio-economic aspects of its urban environment and intends to adapt its infrastructure strategy to reflect the downsizing affecting this medium-sized town.

It is important that the ideas tabled by the 15 finalists do not disappear into the archive drawers of the planners. Aachen could become a example for many historical towns and cities to emulate.

The focal point here is the energy-conscious way in which listed buildings are being renovated. Using affordable methods, historical buildings are fitted with more efficient thermal insulation that does not affect their external appearance. Munich intends to promote the bicycle as an energy-efficient means of transport for a cleaner future.

Wolfhagen aims to get all its energy from renewable sources
Wolfhagen, the winner in the Small Towns category, set itself an even greater challenge, despite having a population of barely 14,000. It intends to cover its entire future energy needs from renewable sources.

This target will be achieved by renovating buildings, fitting solar panels, building a 'citizen's wind farm' and using biomass-fuelled power stations. An intelligent power grid will balance out supply and demand, and lay the groundwork for a larger fleet of electrically powered vehicles.

"A great many municipalities could benefit from these solutions, and from a better understanding of the difficulties involved," says the coordinator of the Wolfhagen plan, Christina Sager from the Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics (Institut fur Bauphysik; IBP).

The five winners will be able to implement their concepts over the next three to five years - with financial support of up to one million Euro per year. The German Federal Minister of Education and Research, Annette Schavan, is hoping that all the other participants can still derive benefit from the competition and that "new concepts and research results can be incorporated into urban planning".

Share This Article With Planet Earth DiggDigg RedditReddit
YahooMyWebYahooMyWeb GoogleGoogle FacebookFacebook

Related Links
German Federal Ministry of Education and Research

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

EU wants body-wide green power scheme
Brussels (UPI) Dec 7, 2010
The European Commission wants to pressure Germany into accepting a harmonization of Europe's renewable energy trade. Brussels wants to introduce continent-wide renewable power trading, which would save "billions of euros," according to an energy policy paper prepared by the commission, German newspaper Die Welt reports. European Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger also shoots ... read more

How Can Urban Areas Efficiently Save Energy

Protest halts Dutch power station project

EU wants body-wide green power scheme

Energy Use In The Media Cloud

China's Sinopec to buy Occidental Argentina

Four-bln-dlr electricity warehouse planned for Mexico

Iraq eyes 'Super Six' to boost oil output

Chinese cities can be model for low carbon

Repair And Inspection Services For The Expanding Wind Power Industry

Vestas Selects Broadwind Towers For Glacier Hills Wind Project

Optimizing Large Wind Farms

Enhancing The Efficiency Of Wind Turbines

Unique Solar Hybrid System Hits The Market

RainChief Signs MoU With Prometea Partners

Q-Cells Accelerates 120MW Project Pipeline

Carmanah Awarded Solar PV Contract

S.Korea to build 14 new nuclear reactors by 2024

South Korea pulls out of Lithuania nuclear project: gov't

Saudi wants nuclear power 'soon': US official

UN watchdog approves nuclear fuel bank

Ethanol in crosshairs as deadline nears on tax credit

The Future Of Metabolic Engineering - Designer Molecules, Cells And Microorganisms

Can Engineered Bugs Help Generate Biofuels

Biofuels Have Consequences On Water Quality And Quantity In Mississippi

China Builds Theme Park In Spaceport

Tiangong Space Station Plans Progessing

China-Made Satellite Keeps Remote Areas In Venezuela Connected

Optis Software To Optimize Chinese Satellite Design

Eastern Europe, a "Kyoto champion" facing huge challenges

China on climate charm offensive

Greener Climate Prediction Shows Plants Slow Warming

Upbeat UN climate talks work on hiccups

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2010 - SpaceDaily. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement