Wednesday, 15 July 2015

The £36-a-year utility bill >>> through ‘self-organized collaborative building’

In the German city of Freiburg are hundreds of three- and four-storey shared apartment blocks, baugruppen, which are beautifully designed, self-built and in shared ownership. They use energy from renewable sources, combined with high standards of insulation, to allow a family of four to heat their apartment for about €50 (£36) a year. This is green, collaborative innovation making life affordable for people on median incomes.

Imaginative ideas | The Guardian

Freiburg considers itself as 'one of the birthplaces of the environmental movement':
Green City - Freiburg
Freiburg: City of Vision | International Making Cities Livable

This is a little out-of-date (2011) but it still makes many interesting points about a high-tech city today:

Green Revolution - The Freiburg Model | Made in Germany - YouTube

And this video from 2014 looks at reducing energy use by reducing car use:

Car reduced living in Vauban, Freiburg, Germany - YouTube

What's particularly caught the imagination is the low cost of using energy in the home:

Here's a particuarly good presentation:
Freiburg In search of the renewable city

The big idea behind all this is the 'Energiewende':

A view of an energy future from Freiburg, Germany

Germany’s ambitious energy transition – the energiewende – seems unattainable in the U.S., and maybe it should be. As I mentioned in a column on Sunday, I have reservations about how far and how fast the Germans have moved. Their goal is 60% renewable energy by 2050 (and 80% of electricity) – and with no fracking or nuclear power. But still, I think there are many things to be learned from the German experience, especially for U.S. cities.
I had the chance to visit Germany in May on a fellowship sponsored by the Center for Transatlantic Relations at the Johns Hopkins University in Washington, D.C., and the Robert Bosch Stiftung, a foundation based in Stuttgart, Germany. Journalists from Germany and the U.S. spent a week together discussing energy and European political issues (especially the crisis in Ukraine).
The trip included a day in Freiburg, in Germany’s Black Forest, a bustling university city of about 230,000 nestled among the emerald hills of southwestern Germany. Freiburg is one of Europe’s greenest cities and could be a model for other cities that want to encourage conservation and reduce the use of fossil fuels. Nowhere is the energy transition in Germany presented in such stark relief as in Freiburg.
Signs of Germany’s energy transition are all around. Solar panels glisten in the sun from atop the train station and many homes, churches and schools.  Near the beautiful city center, where pedestrians stride across ancient cobbles to buy fresh produce, flowers and crafts, modern trams help move people about the city. Wind turbines spin out power outside of town. And everywhere people ride bicycles. Each day, thousands of people commute to work on two wheels. So much so that bike accidents are nearly as great of a concern as car crashes, residents told me.

Another idea driving things in Freiburg is the 'Baugruppen':

Published on  by  | Filed in ArchitectureBaugruppenHousing
Editor’s Note: This is Part 2 of a series on Baugruppen, private owners collaboratively building affordable multifamily projects. Read Part 1 or check out the series.
For this installment of the Baugruppen: Badaβ Concepts series, I’ll be highlighting a few policies cities have enacted to allow this ‘self-organized collaborative building’ thing to grow well. And I do mean well, with tens of thousands of completed units in these cities in just over a decade. As I’d like to see this kind of innovation Stateside, I felt the policy overview a good starting point.
Freiburg, Tuebingen, Hamburg and Berlin are baugruppen hot beds that have shaped and promoted this development on an extensive level. There are others (Karlsruhe, Stuttgart, Leipzig, Muenchen) and the concept is moving into other countries including Austria, France and the UK. These jurisdictions have given a phenomenal amount of support, as they see the obvious benefits–to owners, certainly–but also to the greater community, and have worked diligently to get these built. Proactive governmental agencies can seem rare, but these ones are allowing a truly fundamental shift in the way communities are made (not just buildings!), and we should be copying them where we can.

Baugruppen: Proactive Jurisdictions | The Urbanist

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