|Freiburg: the world's ecological model city
Situated in the famous Black Forest bordering France and Switzerland, it also houses the world's first ecological district, Vauban, a solar-powered low-energy housing area inhabited by around 6,000 people.
The story of Freiburg, better known as the environmental capital of Germany, goes back to the early 1980s when local people stalled the installation of a nuclear power plant in the city and forced the authorities to switch to renewable sources of energy.
Freiburg is much admired for its cycling, muesli eating and garbage recycling. Its broad climate protection measures have been attracting attention from across the world.
Vauban was established in 1995 by a group of citizens who wanted to show their care for energy.The architecture of houses in the area is totally different from one another. But all of them have solar panels installed on flat roofs, a rainwater harvesting and recycling system, wooden walls and floor.The area also has many passive houses - houses built in a way that they do not need energy for cooling during summer or heating during winter.
"Vauban is the lowest energy consumption area of Germany which consumes only a quarter of energy consumed by an average household in the rest of the country. The solar energy produced by rooftop solar energy panels in the area is sufficient to meet 60 percent energy demands of the residents here," Hans-Gerrg Herr, an expert in renewable energy here, told IANS.