While anyone who engages in US and world politics might try to tell you that green energy and sustainability are taking a huge beating, it couldn’t be further from the truth. Even though green projects still don’t have mainstream or widespread government backing in most of the world, that hasn’t stopped some serious forward thinking individuals and governmental bodies from undertaking some truly amazing sustainable building projects. Here are some of the most amazing projects undertaken in recent years.
1. Eco City – Hamburg, Germany
The Eco City is a project being undertaken in Hamburg on the shores of once-forgotten Harburg Harbor. Germany has always been a country taking leaps forward in sustainability, and this initiative takes it even further.
The goal of the project is to create a 100% self-sustainable community with 100 percent fully sustainable power sources and its own office buildings, warehouses, and production facilities. It will also include plenty of tourist facilities like hotels, restaurants, and retail spaces. All of that powered by sustainable energy is truly a great example to show the rest of the world it can be done. Let’s hope they finish it up soon.
2. World’s largest wind farm – Shepherds Flat, Oregon
Wind power is becoming quite trendy lately, even in the United Sates. In fact, the US has the world’s largest wind farm in Shepherds Flat, Oregon.
Funded by a generous loan from the US Department of Energy a few years back, the wind farm is said to generate 845 megawatts of power over 30 square miles of land. That’s enough power to run 235,000 average households and may prevent up to 1.5 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year.
3. Bud Clark Commons – Portland, Oregon
OK, I think it’s becoming more obvious that Oregon is a very forward-thinking state in the United States, and this next example is further proof. The Bud Clark Commons is the result of Portland’s 10-year plan to end homelessness. The building serves as a temporary home to homeless people transitioning into more permanent living arrangements.
The building offers a day center, public courtyard, and easy access to transportation. There is a 90-bed temporary shelter area and 130 separate permanent studio apartments that the homeless can transition into. All of this is fully sustainable and certified by Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED).
The facility has features like graywater recycling, zero stormwater runoff, solar hot water, and a high-performance envelope. The estimated energy savings per year versus fossil fuels is $60,000.
4. Solar energy-collecting bike paths – Netherlands
In the Netherlands, a few companies are joining forces to launch an innovative new idea, bike paths that can harvest solar energy. The project could be a game changer for the world if it works out, proving that much of the world’s sidewalks could be replaced with panels to harvest energy into the grid, potentially saving tons of greenhouse gas emissions and money.
The idea is a simple bike path that’s made of concrete topped with glass. Beneath the surface, silicon solar cells capture energy at an estimated 50 kWh per square mile per year. That sounds pretty small admittedly, but when you scale it up to the size of an average city the savings could be massive.
The path, called the SolaRoad, has already been rolled out in a small test section. It has exceeded expectations so far, which is great news for the future of green roads.
What other sustainable development examples in the real world have you excited for the future? Tell us in the comments!
Contributed by Nicholas Bartholomew