Day 39: Sustainability and Transportation

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 Sustainability in Germany

Photos above, from top:

1. Older buildings utilized exterior louvers to provide sun shading for buildings to reduce heat gain. (Refer to lower bottom right of photo).

2. Customers return bottles at supermarkets and receive instant cash receipts. These can be used at the counter when paying for groceries.

3. Photo from an earlier post (at Hellerau) showing how drying clothes outdoors has never really gone out of style in Germany, even in up-scale neighborhoods.

The only thing I didn’t see to any degree were solar panels, at least not as visible as in the Bay Area. Given the direction Germany has taken historically to provide steep roof lines for snow load control, it may be facing an uphill battle. The widespread use of penetrations for gabled roofs and attic windows don’t help matters. And there seems to be a lot of cloudy days here. 

Considering how Germany attempts to lead the world in sustainability and zero carbon footprint, this might hamper their reputation in solar energy development. Perhaps China has already pulled the carpet out from under Germany’s lead on industrial production of solar energy by now.

There has been a lot written about Germany’s endeavors to be sustainable, but it seems to come more from the traditional conservation methods than by innovative technology. Perhaps it’s not yet that evident, and it occurs in newer buildings. But for now, at least in Dresden, it hasn’t quite taken taken hold. Its historical use of reducing waste is a far better bet for the future than what the US is able to do for the time being.

Transportation

The Dresden transportation system is one of the delights in coming here. I have managed to get around the city and all the sights I have posted, with few exceptions. It’s safe, clean, and efficient. There’s respect and even affection for public transportation. Why can’t we get it together? 

Buses, cars and bikes are all in symbiotic relationship with each other here. You don’t do stupid things, wait for the lights to change, and minimize the impact on the environment. With taxes being out to good use, the Germans reap the benefits of their efforts.

Photos below, from top:

1. A bus shelter, that posts the full schedule for weekdays and weekends. It’s reliable, practical and clearly identified. Bikers often use the system and bike in between.

2. Interior of the tram system is kept clean and tidy to make it a pleasure to use and appreciate.

3. Window graphics indicate that areas near doorways are for wheelchairs and strollers.

4. The train system has been developed throughout Europe and thrives. Stations like this one up the street from where I live make it easy to get to virtually any point in Europe, or to regional spots. Safe, clean, and efficient.

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2 thoughts on “Day 39: Sustainability and Transportation”

  1. Finally a minute to travel with you again. I LOVE the clothes drying on the line. Brings back fond memories of my childhood. Mom dried clothes, especially sheets and towels, outside almost as soon as it was warm enough. Climbing into a bed freshly made with sun-dried sheets was heavenly!

    About the solar panels…not really sure on that but I do believe that Germany is a leader in wind power. I remember an article in the NYT about the pig farms and how they had multipurposed their land by setting up wind farms. The pigs were clustered about under the gigantic windmills and they did not seem to mind at all. If memory serves, this power is then used across the gird. Anyway, maybe that is another reason whey there aren’t so many solar panels??!!

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    1. I checked Wikipedia and found out a few facts:
      1. The official governmental goal is to generate 100 percent of electricity from renewable sources by 2050.
      2. Germany has been the world’s top Photovoltaic installer for several years and still leads in terms of the overall installed capacity. In 2014, it was ahead of China, Italy, Japan, or the United States
      3. Saxony is only in the middle of the pack of states using solar power. Wealthier states like Bavaria and Baden Wurttemburg are at the top. This could explain why it is less visible around Dresden. I do recall seeing a lot more driving throu Germany last year in the countryside, and certainly far more widespread use of wind power than in the States.
      4. The official governmental goal is to generate 100 percent of electricity from renewable sources by 2050. Currently, it is at 30%.
      5. Wind and solar power combined contribute 17 percent on the national electricity mix. The information did not differentiate which one was higher of the two, but I suspect it is still solar energy.
      6. Germany is projected to lose its leading position as the world’s largest producer of photovoltaic electricity to China before the end of the decade.

      For the complete information, go to http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_power_in_Germany

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