The majority of pollution is produced in the biggest cities around the world. That’s why it’s refreshing to see cities working hard to implement green projects that make a difference. From Hamburg, Germany to Albuquerque, New Mexico, we are looking at some of the most innovative green city projects around the globe.
4 Green City Projects Worth Taking Inspiration From
#1. Solar-powered farmers market in Albuquerque, New Mexico
Farmers markets stand for everything that is green – from the fresh produce to the local workers and businesses they help support. Yet, one farmers market in New Mexico is taking it a step further.
In 2010, the Downtown Grower’s Market switched to solar power, running everything from sound equipment to cash registers using the power of the sun. The four-panel solar array derives around 1,000 watts of energy. Their goal is to make this a permanent shift in the right direction, while inspiring cities all over the world to do the same.
#2. Eco-city in Hamburg, Germany
Eco-city in Hamburg was a three-part project that features a whirlwind of things, including business offices, hotels, as well as pedestrian walkways and wind turbines. Half of the space is free of buildings and reserved for use as open-air plazas. The complex received the highest possible rating from three sustainability rating organizations (LEED, BREEAM, and the German-based GSBC).
The high-rise towers are equipped with wind turbines that at the time of installation were expected to reduce the city’s power needs by an impressive ten percent. In addition, the buildings were outfitted with solar water heating systems and passive design techniques intended to reduce energy usage by as much as thirty percent. In addition, builders reused materials wherever possible and designed the roofs to minimize storm water runoff.
#3. Bike paths that collect solar in the Netherlands
Bike paths are green on their own, but what about bike paths that collect solar? Now that’s stuff of the future – and the Netherlands has already instituted the technology.
Bicycling is very common in the Netherlands so a few different companies teamed up to install bike paths that collect solar energy that can be put back into the grid. The idea behind the “modular cycle path system” was to use a series of concrete panels topped with glass, which contain silicon solar cells sandwiched between to capture energy.
Developers predicted the ability to capture as much as 50 kWh every year per square meter. Considering the ultimate goal is to have the paths cover 137,000 kilometers of pathway – that’s pretty impressive!
The cells are being used to power public utilities, such as traffic lights and street lamps, the pathways also encourage residents and tourists to trade in their vehicles for two-wheel bikes. A win-win for the local environment.
#4. The Biogas Boat in Amsterdam
In Amsterdam, you can get a bite to eat at the Café de Ceuvel and A46K. It’s a boat that offers food and drink made from “biodigesters” that transform organic waste into biogas that is then used to cook in the restaurant. The biodigester containers rely on bacteria to break down waste molecules, turning them into methane gas, which can then be used to fuel ovens and other cooking equipment. The creators call this “closing a loop” on the cycle of waste by using our waste to produce new energy.
3 Things That Make a City Greener
#1. More Greenery, More Parks
Adding greenery and parks to urban cities is crucial to keeping our planet (and us people) thriving for many more years to come. By the year 2050, 75 percent of the global population is expected to be living in urban areas. Parks are the “lungs of a city” and a crucial element to overpopulated urban environments. They help offset the heat island effect produced by concrete jungles, while giving residents a place to escape and catch their breath.
#2. Adding More Bike Lanes
The fewer cars on the road, the better off our Planet will be. Encouraging residents to bike and walk places is a great way to limit traffic. It requires skillful planning of bike lanes and walking paths, but it’s so worth it.
#3. Open Public Spaces
A good green city must have plenty of open spaces for people to relax, congregate and walk around without fear of being run over by a speeding bus or taxi cab. These are excellent spaces to introduce more greenery as well.
At TerraCast Products, we’ve worked on a number of green city projects – like the numerous city squares filled with greenery and open space in New York City. Let us help your city enjoy a greener, better atmosphere, starting with our eco-conscious products that are built to withstand the long haul, because we believe the key to saving this planet is sustainability.