Eco-Friendly Cities: Freiburg, Germany

Frieburg, Germany, Combines Charm and Eco-Friendliness

Nestled far in southwest Germany, on the edge of the Black Forest and close to Switzerland and France, the eco-city of Freiburg is considered by many to be the greenest city in one of the greenest countries in the world.

While Germany is a world leader in the production and use of renewable energy, especially solar, the 220,000 citizens of Freiburg, Germany, take it a step further by going to great measures to reduce energy consumption.

Frieburg, GermanyOne of Germany’s sunniest cities, Freiburg has about 250 miles of separate bike paths and upwards of 9,000 bicycle parking places, including “bike and ride” lots at transit stations. In addition, 70% of the city’s population lives less than half a mile from a tram stop, with trains coming along every eight minutes during rush hour and ticket costs subsidized to further encourage use. The city even boasts a system of water channels, known as bächle, which line the streets and help keep things cool during the summer.

And Vauban, one of Frieburg’s residential quarters, is greener still. While all the houses in this neighborhood are built to low-energy-consumption standards, some citizens of Vauban reside in what are known as “passive” houses, designed and built in ways that are estimated to save up to 90% of heating costs while also providing superb indoor air quality.

Vauban is particularly attractive to the most environmentally conscious, with about 5,000 residents calling it home.

  • Vauban’s Solar Settlement, a residential complex of 59 homes, is the first such community in the world to produce a positive energy balance—meaning the homes produce more energy than they use. Surplus energy is sold back into the city’s grid, resulting in a profit for the residents.
  • To get around, most people walk, bike or take the tram, a quick and inexpensive form of transportation that makes car ownership unnecessary. Some residents choose to pay to join a car-sharing club, hiring cars when necessary for shopping or holidays.
  • Vauban’s layout also helps eliminate the need for cars. The principle of filtered permeability comes into play, with crescents and cul de sacs (instead of straight streets) connecting to a network of pedestrian and bike paths throughout the neighborhood.

If you’re interested in traveling to an eco-friendly as well as historic city, Frieburg, Germany, is a unique place to visit. With its Gothic cathedrals, beautiful mountain scenery and delicious food—plus its commitment to reducing the use of resources—it’s a one-of-a-kind experience.

What do you think about this incredible eco-friendly city? Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below—we’d love to hear from you!

Resources:

Pure Energies: Top 10 Countries Using Solar Power
Sustainable Cities Connective: The World’s Most Successful Model for Sustainable Urban Development?
Passive House: Passive House certification criteria
The Guardian: Is this the greenest city in the world?
Germany Insider Facts: Freiburg Germany – Sunny city with history and great charm

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