What this German community accomplished will surprise you


What this German community accomplished turned enough heads here in New York that Governor Cuomo is offering $40 million for the design of a Solar Village in Brooklyn.

In 1350, the world’s human population was about 370 million people. It reached 1 billion around 1800, and 2.5 billion around 1950. We passed the last great threshold in 2012 at 7 billion people. If current predictions prove accurate population growth will markedly decline, but the world’s population will still reach 8.3 to 10.9 billion by 2050.

These estimates raise an obvious question: Will we have the resources to sustain ourselves if the world’s population continues to grow as expected? Fossil fuel estimates are often unreliable, but current researchers project we can comfortably depend on this energy source for about 25 years.

What is Solarsiedlung, the Solar Village?

solar village_korrigiert_kopie 2In order to sustain ourselves in the near future, we need to transition toward renewable alternatives. Right now, many of us question the reliability and cost effectiveness of solar, wind and hydro power. It might surprise you to know that a community located in Friedburg, Germany produces four times more energy than it uses. In other words, we already know that the world can run on renewable energy–we just haven’t passed the political obstacles in our way yet.

Architect Rolf Disch was the first man to design a building that would capture more energy than it required. This Sonnenschiff, or Solar Ship, would eventually become the hub for Friedburg’s massive Solarsiedlung, or Solar Village, undertaking. The idea stemmed from the community’s desire to free itself of traditional dependence on the electrical grid, and instead create its own microgrid by installing a large number of rooftop solar arrays.

This can be especially helpful when power grids fail during emergencies. The backup renewable is designed to funnel surplus energy where it is needed the most, like Red Cross centers or shelters.

Solar Village is the first of its kind–but it won’t be the last. New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo is providing a $40 million incentive for the design of a microgrid in Brooklyn.

If you support renewable energy alternatives, then sign the petition to effect real change in Brooklyn.

About Author

Jeff is a self-proclaimed pragmatic futurist; that is, he has high hopes for absurd life-altering technologies which sound too good to be true, and probably are. Although he writes on a variety of subjects, his real passion is for technological innovation and the people who make it happen. By day, he enjoys fuzzy bunnies, kittens, puppies, roller coasters and a sardonic written word or two. By night, he's busy running memyselfandrobot.com, replaying a random Final Fantasy game, or pretending to be Batman. He currently resides in Upstate NY.

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