Ecological measures undertaken by Kommune Niederkaufungen

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Ecological measures undertaken by Kommune Niederkaufungen

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Ecological measures undertaken by Kommune Niederkaufungen

In order to reduce their ecological footprint, the members of the commune in Niederkaufungen (Germany) have introduced various types of environmentally friendly technology and changed some forms of behaviour.

Contents

Technology:

  • Cogeneration: A gas-fired domestic combined heat and power (CHP) plant.
  • A log-burning central heating plant for winter heating, using left-over regional firewood.
  • A building integrated photovotaic (BIPV) plant with c. 59 kWp maximum capacity – equalling the electricity use of c. 12 four person households.
  • A solar panel on a residential building for warm water in summer.
  • Two rain water cisterns containing up to 41,000 litres for use in washing machines, toilets and gardens.
  • Water and energy saving devices, including energy saving light-bulbs and domestic appliances, water saving equipment on taps, showers and in toilets, heat insulation on and in buildings (“Iso-floc”).

Behavioural changes:

Mobility:

  • Avoidance of many journeys through working in the commune.
  • Most local journeys by bicycle and public transport. Almost no air journeys. 6 motorcars shared by 75 people.
  • Most motor cars run on rape seed oil (a renewable resource). One mini-electro vehicle (City-El).

(There is some discussion in the commune at present about the use of biofuels.)

Building:

  • Renovations and rebuilding using environmentally friendly materials (Green building).
  • Recycling of materials used in plumbing, electrical installations, flooring (parquet), and tiling etc.
  • Careful room heating in winter with closed windows.

Sharing:

  • Shared use of many objects and facilities by many people.

Consumption:

  • Use of second-hand goods, such as clothing, textiles, furniture, household goods and appliances, and bicycles.
  • On purchase of new goods: choice of durable, high-quality, repairable and ecological consumer goods.
  • Purchase and use of ecological washing powders and liquids, cleaning products and body-care products.
  • Consumption as a substitute for satisfaction of needs is questioned.

Nutrition:

  • About 35% of the commune’s foodstuff (vegetables, fruit, milk products and meat) comes from its own organic agriculture (dairy farm and market gardens).
  • Purchase of foodstuffs which are, where possible, fair trade, organically produced, regional and seasonal. Promotion of these production and trade structures.
  • Bulk purchases. Avoidance of over packed products and rubbish.

Work:

  • The enterprises and workshops in the Niederkaufungen commune try to work ecologically.

Political activities:

  • Support for socially and ecologically sensible projects, both regional and international. 3.2% of commune income is donated to such projects.
  • Political activity and educational work about ecology, intentional communities, alternative networks, and peacework.

Results of these measures:

Research by the University of Kassel together with members of Kommune Niederkaufungen and other communities shows that, per person per year, the CO2 emissions of the commune members are about 37% of the german national average. As the national average is about six times too high for sustainability, also the members of the Niederkaufungen commune are “over the limit”. (In the same survey, the Sieben Linden Ecovillage came out rather better, at about 28% of average german CO2 emissions. For more information see the Ökobilanz section at [1] – Click on “Ökobilanz”.) One improvement which could be made would be a change-over to vegan nutrition.

See also

Agriculture in Kommune Niederkaufungen

Governance in Kommune Niederkaufungen

Reduction of patriarchal structures

External Links:

Kommune Niederkaufungen English homepage

Kassel University Ecological Survey

Solar Panels