In several European countries grey water is used as an energy source for civil energy provision in cities. (Jun. '08)
Ecostiler “Energy efficient Community Stimulation by use and Integration of Local Energy Resources” is aiming to develop energy efficient communities thanks to the use of locally produced biogas and district heating systems. The goal: to reduce fossil fuel consumption and carbon gas emissions, and serve as a model for other communities.
Under the auspices of the European Commission, researchers and the communities of Amsterdam New West, The Netherlands, London Southwark, United Kingdom, and Mabjerg, Denmark, are teaming to decrease the dependency of these communities on fossil energy. The common and main element is the use of biogas and district heating systems, successful tools in reduction of fossil fuel consumption and CO2 reduction.
In Amsterdam New West, renewable energy is provided mainly through biogas. In this community, the amount of energy produced from biogas has progressively increased from 50% to 90%, thanks to an energy plant and sewage retreatment center linked to a district heating system. Today, 25,000 households in Amsterdam New West – in other words a population of 75,000 people in an area of 20 square kilometres – benefit from heat, hot water and electricity produced from biogas energy.
In order to reduce residents’ demand for fossil fuel, the ECOSTILER project has also stressed energy efficient measures through housing refurbishment. 300 social housing units built in the ‘60s, have been refurbished to conform to sustainable development norms. This means renovations such as updating windows, greatly improving glazing and insulation, modernizing the heating system and domestic hot water supply. It’s also a way of reducing the noise pollution that plagues the buildings along highways. With these refurbishments, Amsterdam New West now meets building norms superior to those in use throughout the rest of the country.
Energy efficiency measures and sources of renewable energy vary according to local conditions. For example, in the remote rural community of Mabjerg, Denmark, a large quantity of wind power is produced, and farms also benefit from energy efficient measures for their barns and cowsheds. The project here is largely driven by local farmers in cooperation with energy suppliers. The ECOSTILER community in London demonstrates different systems of renewable energy production: wind, solar heating, photovoltaic panels, electricity and heat production fuelled by used cooking oil and biogas.
The measures pursued by researchers aim to evaluate the potential to reduce fossil fuels and greenhouse gas emissions in these model communities. Once these measures are thoroughly analyzed, researchers will be able to hone their proposals for other communities throughout Europe.
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