As the world trundles along on the wheels of science and technology, the wind whispers a word of caution about the need for diverting our path towards eco-friendliness. The urgent need of the hour is to orient ourselves towards ecological conservation, biome preservation and pollution elimination. The cities we live in are the microcosms of mundane existence yet play a vital role in our eco-orientation. By proper redesigning and restructuring, a city can turn eco-friendly, saving millions of lives.
Incorporating bicycle lanes in traffic routes, replacing halogens by solar panels as streetlights, using wind turbines as a source of electrical power generation â these are just toddler treads in our travel towards a greener world. An insight into the factors that make a city eco-friendly would help us in making our cities clean and green.
1. Use of renewable energy sources
Using geo-thermal, hydroelectric or wind resources for the energy requirement can make a city, definitely green. Reykjavik, in Iceland depends totally on renewable hydropower and geothermal sources for its heat and electricity. Operating hydrogen buses on its streets, Reykjavik is all set become “free from fossil fuels” by 2050.
Sweden has an eco-development sector in the western harbor of its city, Malmo called Bo01. Solar panels, wind power, and water power lend their energy to Bo01 houses. Even the water power is obtained from sea water through a heat pump. Houses and apartments in Bo01 are supplied with electricity by a wind power station, as well as around 1,400 sq m of solar collectors in the district.
2. Green Roofing to guarantee us a greener world
Green roofing essentially involves covering the roof of building, partially or completely with vegetation or planting a growing medium over a waterproof membrane. These living roofs help to combat the heat island effect by absorbing rainwater and lowering urban air temperature. They also provide insulation against heat and create healthy habitat for wildlife. Cool roofs using thermal collectors or photovoltaic cells are also called green roofs or eco-roofs. One of the main reasons for commercial buildings to implant green roofs is because this is a prerequisite to obtain the LEED certificate.
Hamburg, the eco-city of Germany, is veritably a green city because most of its roofs are green. The city’s outdoor green recreation space traversing the entire city is the main highlight. By its green-building measures, Hamburg has reduced its carbon footprint and energy consumption by 30 percent. Hamburg leads all in eco-friendliness obtaining green certification from BREEAM, DGNB and LEED.
Masdar, in Abu Dhabi, UAE goes a step further, keeping out even the tall skyscrapers and is the neo-green city with its green measures.
3. Bicycle lanes for a better environ
Biking has become the best fuel-efficient and eco-friendly alternative as a vehicle. China is the leader of the Bike Revolution as it sold nearly 14 million e-bikes in 2010. To enable its citizens to opt for this greener option, an ideal eco-city should provide separate bicycle lanes in all main roads and traffic – congested areas, ample bike parking areas, promote bike-sharing programs, and allow bikers to carry bikes on its buses.
Tucson, Arizona has introduced the novel TOUCAN system placed in areas of heavy cyclist and pedestrian crossing activity. Cyclists merely push a button to activate a signal to cross, while cars are not permitted to pass through.
4. Recycle to rejuvenate the city
Every city should ideally undertake a waste-recycling program to go green. Effective waste-collection, separation, recycling and composting programs make a city truly clean. Masdar in Abu Dhabi claims to have no back-alley dumpsters and is in an effort to become a zero waste city. San Francisco, Atlanta in Georgia has a zero waste zone with Georgians dispensing with 17 million tons of solid waste per year. California tops the list with a mandatory composting and an astounding waste-recycling rate of 72 percent.
5. Pack your city with parks to go green
A city, abundant in parks, is definitely a charming sight. Parks expel enormous amounts of oxygen which is vital for our existence. They also cool down the temperature of the city drastically and promote rainfall. A green canopy always makes a city, a riveting sight. NewYork, Dublin, Mexico all boast of big and extensive parks oases in an urban setting.
So, gear up with these eco-steps to make your city green!