XXXIX.

Very excited by recent New Yorker article about an island community in Denmark that produces all their own power, and then some, using wind turbines and other innovations. What’s interesting is not just what they did, but how they overcame initial apathy in the community and turned the project into something of a sport, according to one citizen. The same article introduces the 2,000 Watt society, project of a Swiss thinktank which proposes 2,000 watts per person as a sustainable level of energy consumption that ought to be achieved without loss of standard of living. The reporter visits a building in Switzerland which was designed with the 2,000-watt-society in mind:

Among the many unusual features of the EAWAG Center is a lack of usual features. The building, which opened in 2006, has no furnace; it is so tightly insulated that, on most days, the warmth thrown off by the office equipment and the two hundred people who work inside is enough to keep it comfortable. Additional heat is provided by the sun—in winter, the outside panels tilt to allow in the maximum amount of light—and by air sucked in from underground. The building also has no conventional air-conditioners: in summer, the panels tilt to provide shade, and if the building gets hot during the day, at night the windows at the top of the atrium open, and the warm air rushes out. It supplies about a third of its own electricity with photovoltaic panels installed on the roof, and gets its hot water from solar collectors. Its bathrooms are equipped with specially designed “no mix” toilets that separate out urine, which contains potentially useful phosphorus and nitrogen. (“Exploiting common waste as a resource is a mark of sustainable civilization,” a booklet on the building observes.)

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