Mike again here, sharing an update from my trip. This tour of Germany’s most sustainable cities has been so inspiring. It’s a good thing I like Pittsburgh so much, otherwise I just might move here. I’ll have more to share when I return, but below I want to highlight some of my favorite photos and experiences from my journey so far. Enjoy!
Innovative Buildings: This new building, headquarters for Hahn & Kolb, generates 88,000 kWh of solar energy annually and has operable windows! A German law says every worker must be within 7.5 meters of a source of natural light. Cool!
Urban Agriculture: The entire hillside of this German city is cultivated. How would you like to see something like this growing on the side of Mt. Washington?
Sustainable Communities: We spent much of our trip in Ludwigsburg, which is well-known for its sustainable practices. Here, the city’s director of sustainability and development, Albert Geiger, is explaining the urban planning that was implemented, including a community that features affordable housing, daycare, 100% geothermal heat, community center, and job training!
Elsewhere, in the town of Pfalzgrafenweiler, we toured a co-generation plant that uses only waste wood to provide heat and electricity for 50% of the town!
Back to Nature: You know me, all my work in the built environment stems from a deep love for the natural environment – and here in Germany, what a beautiful environment it is! Volker Hartkopf and Mayor Peduto, pictured here, appreciated it, too!
PassivHaus: Of course we had to visit the construction site of a Passivhaus project. Klaus Müller, owner of Müller Windows, gave us a tour of the site and of his window plant.
Good Company, Good Food, Good Conversation: I’ve so enjoyed traveling and learning (and eating!) with my colleagues. Volker has been a gracious host and tour guide, and we’re all coming away with something new and valuable. This trip has ignited me with tons of inspiration and excitement. But spending time with my travel companions, the trip has also helped remind me to appreciate the inspiring people who are working right now, at home in Pittsburgh, to help make our city more of a leader in green buildings and sustainable communities. We have a lot to be proud of! But still, I really can’t wait to share all that I’ve learned on this amazing journey.
If I decide to come home, that is….