Alchemy of Incineration

The Alchemy of Incineration

From Waste to Resource

by Patricia Chase

For every three tons of garbage, the new super-efficient incinerator operated by SYSAV in Malmö, Sweden, extracts the equivalent energy of one ton of oil. Nine municipalities, with a total of 500,000 inhabitants, jointly own SYSAV, a regional waste service company serving southern Sweden. In addition to burning its own wastes, Sweden has become a waste importer. Revenue is generated in two ways: by selling waste incineration services, and by selling the energy and heat produced by incineration. This is the alchemy of waste incineration: Waste = Energy = Revenue.

Combined Heat and Power Plants

Green power plants harness the power of wasted energy

Combined Heat and Power Plants

By Jayson Antonoff

In a traditional thermal power plant 40 percent to 60 percent of the energy contained in the fuel is dispersed into the atmosphere or cooling water as "waste" heat; in CHP plants this waste heat is captured and used for heating, industrial processes and other production processes. As a result the overall plant efficiency can be increased to 90 percent or more. For example Helsingør, a 57-MW natural gas-fired combined-cycle plant feeding a small town north of Copenhagen, uses 88 percent of the fuel energy to produce electricity and heat.

Denmark's Wind Power

Denmark's Wind Power

A Success lesson for the NW

by Jim Duncan, Sparling

While Denmark began harvesting wind power in the 1980s, Washington's first wind project did not come on line until 2001. Denmark is about 25 percent the size of Washington, and has 3,115 MW of installed wind power; Washington has 244 MW. According to the Renewable Energy Atlas of the West, Washington has economically viable potential for about 7,100 MW of installed capacity. Why then, one wonders, is Denmark so far ahead

Public Transportation

Public Transportation

Can reliable, efficient transit limit number of second cars?

By Patricia Chase

In Scandinavia as well as other parts of Europe, mobility -- the ability to get around -- is more than a necessity, it's a right. It is a deeply ingrained cultural value that no one should be left out of the societal flow because of money, age or disability.

Transportation planners in Denmark realize that no matter how good public transportation is they will never prevent people from wanting to own a car, so they don't try to fight that battle. The battle they are waging is to keep families from buying a second car, even if they can afford it.

District Energy Systems

A district energy system takes thermal energy (heating or cooling) from one or more sources and distributes it to multiple customers through a piping distribution network. Heat is often produced naturally as a by-product of electrical generation or industrial processes, but is typically simply exhausted as waste. With a district energy system waste heat can be captured and transported to homes and offices, eliminating the need for on-site furnaces and boilers.

Capturing the Power of Rain

Capturing the Power of Rain

Capturing the power of rain saves money, improves cities

By DEB GUENTHER

Rather than running an invisible pipe under the street, strategies are used to mimic the patterns of natural water systems by capturing and slowing water close to where it falls. These strategies not only reduce erosion, replenish groundwater and keep water temperatures low, they also create habitat, make special places and save money. In some cases, developable land is even increased by trading stormwater ponds for swales and trenches that are more flexibly located.

Greenroofs

Greenroofs

By Patricia Chase

Green roofs clean airborne pollutants from rain, and reduce the rate and quantity of stormwater runoff. A building with a green roof requires significantly less conventional stormwater detention and cleansing facilities, and benefits downstream systems by reducing the volume. Rainwater is absorbed by the soil, taken up by plants and returned to the atmosphere. It is common to decrease annual runoff -- and stormwater detention facilities -- by

Creating a bicycle culture

Creating a bicycle culture, Sharing the road with bikes
By Patricia Chase

A safe, continuous bicycle infrastructure linked with public transportation has been created in many European cities. Cities that have made bicycles and public transportation a priority over cars have increased mobility, slow the growth in cars on the road, decreased pollution and generally improved the life and health of the public.

Greenspace Factors

Green Space Factors
Green Space Factors provide Options
by Patricia Chase

Rather than running an invisible pipe under the street, strategies are used to mimic the patterns of natural water systems by capturing and slowing water close to where it falls. These strategies not only reduce erosion, replenish groundwater and keep water temperatures low, they also create habitat, make special places and save money. In some cases, developable land is even increased by trading stormwater ponds for swales and trenches that are more flexibly located.

Infrastructure of Sustainability

Infrastructure of Sustainability

Green Buildings a Start, but can we think bigger?

By Nancy Henderson

Our current thinking that sustainability is accomplished by individual developers on a building-by-building basis is very limiting and does not offer the range of return on investment that we should be demanding.Private interests and public sector concerns do overlap and can be aligned through incentives, regulations, and innovative approaches like those discussed above. Public/private partnerships could be the key to creating the foundation for a sustainable future.

A Sustainable Neighborhood in Seattle

A Sustainable Neighborhood in Seattle

Seattle can show the world how to be green-Scandinavia offers hints on how to do it

By Jayson Antonoff and Patricia Chase



For two years I-sustain has brought Northwest developers, design professionals and public officials to Europe to see innovative examples of urban sustainability firsthand.
One of the first stops on the tour is the Western Harbor development in Malmo, Sweden.
Western Harbor is a Disneyland of urban sustainability. With its green roofs, car-free streets, stormwater-fed wetlands and renewable energy-powered homes, Western Harbor challenges us to consider the possibilities in our own region.

Lighting brings back life to Neighborhood

Lighting can be the key to reviving old neighborhoods

By Denise Fong

As cities revive their "people places" by recreating plazas, pedestrian streets, and neighborhood cafes, there are daytime and nighttime components to consider. What makes an area that is vibrant during the day also vibrant at night?
One example of how light can revitalize a community is the district of Holmbladsgade in Copenhagen. During a recent redevelopment of the once rundown neighborhood, one goal was to introduce elements that made evening activity feel safer and more desirable.

Havana, Urban Agriculture

In Havana, urban farming started as a necessity. With the break up of the Soviet Union, Cuba lost 75% of its imports, including oil and its derivatives: fertilizers, agro products. With the Helmut Burns act, Cuba lost 85% of its exports, mainly sugar cane to the US. The lessons learned: Cannot depend on oil for food production, much less if its foreign, and the production must be diverse.
In 1993 people started growing food where they could out of necessity, roofs, terrraces, vacant lots. In 1995 the government realized this was a major force and it was worth channeling it as part of the system. Now, Havana is said to produce up to 60% of its internal production, all within a 5 km radius from the city center.

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