|Posted on June 17, 2016 at 7:40 AM||comments (0)|
We arrived for an interview at the Berufliches Schulzentrum (Vocational School Centre) in Neumarkt on the 13th of May. We were greeted by OStR Michael Maier, the head of the school and StR Rolf Rupp, an architect by trade now offering classes at the school. They took the time to give us a presentation about the school. There are three different schools operating under the name of this vocational school centre. One is the Wirtschaffsschule for the smaller kids. The other is the common vocational school making up the biggest part on these premises and the new vocational school called the StaatlicheTechnikerschule. This is where Mr. Rupp is working and this is the part of the school that we were focusing our attention on.
Under the Staatliche Technikerschule, there are two separate parts, one being the Fachschule Bautechnik (Energy Efficient Building) and the other is the Fachschule Elektro-und IT-Technik (ET and IT Smart Energy). The Fachschule Elektro-und IT-Technik division will come into operation later this year, so Mr. Rupp focused the presentation on the Fachschule Bautechnik. The training objectives of this division are to intensify the vocational training the learners have already had and to provide vocational retraining. Also to promote general education and to impart process knowledge that enables students to professionally meet complex challenges in job situations. They want to prepare their students for all kinds of jobs and situations they will face in the working world.
Mr. Rupp said that they want to impart some management skills, including employee management, working in a team andprovide orientation on customer needs. The students also get training on effective and cost conscious design of operational processes and environmentally conscious and energy saving construction and restructuring. The FachschuleBautechnik has a strong focus on sustainable buildings and construction.
The duration of their programme is two years of full time study of approximately 40 hours per week depending on the subjects that are chosen. The students can’t work at the same time when they are busy with this programme so they can apply for a grant at the District office of the state. This they can pay back when they are working.There are no school fees at the moment. Students only have to pay an annual fee for photocopies of around 15 Euro. The graduates have a wide spectrum of possible occupational opportunities. These include planning detailed design and the implementation of structural architecture tasks. They can work as site managers for building construction projects, on site or in the office. They can work in the construction management and in the planning department of the federal building authorities. They can become specialists in low energy construction, designers for energetic respiration. They can become energy efficiency experts which allows them to create their own independent businesses or they can work as consultants in the building materials industry.
The students can also gain some additional benefits and qualifications. After completion of the first year, they are granted with the Fachschulreife which is the entrance qualification for a technical college. After they have graduated as a State Certified Construction Engineer they receive several benefits. They are awarded the bauvorlagenberechtigungwhich is the authorization needed to present building documents to the authorities. The second one is the Fachhochschulreife (advanced technical college certificate) which means they are able to attend university. This requires additional tests in German, English, Economics, Social Studies and Mathematics. They can also get their instructors license when they pass the supplementary test at the EHK (Chamber of Commerce and Industry).If they like they could also specialize further and become a specialist subject trainer, although space is limited for this.
The minimum requirements for admittance include a successful degree at a vocational school, proof of completion of a job relevant training and a minimum of one year appropriate experience. If prospective students have no relevant vocational training, they may be admitted if they have 7 years of appropriate experience. Types of appropriate professional experience include working in architecture, as an architectural drafts, brick layer, building fitter, civil engineering worker, construction workers, drywall builder, floor layer etc. The curriculum includes German, English, Mathematics, Economics and Social Studies, Industrial Psychology, Data Processing, Building Physics, Building Material Technology, Building Construction, Computer Aided Design, Construction and Planning Laws, Descriptive Geometry, Structural Design, Land Design and Building Contract Law. In the second year, it becomes more specific, especially regarding energy efficiency.
We were then given a presentation on https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermography" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">thermography and how the students use the thermographic camera to determine how to improve the energy efficiency of existing buildings. Thermography is the visualization of the distribution of temperature on a material object. All material objects emit electromagnetic rays and a thermographic camera does not detect temperature, but infrared radiation. OStR Brigitte Kugler-Friedrich is offering this course to the students here. The thermographic camera can show the emissions of infrared radiation andwhen used on a building, the camera shows how much radiation is given off from different parts of the construction. At night, when details get lost to the naked eye, the thermal camera works perfectly well and detects areas emitting radiation. We were shown some buildings where radiation was being emitted from the doors and windows. When radiation is being emitted, it always means that some warmth is being lost. This information can be used to determine where insulation is good and where it needs to be improved.
Finally we were then given a presentation on CAD by StRin Margit Fischer who’s an architect by training. She demonstrated how the students can design different types of buildings with the programme. They can, for example, design the first floor of the building. If they are adding multiple stories on top, they don’t have to redesign each floor but they can copy the floor below and paste it on top which saves lot of time. Even if the floors are not completely identical, it is easy to modify by deleting or adding some walls. With this programme you can add the type of roof you like on top and then you can run a 3 dimensional walk through of the building you have designed. You can even view each room from any angle you like.
|Posted on June 17, 2016 at 7:25 AM||comments (0)|
On the 18th of May we met up with Silvia Ohms, who is the Sustainability Manager at Neumarkter Lammsbräu. The owner of Neumarkter Lammsbräu is Dr. Ehrnsperger and he started with biological beer production in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Most of the breweries in the surrounding area went bankrupt and Dr. Ehrnsperger had to find a way to survive and stay ahead of the market. His heart and his motivation had always been on the protection of the environment, so he started with the biological production of beer. In these times, this was not a common occurrence for any company to do biological production of products. Neumarkter Lammsbräu was a pioneer for sustainable production. People laughed at him for trying this new technique and it took a lot of awareness to change the mind sets of both the community and the workers at the company. Nowadays the organic production of products is popular and Lammsbräu are taking full advantage of this trend in the market. They do not only sell organic beer, but also not-alcoholic beer, soft drinks and organic water. It took 9 years, from 1987-1995, for the company to reach 100% biological production. It was hard to convince the farmers to work without fertilizers and other pesticides in their farming practice. The costumers also had to adapt to the increase in price of the beer, because it costs more to organically grow the produceused for the production process. Nonetheless, Dr. Ehrnsperger had a vision and he stuck to it and made a huge success out of it now and for the near future.
The soda and water production is quite new to the company and it started only around 2008-2009. They have also given attention to their transport methods to get the raw material to the company from the surrounding farmers. Their reasoning is that biological products are more sustainable if they are obtained from the region and the material is not obtained from countries far away. The shorter the distance of travelling between producer and company, the lower their carbon footprint. They have really worked hard to get more and more organic farmers from the region. In the past they used to get around 60% of their wheat and 100% hops from the region, now it is almost 100%. This means that almost 100% of the raw material needed to produce the beer comes from a roundabout of 100km radius around the company. However, with the sodas, it is a bit more difficult to become 100% regionalized, because the citrus needed for the sodas cannot be grown in Germany. These fruits are grown in countries with the tropical, subtropical and the Mediterranean climates and they have to be transported from these countries.They are continually looking to find other places where they can get these fruits that will decrease their carbon footprint.
Even with all these good practices, Lammsbräu is taking it one step further. They are now looking into and investigating their supply chain from the producer to when the produce gets delivered at the company for soda production. They want to use countries that are acting sustainably and are treating their workers fairlyso that there are no labor issues. They want to be ecologically sustainable as well as socially sustainable. This research might be published around mid- 2016.
The company is also doing their best to keep their production process efficient enough so their water consumption and water loss is kept to a minimum. They also keep an eye on the energy used and energy saved through the production process, and they publish the results in their annual sustainability report. This report includes what they have done during the year, the targets they have set and the measures they have gone through to reach those targets. The have certificates for both the ISO 14001 and the EMAS (ecological management audit scheme). They are publishing these annual sustainability reports not because they have to but as part of their voluntary duty within the EMAS Certificate. It is voluntary and they were one of the first companies to start this voluntary duty. They want to be as transparent as possible to the people so they continue to do this reporting. This does not only serve as publication of the company’s progress, but also as a marketing tool.
Only 3% of the company’s products get exported outside of Germany, the rest is distributed within Germany. With all their distribution, they want to decrease their carbon emissions. Most of the shops and supermarkets that use the Neumarkter Lammsbräu products have their own transport vehicles to get the products from the company, so even here the company has a smaller carbon footprint than they had before. They also have around 12 trucks of their own for transportation too, but they only travel within 100km of the company.
In the Jurassic period, Neumarkt was covered by a sea and nowgravel and sandstone protects the well water in the town from contamination. The well water is used for brewing without chemical treatment. Due to the quality of this water they are able to be the first company to offer organic mineral water in Germany. In addition they are below the output limit allowed by law. They also bottle their water in recyclable bottles. This water is also used for their ecological soft drinks. They try to cause as little environmental pollution as possible.How can water be organic you’re asking? There are some criteria for water to be organic. They have a quality community, and they have written a catalogue with the criteria. They must measure more pesticide parameters than the normal law required by the government. They also test for medical contamination, like antibiotics and chemicals from medicine, because this gets flushed down the toilet and can end up in the water system. They can only harvest a certain amount of water from the natural system below what the system can regenerate so this is renewable. They do however remove Iron from the water with a sand filter to improve the taste but they do not use chemical treatments.
They also do educational work to tell the public the difference between organic water and what makes it different form normal water. With this they inform the public as to why they pay more for these products than they do for conventional ones. They work together with an institute that goes to schools and talks to learners and perform experiments about the importance of water.
Lammsbräu produce a small amount of each drink every day, because they have only one filling station and have to change the crown cap of the machine each time they produce a different product. This means they have to change it about 2-3 times a day. They produce about 500 hectare liter of drinks per day. Even if they get a new filling station that has been planned, they will remove the old one and use only one because having one machine is more efficient for them.
Lammsbräu started writing their first report for sustainability in 2001 and before that it was only called an ecological report. In 2002, Dr. Ehrnsperger started to award people in the community for being active in the sustainability sector. These are people who are supporting sustainability with their ideas and projects, and Dr. Ehrnsperger put €10 000 aside to split between the winning projects. The categories are media, sustainable companies and people who have dedicated their lives to living sustainably.
The company also has a recycling system and they re-use the bottles and crates after cleaning them. They annually compare the cleaning agents they have currently with those on the market. This is to see which one is more efficient and which one is more environmentally friendly and degradable. They only use labels that contain ink with only trace amounts or zero heavy metals in them. They also only use eco-friendly crown and screw caps.
One of the social projects that they run is the employment of community members who are not able to work under normal circumstances due to psychological problems. They get offered simple jobs like sorting the bottles before it goes into the machine that cleans the bottles.
The company likes to think of their 117 employees as a big family. Mrs. Ohms said that she always wanted to represent a company that stands behind their core values and beliefs. A company that is totally transparent and open to the public about their processes and one that is environmentally conscious in everything they do. Now she has found that company in Neumarkter Lammsbräu. She thinks that the only way to live sustainably is to use the resources we need, but not at a rate that the earth is unable to regenerate quickly enough.
We would like to say a big thank you to Mrs. Ohms for offering up the time to show us around the company and good luck to the company with all the future projects.
|Posted on June 17, 2016 at 3:40 AM||comments (0)|
We met with Katharina Duchardt from the https://www.neumarkt.de/de/rathaus/aemter-und-dienstleistungen/aemter-und-sachgebiete/aemterdetails/details/14.html" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Department of City Planning and she is also in charge of bicycle planning. Katharina showed us the landuse plan for Neumarkt which was updated in 2006. In this plan the real land use and the planned land use, the development the city really wants, is combined together and integrated with the natural landscape plan. This is where the town visually indicates where housing and industry should be expanded if required in the future. The plan also indicates which regions must be free of buildings because of the fresh air coming into the town, and also in important water catchment areas and these free areas act as corridors for nature and the town wants to protect this from development.
Katharina then showed us the newest and biggest project for the bicycle lanes in Neumarkt which is at an intersection across from the Neuer Markt shopping mall. It was the first bicycle lane built on a major road intersection after the old intersection was rebuilt. In Neumarkt there are normally only very narrow bicycle tracks and they are not really nice to cycle on. Now since 2010 there is a new guideline in Germany that aims to bring all the bicycle tracks to bicycle lanes on the streets. They want the motorists to see the cyclists more and this is why the plan is to put them both on the streets. A positive effect of this is that the pedestrians have more space and the cyclists on the street can see the cars more easily.
They also predict that many more people will start using https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_bicycle" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">e-bikes in the future so it’s very good for the motorists to start getting used to the cyclists on the street. Biker safety is a really big issue because the city has new rules and many people were afraid of this. For example at this intersection, if the cyclists want to go straight over they stay in the cycle lane. This is right in the middle of traffic. It is marked red and the cars turning right have to cross the bicycle lane and people are very afraid of this. Despite this, the statistics show that this is safer than the traditional intersection with the cyclists on the sidewalks. These new lanes cause less cycling accidents. With these new lanes the cyclists are more visible for the motorsists. One benefit for the cyclists is that they still get right of passage. The cyclists also have their own traffic lights at the intersection. This goes green before the car traffic lights so that they have more time to go over the intersection and they are safe.
Before, all this space was for cars only so now with the bicycle lanes, often the cars get less space than before because it is very difficult to increase the space of the street. For every street we have to think about the best solution for each situation and sometimes the possibilities are very limited. Many people tell their children to use the pedestrian lanes because they are afraid of the intersection so many people are still using bicycles on the pedestrian lane. Hopefully this will change with time. According to the law, you may use the pedestrian lane with a bicycle until 10 years of age and the older people who do this can get a fine.
At the intersection there are special ridges in the concrete for the blind people so they can feel when they are at the intersection. The wheel chairs don’t like this but it is a necessity. For all new streets that are built or upgraded, they must have this but it’s a slow process to convert all existing streets.
The city has a map of all the existing bicycle lanes and has a desired bicycle plan for 2025. The city wants to make Neumarkt more bicycle friendly. For this they hired a company to conduct a survey and then we could see where the different types of bicycle lanes are most needed.
They made a pamphlet for the public when the intersection opened so the public can understand the new rules. In bigger towns this is the standard but for Neumarkt they had to do some awareness. Since thebicycleprogramme they have not seen too many more cyclists on the road. It is still a slow process. Many pupils in Neumarkt are using bicycles to go to school,but most people are going by car to work. This is because most of the city is still planned for cars and almost everyone can afford to use a car. The city wants people to cycle more than driving their car.
The other problem with urban transport planning is that the city has public transport, like busses, but people are not really using it. It is mostly used by pupils during the week to get to school. On weekends there are no more busses from 14:00 and nothing on Sunday’s. They also did something for the busses. When they built the shopping centre, all the streets were rebuilt so they took the opportunity to rearrange the bus stop. This is another aspect of urban transport planning. The busses also have an advantage at the traffic lights. When they are approaching, there is a sensor at the lights and the light will change to green.
Neumarkt wants to become a bicycle friendly city and there is a group of cities who are taking part. If you want to join then you have to fulfil some criteria. Neumarkt is already part of this because Neumarkt helped to found this association. However, they always have to improve to stay in the programme so right now Katharina is trying to make sure Neumarkt fulfils all the criteria.
Thanks to Katharina to give us an insight to the planning of Neumarkt above all the bicycle structure.
|Posted on June 16, 2016 at 11:00 AM||comments (0)|
We would like to welcome you to the Tourism Information office in Neumarkti.d.OPf., where we met up with tourism officer, Rainer Seitz. There is a small team working at the Tourism Information office, which consists of both full time and part time employees. The Tourism Information office is the go-to place for tourists when they get into town, whether they are looking for a hotel room in Neumarktor have questions about the important sights that can be seen. In addition to this, they are also part of the organizing team that organizes and markets eventsheld for the residents of Neumarkt. The team makes use of a special hall called the https://www.neumarkt.de/en/culture/festival-halls/reitstadel.html" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Historical Reitstadel for cultural events in the Residenzplatz. The office sells tickets for the concerts and events that takes place here, as well as the souvenirs.
The team is constantly searching for ideas that would attract tourists and residents from the surrounding towns to Neumarkt. They are responsible for the promotionand the distribution of the brochures of the numerous hiking trails, cycling trails and golf courses. This is one of their strategies of promoting sustainable activities around the town and to achieve this they work together with the BürgerhausNeumarkt. Some argue about how sustainable some of these activitiesreally are. Even with hiking, an activity that does not have a carbon footprint, there are still environmental impacts due to possible pollution and habitat disturbance when people walk off the path. Even with these uncertainties the office continues to make people aware of benefits of utilising the hiking and cycling trails around the city rather than driving in motor vehicles.Utilising the trails is also the best way of seeing all of the attractive landscapesin the city.
The cycling trails that they promote, stretch between Nürnberg, Neumarkt and Regensburg. These three cities have a strong connection and they form the hotspots for tourism in East Bavaria. There are a lot of people from Neumarkt that work in Nürnberg and a lot of people from Nürnbergthat holiday in Neumarkt. The same goes for people in Regensburg. These three towns have various activities that they plan together and one of these activities is the connecting bike trails from one city to the other. The Tourism office in Neumarkt is only responsible for the promotion of the trail from Neumarkt’s side. There are also some spots along this trail that have e-bike charging stations.
There are around 500kms of marked hiking trails in and around the town of Neumarkt. The Tourism office have initiated a new project in April 2016 using these hiking trails to celebrate the “https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reinheitsgebot" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">German Beer Purity Law”. The beer trail is about 15km. Their idea was to have the public from Nürnberg use the public transport to get to Neumarkt. The beer trail then starts at the train station, where participants have to visit atleast 3 guest houses and each of these guest houses has an association with the three breweries in Neumarkt Stadt. Before they begin the trail, they get a list of guest houses that they could visit with a map. After they have visited these locations they get a stamp, and when they have collected enough stamps, they get a little prize in the form of a souvenir glass. This glass has the logos of the different breweries on it. This is a sustainable project because it promotes public transport, hiking and supportsthe local breweries and promotes community upliftment.
One of the biggest hiking trails in the brochure, “the best of Europe”, is a trail that runs rights around Neumarkt. It is around 48 km long and they are forms part of the German Wander Association. This association has certain criteria for trails that want to part of the association. There are only 21 trails in Europe that are part of this association. Neumarkt has gone a step further and now their trails are now fulfil the European standards, which have stricter criteria than the German association. There are only 9 trails in Europe that meet their criteria and Neumarkt is one of them.
The tourism office themselves are not responsible for maintaining and upgrading the trails, but they have a contracting firm and also consultant that does the maintenance. They have to maintain a high level of quality to keep their membership in these associations. When you join these associations, you have three years to test the trail, and while you are part of the German association you will always get surprise inspection visits from them. This ensures that the trails are always kept in good shape throughout the year. When they do a check up on the trail, they take a look at about 20 km of the route to make sure it is in good shape.
The biggest sustainable project that has ever been undertaken in Neumarkt was the Landesgartenschau in 1998. This great garden exhibition ran from April that year to October and more than 1 million people visited Neumarkt in those few months. This area where the exhibition was held was once a water clearing station, so when the clearing station was moved to its current location, the area still smelled bad. The mayor at that time saw this as an opportunity to transform this vacant space into something that can be used for the community and also to promote tourism. The Tourism office only had three years to do this, where most cities would had 5 or more years to do the same type of project. The team spent a lot of time doing marketing around this project to make people aware of it. After three years, the objective was reached and the garden was complete. Today, 90% of the original garden is still being used and maintained by the county. Now they have even more activities to do at the garden, including open air programs in the summer, mini golf and a restaurant on the wharf.
The Tourism Information office also offers a sustainable walk around the town of Neumarktthat ends at the One World Station. They also have, in corporation with the Bürgerhaus, developed a “4-Elemente WegNeumarkt”. When you walk the trail you get spots for information that focus on the four elements of earth, fire, wind and water.
We want to wish Rainer and his team all the best and we hope that they find new more way of linking sustainability with tourism.
|Posted on June 16, 2016 at 10:50 AM||comments (0)|
https://shop.zweirad-stadler.de/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Zweirad Stadler is one of the largest shops for e-bike sales in Neumarkt. We chatted with Mr. Marcus Triller, the sales manager of the bicycle department and he showed us around in the https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_bicycle" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">e-bike section of the shop. E-bikes have actually been around for about 20 years butthe "boom" in popularity only occurred in 2009/2010. Since then, the market has growing steadily.
Mr. Triller told us that he was at a workshop 7 years ago and the lead facilitator told them that about 40% of the sales area in the shop would be reserved for e-bikes in the future. At that time people thought he was irrational, but when you look at Stadler today, e-bikes now occupy more that 40% of the shop floor.
The "lazy" misconception
The initial target group for e-bikes were the sixty and over age group. Now, more and more younger people are taking advantage of the opportunity to buy e-bikes. The product that especially attracts the younger generation are the mountain bikes that equipped with electric motors. E-bikes also attracts parents who are pulling their babies along on trailer trips with their bikes. It makes this so much easier with a more powerful bike.
In recent years, e-bikes have received a bad reputation from traditional cyclers due to mistaken beliefs. They started labelling e-bike users as lazy. The truth is that even though the e-bike has an engine, the cyclerpowers the bike and it does not move by itself. In other words, the engine is only there for support.This allows older people to be more mobile withoutexpending as much effort as they would with a conventional bicycle.
Mr. Triller says that some of his clients that come into the store are replacing their second car with an e-bike. E-bikes are, of course, more expensive than a regular bicycle. While a good bicycle costs about 800 EUR, an e-bike with similar features costs around 2000 EUR.
There are e-bikes especially for children and young peoplein the bicycle shop, but these have not been very popular. An e-bike is anexpensive purchase and it is not feasibleto buy one for a young person who will outgrow the bike soon.
Production & Maintenance
Stadler tries to use German manufacturers for their e-bikes and their main target group is the local public. By doing this they can be assured that the workers are treated fairly in the production process and that the products will be of a good quality. Regarding sustainable production, Mr. Triller gave the example that in the spray painting of the bikes, the waste paint is collected and can be re-used.In this way, air pollution is minimized. German manufactures have more stringent rules and guidelines compared with foreign producers with regards to sustainability and environmental protection.
Everybody who buys an e-bike at Stadler gets a letter every year in the spring timewith an offer to service the bike. During the service the important worn parts are replaced. If you have an e-bike without a speedometer, Stadler could (with support) determine the approximate number of kilometers driven based on the number of hours the battery has been in operation.
The customer service is definitely recommended. The service , excluding software updates, costs 45 EUR.
Recycling of e-bikes and bicycles
If an e-bike or a bicycle is damaged beyond repair, it can end up in the river channel. However, the parts can be taken to Stadler for recycling. The bikes get taken apart and the parts that cannot be used are disposed of in a safe manner. Tyres are processed into tubes and the rest ends up in the scrap. With regards to the battery, there are companies that specialize in recycling them. Batteriesare now built in a way that allows for some of the materials to be easily reused. If bicycles are merely broken but repairable, Stadler has its own bicycle repair shop.
Future Outlook fore-mobility
According to Mr. Triller, the development of e-bikes is already wellestablished. The bikes that are now used in the city streets are well advanced. He still sees room for improvement in the development of mountain bikes and sport bikes. The trend for e-bikes has a good chance of growing over the next few years in Austria. This is because their government is supporting their e-bike purchases by subsidizing then with 300 Euro.
There are also some innovations in progressthat will increase improvement over the next few years. These include e-scooters and e-cars. It will become easier for people to replace their second car with an e-bike to travel short distances rather than driving by car. When the newer, better and more efficient e-car models come out on the market, then it is important that there are many role models for the general public who can strengthen the movement towards e-cars. It has already been announced that a new e-car will be coming out in 2017.
Stadler also sells e-scooters. If you want you can take the scooter for a test drive. Since scooters have less space for a battery and also quite heavy, the current range, per "electric charge", is limited to about 60km. For city driving, an e-scooter is very convenient.
Environmental and social sustainability
If you want to try an e-bike, or you are thinking about buying one, you can contact Mr. Triller. The company also has a solar PV system on the roof of the building. They also try to keep the water and energy consumption to a minimum. There is no air conditioning system in the sales hall. With regards to social sustainability, they repair bikes using the help of refugees.
In another project, Stadler offers professional Förderzentrum apprenticeships and internships for schools.
The city of Neumarkt tries to be a pioneer in e-mobility and is also a frequent user of the e-bike. A Neumarkter city e-bike can be borrowed (within the organization). If you want to borrow an e-bike, find more details here:
This was our visit to the company Stadler: We thank Mr. Triller for his time and a willingness to show us around the shop.
|Posted on June 16, 2016 at 10:35 AM||comments (0)|
The Stadtgärterei is located adjacent to the municipal sewage treatment plant in Neumarkt. Here, we conducted an interview with Mr. Ziegler and Mr. Meier to find out what sustainable practices are taking place here. There are 125 employees working here with 55 working in the municipal gardens and 50 being responsible for taking care of the area around the nursery.The nursery is responsible for 99% of the green areas around the city, which covers an area of around 40 hectares. The company contributes to sustainability by planting trees and maintaining municipal gardens. A portion of the flowers that they plant comes from the nursery and everything else is bought.
The nursery has highly advanced equipment for watering and heating. The nursery is able to use the heat that is provided to them from the waste water treatment plant nearby. The waste watertreatment plant produces their heat organically and transports the heat to the nursery by underground pipelines.Although gas usage would be significantly cheaper in comparison to the use of renewable energy, cost-effectiveness is not their overriding goal. They want to be as environmentally friendly and as sustainable as possible. Other than the breeding of ornamental plants and the production of decorative flowers (for example for the registry office),it is their responsibility to also take care of any trees that fall.
Depending on the water requirements of the various plants, the duration of watering is adjusted via a computer.The flower beds are arranged on tables that can be shifted so that the gardener can move in between the tables. The water coming from hoses which runs along the tables and the water dams up to a certain level. After this, a 0.75% fertilizer solution is added to the water. All the water that is not used by the plants gets recycled and used again for watering the plants again. This system is a closed water system, which means that all the excess water is reused and there are no nutrients released into the ground.
We asked Mr. Meier about the water supply. In the past they used water from a spring at the water treatment plant,however the water contained too much iron and manganese which broke the magnet valves that were used for transporting the water. They started collecting rain water too, but the water demand from the garden was too high for the rain water to supply. The water that they now use is from the settling tank of the waste water treatment plant which has a biological purity of 99.8%. For health reasons, the water that they get from here cannot be used as a spray. When spraying, very fine particles form drops of water that would have to be sterilized, since the 0.2% biological contamination can be respirable. Mr. Ziegler said that the amount of water that is needed on some hot days for the watering of the nursery plants can reach up to around 180 000 liters a day.
Temperature and air supply
The temperatures of the areas in the nursery are between 10-16˚C. There is a device around the roof of the nursery that acts like a tent and the employee who closes the nursery at night also raises up the tent to let the sun in. This device also has an automated feature, which reacts by closing the tent so that the plants do not get heated up too much by the sun. This makes sure that the plants stay cool and don’t lose too much water.
The nursery has a roof where all the technical parts of the rooms are controlled, like the ventilation, shading and heating. Even the windows are operated from this point to open and close on demand, depending on the strength of the wind.
The soil that is mostly used in the nursery is peat soil. According to Mr. Meier, this soil has bad reputation which is unfair and this soil is actually quite good. The nursery also has its own composting plant, which brings in about 25-4000 cubic meters of humus per year. They use a STERILO to heat and kill the bacteria in the soil at a heat of about 100˚C for several hours.
They were thinking about installing Photovoltaic (PV) cells on the roof of the nursery, but the structure of the building made it too difficult and it would have cost too much. They installed PV cells on the rest of the buildings (administrative building, a vehicle storing hall with workshops and a grit hall). These PV’s generate more than 1.1 MW. They are considering the purchase of a battery for the nursery, because they do not use a lot of electricity during the day, only at night, and then they have to buy expensive electricity. LED lights are used in the garden and it was calculated that the nursery will receive areturn on their investment within one and a half years.
Crops and educational projects
Crops are grown in the nursery but only for their own use. They also have a partnership with a local kindergarten and they supply them with fruits and vegetables, flower pots and raised flower beds. They think that it is important that even the youngest children learn about nature and act as multipliers for the message of sustainability and environmental protection. There was also a tree planting event that took place this year, where the nursery, in corporation with a local school, planted 50 fruit trees. This program is called “Plant for the planet”.
Mr. Ziegler believes that if we plant trees now, then our grandchildren will be able to benefit from it.
We would like to thank Mr. Ziegler and Mr. Meier for showing us around the nursery and we wish them all the best for their future plans and project.
|Posted on June 16, 2016 at 10:25 AM||comments (0)|
On the 1st of June we had an appointment at Petry AG in Regensburger Street, Neumarkt. We were
given a presentation on the history and the layout of the company by Lukas Wolte. He is responsible
for managing the projects and the marketing for the company. Petry consists of two separate
companies, one being Petry GmbH. Petry GmbH has only has 4 employees and is responsible for the
structure, organization and the future planning of the main company. Lukas, his father and two other
staff members make up Petry GmbH. Petry AG is the main company that we visited and has around
120 employees, with 16-18 students doing their vocational training.
Petry was founded just after the 2nd World War, in 1945. The founder of the company died and
Lukas’s grandfather bought the company from the widow of Mr. Petry in 1955. In the 1960´s his grandfather
bought the area in the Regenburger Street, where it is located today.
Petry AG also works in cooperation with a university in Munich and to date, around 40 bachelor’s theses have
been written at the company through this cooperation.
In 2006 the company Petry AG was founded as it is today, when they decided to combine both
heating and cooling system installation and servicing into one company, when before they were
separate. The customers wanted a business where they could receive both services and not have two
separate contracts with two separate bills. There are also a few employees that have shares in the
company, but the company is not on the public stock exchange. In 2008 they became partners with
https://www.siemens.com/global/en/home.html" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">SIEMENS, where SIEMENS makes the control systems for the heating and air cooling systems for
Petry AG. They are a solution partner which means that they can work with or for SIEMENS but do
not have to ask permission from Siemens and can work independently.
In 2008 they built their current heating system that we had the privilege of seeing. They can produce
more than 900kW heat energy. With this energy they heat their own building, their neighboring
building and the medical center across the road. From 2009-2011 they installed 4 photovoltaic
systems on their roof, where they now produce up to 205 000 kW energy. This enables them to
supply their own electricity so they do not need to buy any. They only use about 20% of the
electricity that they generate, and the additional 80% that they produce they sell and put back into
the grid. There photovoltaic systems produce so much energy that the government can shut down
their systems on demand, because all of the energy produced cannot be used or stored.
In the past they offered their service to private households. Today they are only installing and
providing services to larger industries and organizations including hospitals, clinics, gymnasiums,
libraries and other companies to mention a few. They have a team of engineers ready to deal with
any heating systems problems that their customer may have. The heating systems are not
manufactured by Petry, but the components are bought, assembled and then put together and
installed. They have 4 energy systems at the company, three are used only for heat and one small system is
used for combined heat and electricity generation. They use the small system not primarily for the
energy generation, but to see how the system works, to see how much energy they can produce
from it and to see how much they use and how much they save. The other big heating systems that
they have are powered by woodchucks, wood pellets and wooden logs respectively. These are
carbon neutral systems, because they only use wood, a renewable energy resource and nothing else.
They get their wooden logs from their own forest about 3km from the company. The forest covers an
area of about 750 000m 2 and in this way they save money by not having to buy wood from a supplier.
The wood pellets have to be bought from suppliers. They even take wood
pallets (wooden planks) from the public. These pallets would be thrown away, so Petry takes the
opportunity to collect them and use them as a fuel in their heat production. This is another example
of “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure”.
The woodchuck and wood pellet systems are automatic systems, they fill the loading dockfull of
woodchucks and wood pellets and the systems feed themselves with fuel with a spiral screw until it
is time for another load again. The system using wood logs has to be refueled manually every few
hours. During last year’s heating season, they used around 70 tons of wood pellets, because the price
was really cheap, so they saved some money. They have to use the wood pellets within a certain
time, otherwise the pellets will turn to dust and are useless. The woodchucks however, must be
stored for a few weeks to dry so that the moisture content is less than 30%. The more moisture in
the woodchucks, the longer it takes to produce enough heat. Lukas says that the wood pellet system
is the easiest system to produce heat with.
They have a buffer tank that stores the hot water heated by the heating systems and when the water
reaches around 80˚C it shuts off automatically. This also saves energy so that they are not producing
more energy than they need.
We would like to thank Lukas Wolte for his willingness to show us around the company and for
showing us their heating systems.
|Posted on June 16, 2016 at 10:05 AM||comments (0)|
The Christliche Arbeiterhilfe e.V. (CAH) are a non-profit, social organization supporting unemployed residents and low income households .We were welcomed by Mr Feierler and his colleague Mr. Mühlbauer, the service advisor for energy and water saving technology. Together, they offerenergy saving assistance to low-income households in the town of Neumarkt. This service is worth 70 € but CAH offers this to the low-income households free of charge. This project has been running in Germany since 2008 and has been operational at CAH since 2010. This project was initiated and promoted by the Federal Environmental Ministry and the German Energy Agency. Together they invested 30 million € in this project so that energy saving bulbs and water saving tap heads could be supplied to these households. The jobs provided by CAH are also financed by these funds. The buildings used by CAH are hired and paid for from the proceeds of the items sold there.
The types of second hand goods that can be donated to CAH include household furniture, kitchen appliances, electric devices, living room and kitchen accessories, clothing items, books, toys, and many more. All of these items are sold at a low price and sometimes the price is evennegotiable. All donated electrical appliances are tested to see if they are working correctly and checked for any defects. If they find that there are no defects and the items are still in good working condition, they get re-sold at the company. If they find that the appliance or device is defective or broken, it gets disassembled into different parts. Those that work are re-used and re-sold and those that do not work are disposed of. Those parts that are recyclable are sent to companies that recycle them. Those parts that are not recyclable are sent to a company to be incinerated.
There are also some refugees who take part in their employment projects. Some refugees are working at the electrical recycling point where they sort the components of the devices and throw them into the different containers. The refugees receiveonly around 1 € per hour but this is not intended as payment for a real job. This is only a method to help the refugees get used to working conditions and it makes it easier for them to find work.
Mr Feierler believes that sustainability means prolonging the life of everyday objects. Germany hasa throwaway culture and often items are thrown away in perfect condition. CAH even offers free pick-ups to ensure that the second-hand goods are given a second life. This service is very popular and the collection dates are booked 3-4 weeks in advance.
We asked what the plans for the future are for the company. Currently the funds are limited and CAH would maintain their level of competency and efficiency. The goal, of course, is to continue the employment and training of unemployed residence. Even though Neumarkt and its surrounding thesurrounding towns have a very low unemployment rate (around 1.5% - 2%),it is still important to CAH that they create these opportunities for people who need them.
We wish the company all the best with their plans for the future and we say thank you to Mr Feierler and Mr. Mühlbauer for showing us around the workshop.
|Posted on June 16, 2016 at 9:45 AM||comments (0)|
Role in One World Shop
On the 4th of May we interviewed, Ruth Dorner, one of the councilors of Neumarkt Stadt responsible for the portfolio of Sustainability. She is also one of the founding members of the Non-Profit Organization called the One World Shop in Neumarkt Stadt (Eine Welt Laden Neumarkt e.V). The shop was established in 1983 through a practical idea to help communities in developing countries. Before the shop was founded, they used to make events and sell products and use this money to help support the developing countries from which these products originated. For instance, they had a project through which they collected money to support women in Zambia. The One World Shop is the result of the vision of this movement and it has grown in strength every year.The idea of promoting Fairtrade originated from the student towns around Neumarkt but this movement has now grown and become a movement throughout Germany. The one world movement used to be strongly supported by congregations around the town. Even though their support has decreased, the shop is still standing and is now supported by members from the surrounding communities. The One World Shop is run like a club or an organization. The members of have control over what products they buy and sell and what projects they support. The labels on the Fairtrade products are certified by https://www.fairtrade-deutschland.de/service/ueber-transfair-ev.html" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Transfair and this informs their customer that their products are genuinely Fairtrade. The One World Shop in Neumarkt is free to choose which products they sell regardless of the labelling. The members only support commendable projects so whether any product has a label from Transfair or not, it is always guaranteed that all the products are produced in a fair way. Not only does the shop support developing countries, but they also support local production by selling products from a German disability workshop.
The shop itself tries its best to do daily energy saving as well as recycling of plastic and paper. They had a big discussion at a meeting with the members of an organization selling the “Coffee to go’’ (coffee in a paper cup). One member suggested that this product should be discontinued, because they want to reduce their contribution to pollution. It was decided that this cannot happen, because as a lot of customers only come to the shop for this coffee. There is always this constant struggle between what the shop wants and what their customers demand. She wishes to use the One World Shop to change people’s mind sets and attitudes about life and their surroundings. One way to achieve this is through education. One way of doing education is by making use of the Fairtrade Trail, the educational tool used to educate learners about what Fairtrade is and how this initiative helps communities around the world. This tool was developed in Bavaria and is available for hire from the One World Shop. The idea that Ruth and her team had with this Fairtrade Trail was to have one room where education can take place. They also offer workshops and exhibitions for people of all ages on topics like climate, paper, football, chocolate, plastic, paper and many more.
Other projects that are organized through the One World Shop are projects where pupils take a tour around the town and find the shops that offer Fairtrade products. One project that is still in the pipeline is the Coffee Mobile and it is planned to be finished by the beginning of June this year. They also have a project that focuses on the usage of solar energy to prepare food. This is done by using a special cooker that runs on solar energy and was used at the Altstadtfest. This makes people aware of green energy and their uses.
All of these concepts and project ideas have been developed over the past 30 years by Ruth and the members of the organization, including the second chief of the One World Shop.
Background on Ruth as a council member:
With no background in politics, Ruth was asked to stand as a candidate for a seat on the council of Neumarkt in 2012. The previous mayor of the town recommended Ruth because of her involvement in the One World Shop. She promised herself that if she took this position, she will not change the person she is, her beliefs or her opinions. After her first candidacy she won her seat on the council which is very rare. The inhabitants of Neumarkt wanted to become more involved in the town’s political issues and decisions. Ruth was put in charge of the program named Agenda 21 which involves allot of public participation and the mayor thought that this was the perfect program for her as she had much experience in public involvement through her work at the One World Shop. This was a big project to take on, especially for a recently elected official. In 2004, climate protection and public involvement were added to the mission statement of the town of Neumarkt. The Bürgerhaus was the first project to address these issues. The building was empty and needed work done which Ruth managed to achieve as the building was restored with a very low budget she had at her disposal. They took on a new project at the Bürgerhaus every year and the result of those projects is the current building we have now which houses the Neumarkt Office for Supporting Sustainability. All the projects that do not integrate into other municipal departments are given to the office in the Bürgerhaus, like climate change topics, Fairtrade, social projects (child daycare), volunteering work, etc. What makes these projects and this department important is that they all have some sort of public participation aspect. Her entire career is based on her deciding to make a difference in people’s minds and also her engagement in projects that stand for social justice.
Ruth defines sustainability by wanting to give the children of her children a better future and the possibility of having a life like hers. One day she wants to be able to say that she did her best in reaching this goal.
|Posted on June 16, 2016 at 4:05 AM||comments (0)|
All our visits took place at companies, schools, organisations and government administration offices. The Jurenergie eG was another type of organization that we interviewed. Mr Michael Vogel, CEO of eG Jurenergie and in charge of the legal and financial duties, told us about the system and the objectives of Jurenergie eG. In other companies we have interviewed, they have usually focussed on a single sustainable element, for example how their production halls are heated or what materials are used for their products and packaging. At Jurenergie eG, the main idea and the purpose for the company is sustainability. Their goal is to increase the share of renewable energy in the energy supply for the county of Neumarkt. To include as many citizens as possible, they established a citizens' association. The participants include people who are committed to climate protection and renewable energy generation as well as those who want to invest their money in “future-proof” investments. Profits are distributed among the members and are not delivered to large corporations.
More than 900 members are involved in this cooperative, which has a working capital of around € 9 million and approximately € 26 million invested in renewable energy projects.
To keep the costs as low as possible, management and the supervisory board work on a voluntary basis, only receiving an allowance for their expenses. Jurenergie eG only have two paid employees including a part-time CEO and an assistant. The business volume of Jurenergie has grown to an extent that an appropriately qualified CEO is employed to ensure that the investments are protected and well managed.
So what type of renewable energy do they invest in and what benefits do Jurenergie offer their members?
Completed projects that are now operational include the photovoltaic systems in Berg, Deining und Sengenthal. To allow maximum transparency to their members, their income, benefits and their energy production can viewed on their Internet at any time. Jurenergie eG went into partnership with Lumenaza GmbH with three of their plants to directly enter the regional renewable energy market. This means that their energy is produced in the region and is used by consumers in the region.
Their portfolio also includes energy consulting services. Citizens can be informed about the possibilities to optimally conserve and use energy efficiently through the way they build their homes. After Mr Vogel spoke to us and provided much information on Jurenergy in his office, we went on a trip to see one of their wind turbines near Parsberg. The wind turbine in Pöfersdorf has been in operation since July of 2013 and this was the first wind turbine owned entirely by Jurenergie eG. The size of the wind turbine is an impressive 149m (hub height). But when rotor blades are attached, the total height is close to the 200m mark.
Today, Jurenergie owns three additional wind turbines. The total energy they have generated with photovoltaic systems was over 25 million kWh in 2015, representing a CO2 saving of over 7,700 tons of CO2 (based on the average power consumption in a detached house in Germany)
We asked Mr Vogel about his views on whether he thought wind turbines could be harmful to birds. He said that of course it can happen that birds fly against the masts or into the rotor blades. All dead animals or birds discovered near to their wind turbines are nationally recognized and documented by the staatlichen Vogelschutzwarte Brandenburg (State Ornithological Station Brandenburg). The real figure will be much higher, however, unlike the pollution emitted from fossil fuel energy, which indirectly endangers even more animals (by CO2 emissions), wind turbines are the green alternatives and overall, are better for the environment. If you find a dead bird or a bat near wind turbines, you can fill out a registration form here.
Thanks to Mr Vogel, we could have a look into the inner workings of wind turbine and see the controller and the generator. An interesting point that Mr Vogel mentioned was what happens when the wind speeds are too strong. When this happens, there is a built-in mechanism that stops the wind turbine and forces it to cut out. This prevents overheating and damage at the wind turbine.
If you want to join this civil cooperative and would like to support renewable energy production in the county, you can ask Mr. Vogel visit their website for more information.
We would like to thank to Mr Vogel for his time and the opportunity to see the internal workings of a wind turbine.
|Posted on June 16, 2016 at 3:40 AM||comments (0)|
On the afternoon of 3rd of May, we were very excited when we came back from Mittelschule Weinberger. This school has so much to offer in terms of sustainability, it was not possible to present everything. The school was awarded the “Umweltschule für Europa”(Environmental School for Europe). Young people from around 17 different countries are taught here. The school can participate in the school fruit program, because they have a migration percentage of 40%. They now get supplied with fresh fruits once a week.
In 2012 they received the “InnereSchulentwicklungundSchulqualitätInnovatiionspreis” (Inner school development and school quality innovation prize). Currently they are in the process of applying for "Strong School" - a nationwide prize for Germany's best schools.
Around the bicycle (solar bicycles-taxi and open garage for bicycles)
Let's start immediately with a very impressive and unique project in the region: The home-built solar-Velo-taxi and it is equipped with solar panels. In addition, an intermediate storage (battery) is connected. This is loaded with sun energy and provides power for the electric motor.
The 5-8 pupils of this project groupbuilt all the bicycle components together and learned a lot. They also made some changes, for example, to make the taxi accessible for wheelchair users.
First, it took about 10 hours of sunlight to fully charge the battery. Then the pupils decided to take better solar panels that charge the battery in about five to six hours. The pupils managed to put an extra battery pack on for buffering the energy,because you are losing energy while parking. The battery is equipped with USB and the plug can be used for various things. Although the bicycle battery can also be charged at the plug or the cigarette lighter of a car, this never came to that. They never needed to charge the bicycle at any of these charging stations, because the sunlight from the sun was enough to charge the bicycle and use it as well. Mr. Schmitz underlined that each pupilput his/her own particular strengths into the project, which made it very successful. They also give their knowledge to other pupils. After creating a teaching lesson they visited a school in Parsbergto present their project. So they learnedalso by teaching.
One important experience for the participating pupils was that they can constantly improve something in the construction. The solar-Velo-taxi is not regularly used, but was used as a luggage van for the excursionto Dietkirchen. It was also used at the parent-teacher conferences and even for transport of material needed in school.
In addition to that a class that was doing a practical lesson built a bicycle trailer, which is for example used for music and drinks at the sports festival.
The school wants to open a bicycle workshop for disadvantaged groups, refugees, enthusiasts, etc. This will serve as an extension to the already existing project offered by G6, where they have a bike repair facility.The pupils are trained by the company Peter Stadler, to learn more about the bikes.
Fairtrade and good things for the region
Weinberger school has a so-called school-world-shop. Itwas presented to us in their creative student cafe, which is also often used as a project room or theater.
Two pupils showed us the store and explained what Fairtrade means.They buy the products in the One World Shop in Neumarkt and sell it for the same price as in the store. Sweets are the most popular products. Although some pupils are bothered by the expensive price,they said the taste is actually different and they liked it.
According to the taste:
An annual well-going project, called “the apple project” was initiated by Mr. Gmeiner:
The participating class collected apples on the canal, which the teacher droveto a company that presses the fruits. There were about 5 pupils that participated in the pressing process. They helped with the sorting of apples and the filling of bottles.
For this project the pupils came to conclusionthat the products do not always have to come from the supermarket.They are often found right outside the front door (like Streuobstwiese Neumarkt). The apple juice is sold to the pupils, parents and teachers.
Green in the City - school garden with raised beds and a greenhouse
Mittelschule Weinberger is a city school so there have been no green spots, until now. At first they considered building a small garden on the school’s roof, but it was not possible because of some policies. Instead, a spot behind the gym was created. The students redesigned it with MrGmeiner. They built raised beds and put paving stones for the foundation of a greenhouse. They planted some perennial plants, using fruit & vegetables such as strawberries, broccoli, zucchini or herbs for cooking. Even home-grown flowers were planted. Before it gets too cold the plants will be harvested. These planted fruits and vegetables are used to cook a meal for the pupils. In the fifth classes, they have their own raised beds to gain experience in gardening. Other classes even write the documentaries about the monitoring the development of the plants.
One student was so impressed by the garden that her father saw her enthusiasm about the flower beds. He ended up buying himself a hose and watered the school garden during the holiday.
After the holidays, everything flourished and the pupils were especially pleased with their pumpkins.
The idea now is to open the school garden for the whole school; so many more classes can participate.Every interested classwill then gethalf of a bed to carefor. Farming gets integrated into the school curriculum. In the 8th grade the teachers of PCB (physic, chemistry, biology) can use the themes“ground”, or the theme "material cycle of the plant," the decomposition of plants”, “compost pile” or “worm andsnail observation”while using their own worm monitoring boxes.
The teachers' work should not be underestimated here. For all these projects, meetings take place and each of the teachers tries to "sell" their project to fellow teachers and other interested parties to.
One of the ideas that came up was holding a pumpkin festival. The best thing about these programs is that gardening combines ecological and social aspects.
To make the city Neumarkt even "greener", the pupils participated in the tree planting.
Energy efficiency, climate and environmental protection
Mittelschule Weinberger has a small photovoltaic system with visualization for it in the school hall, so that savings etc. can be followed always.
Pupils learned about the ecological footprint and watched the movie "Power to Change". In the sixth classes Water Day took place.
Between the teachers,only Fairtrade coffee and 100% recycled. The city pays the largest part of the recycled paper. It was very impressive to find that no white paper is being used.The school is also a role model in waste separation. Theyeducate waste experts which learn a lot about separation, energy, cleanliness, waste bins etc.
Once a week there is an environmental dayorganised by the facility manager, who offers them vegetarian food from the region.
They also have bat boxes on the roof of the schools to offershelter to the bats.
And we were also told about some future school project ideas.
MrGmeiner willstart a project “School Bees”with a former student who is a beekeeper now. Moreover Mr Schmitz wants to cycle through the Alps with his pupils.
They have a music class called rock band class.They don’t only learn how to deal withinstruments, but they learn a specific song that they already played at a concert after half a year.
Pupils do not only get job positions to learn to be responsible for certain things, some of them even get rewarded for their dedication. Sustainably committed pupils are honored with a certificate "Thanks for environmental behavior". Trained pupils are allowed togivefurther training to other pupils.
Why the Middle School Weinberger is so successful
As part of their school philosophy, Mittelschule Weinberger tries to implement sustainability in micro-projects. Thus, each class or each teacher has a different project. So different interests of different individuals and teachers can meet and give great results. The headmaster, Mrs. Zeitler, creates a room which provides space for projects that are voluntary but are very well perceived and honored by the teachers.
The duration and extent of the projects are different.There are one day projects and even 3 year projects, but every teacher is involved in some way.
The challenge that has to be managed with is making the issue of sustainability and environmental thinking for young people interesting.This worked well with the Solar Taxi,but is a little more difficult with the school-world-shop.
Projects are funded by school fees, practice for secondary schools, prizes won and the support from the town. There are also some support from the the Ministry of Culture and the Economy. The school is open to ideas and sustainability.
We are really pleased with what is being done at this school and we wish them all the best of luck.
|Posted on June 15, 2016 at 6:50 AM||comments (0)|
Another school worth seeing is the primary school in Holzheim. The school was marked as a Fair Trade school on 13th of May 2015. They offer many activities and projects regarding the environment, climate protection and Fair Trade. Activities like “To school by foot” or “Collecting climate miles” should motivate the pupils to go to school in an environment-friendly way, like go by bike or by foot.
The project “Collecting climate miles” is in cooperation with the town of Neumarkt. They also took part in the “Prima klima” project of the town of Neumarkt. In addition to that the pupils are engaged with regional and Fair shopping. To show their support for this they run a small Fair Trade shop at school. They receive a healthy school breakfast at school regularly. The school received the certificate of Fair Trade school by forming a “TeamOneWorld’’ who is responsible for the trade of the Fair products at school.
To increase the awareness for sustainable subjects, there are Fair Trade days or weeks during the school year. These are some of the last projects and topics handled during the year:
Fair Trade Week: “Chocolate”
⇒ In cooperation with the One World Shop of Neumarkt they worked with the subject “the sweet chance – Fair Trade?”
⇒ In the learning garage they had a multimedia project of chocolate
⇒ Combined learning methods with the topic of “where is chocolate growing” with reading texts
⇒ The education of so called “chocolate experts”
⇒ The production of self made chocolate for the yearly advent calendar
⇒ A “five star Fair Trade breakfast”
Fair Trade- day: “Everything´s banana…?”
⇒ By focusing on a topic “Why is the banana crooked…?” the pupils made a small “banana science” event at the house of Habsberg
⇒ In cooperation with the One World Shop they made the banana trail
⇒ In an interesting presentation from Mr. Jabber Abdul they heard something about Bangladesh. They raised money and they donated it to Bangladesh.
⇒ They are exposed to topics like children’s rights during the subject of “What does Fair Trade mean?’’
⇒ Reading education: While reading topics about the banana they practiced reading and something about the banana at the same time
⇒ The banana is also a topic of the healthy Fair Trade breakfast
Fair Trade Week: “Do you know where your shirt comes from?”
⇒ The pupils worked in a reading circle on “Cotton and children´s work” from the One World Shop
⇒ The pupils took part in a project regarding environment at the house of Habsberg called “Cotton worldwide – how does it grow?”
⇒ The pupils also went on to design some Fair Trade cotton bags with Indian stamps
⇒ By looking at the picture book “The heaven blue Shirt” it was also a good occasion to think about the topic of clothes and how they are made and who makes them
⇒ They took part in the program “Fairrockt”
⇒ They also watched a film which explained to them where a lot of the coloured shirts come from
Fair Trade Day: “We are all children of one world”
⇒ Together with the Togohelp of Woffenbach they made a slideshow where they were shown clothes and tools of the West African country of Togo.
→ For getting to know the continents they handcrafted a model of the globe
⇒ They sang African songs and made a handcrafted drum
⇒ There were also reading stations for the pupils
⇒ The subject involving religion also made exciting activities
⇒ The children made an art design about being “children for one world”, which decorates the entry to the school
An important aspect of this school is the Fair Trade study group.
Here they work with Fair Trade cotton, the advent calender and chocolate. Furthermore the pupils of the study group made a chocolate trail and worked on the topic Fair Trade with the examples of orange juice and lemonade. We were allowed to try the Fair Trade lemonade in the break. We asked the children about the production and the background of it. Very competent and self-confident the pupils told us how lemonade is produced and what Fair Trade means. It is really fascinating to see how much the pupils learn and how motivated they are. The result of this awareness being done at school is that many children tell their parents something about the Fair Trade products and convince them to buy such products. The plan is to make a 6 star breakfast out of the 5 star breakfast by using the Fair Trade products.
The school garden with self-created beds is a great occasion to get to know the environment. They planted potatoes and other vegetables and also created a house for insects.
Mr. Kotzbauer – a teacher for natural science – built a wind turbine and a small car with the pupils which were run by solar energy. We also tested it in the schoolyard. In connection with the art education they developed not only experiments using solar energy but also really nice individual artworks. Regularly the teachers organize some experiments regarding climate change or renewable energy in cooperation with a group of teaching students from Regensburg.
The pupils were able to tell us much about renewable energy possibilities.
One of the teachers, Mrs Hiltl, was asked what sustainability means to her and her response was a quote from the Hunkpapa Lakota holy man, Sitting Bull:
We didn´t inherit the world from our ancestors, but we borrow it from our children.
A huge thank you goes to the primary school Holzheim and all the teachers and students that took part in this interview.
|Posted on June 15, 2016 at 6:40 AM||comments (0)|
On the 11th of May we had an interview with Marion Burkhardt, an architectfrom the city of Neumarkt. She has been an architect for about 25 years and today she told us a bit more about the project “Die Grüne Hausnummer” or the green house number. This is an incentive based program topromote sustainability and climate protection and by meeting certain criteria, the owner of the building can be awarded a special green house number. This means that the building has a sustainable and environmentally friendly design. Marion showed us a building in the city center that has been awarded a green number to show us just exactly what goes into having a sustainable and eco-friendly apartment.
During the war, most of the city was destroyed and then rebuilt to its original design again and this was one of the buildings that has been restored. The apartment is now owned by the city of Neumarkt, but is used for private use and is rent to three families. We first had a look at the front of the apartment that is facing the street. The apartment has double glazed windows, walls and roof are insulated for better insulation so heat does not escape easily which means that the heat stays inside the apartment and less heating is needed to heat the rooms. We then walked through to the garden at the back. The rooftop was equipped with a few solar waterheating panels which supports the heating and warm water systems. The heated water accumulated from the solar panels can be stored for three days. In winter, when there is little sun they rely mainly on gas energy for heating.
We then entered the cellar of the building and we were told that some of the original material of this building from before the war was used to rebuild the floor of the cellar and part of the wall in the rest of the apartment. The stone from these bricks is called calcite, which is sourced locally, which improves the sustainabilityof the building materials. The easiest way to clean this stone is to take a broom and sweep the stone clean.The cellar also holds the big water storage tanks of the building with a capacity of 800 liters of water. This is very efficient because ordinarily, anapartmentof this size would have a tank with a capacity of about 1600 liters. The water is heated by the solar panels on the roof, but can also be heated by gas if the heat from the roof is insufficient. The tanks are also insulated, so heat lost is very low and the water can stay hot for longer than usual. The water in the tanks is used both for heating and hot water. The cellar has a condensing boiler which is more efficient than conventional boilers. The boiler also has a condensation neutralizer which neutralizes the Sulphur in the water that may be present from the gas heating. The apartment now uses around 60 kW, where as in the past it used 200-300 kW. Most of the energy for the building comes from the panels on the roof.
We then made our way up the stairs to the first floor. The building has incorporated many natural renewable materials for instance the doors of the apartments are made of wood and the floors are made of linoleum. Linoleum is made from materials such as solidified linseed oil (linoxyn), pine rosin, ground cork dust, wood flour, and mineral fillers such as calcium carbonate. Not many people have this type of floor which makes this building a great example. Marion explained this type of floor is staying very nice and long term living if you care about. Most people think that this is too much effort to spend on their floor. The paint that is used in the apartment does not contain plastic, but natural minerals and this eco-friendly paint can only be found in selected stores. The tenants in the apartment are not allowed to use conventional paint for their walls.
There are 50 green house numbers in the town. She said that the return on investment for renovating your home into a sustainable living environment that meet the criteria are about 10 years or less within the energy costs. If you renovate the building it is also worth more. In her office we also get to know some natural stuff for building houses: hemp- and flax insolents.
What are the criteria for obtaining a green house number?
A green apartment number for a building is a quality sign, a type of guarantee that is well respected so there are people who want to rent or buy a building like this. If you want your house or apartment to have a green house number, you have to apply on the website of the city of Neumarkt (https://www.neumarkt.de/de/buerger/nachhaltigkeit-und-klimaschutz/guetesiegel-gruene-hausnummer.html) and provide evidence that you fulfill all the criteria. The application goes to the administration office for sustainability. A selection committee checks it and they decide whether to award the green house number or not.
We asked whether she thinks that the trend of green living will catch on in the next 50 years or so. She said that she thinks it all depends on the mindsets and decisions and their interest in making a difference. People should start asking questions and looking around for ways to improve their living space.
What does sustainability mean to her: Only as much as necessary, as little as possible!
We would like to thank Marion for taking the time out of her busy schedule for us to conduct this interview.
|Posted on June 14, 2016 at 3:00 AM||comments (0)|
On the 3rd of May we conducted an interview with Simone and her colleague Anne from Regina GmbH in Neumarkti.d.OPf. Simone and Anne are the project managers of the project called Model Region for Organic Farming in the district of Neumarkt. This project is a product of the initiative called BioRegion Bayern 2020, which was put forward by the Minister of Agriculture of Bavaria in 2013. There is a growing trend for consumers these days to demand organically grown produce. The minister saw the trend and initiated this project with the intention of strengthening organic agriculture with more education, better consulting, knowledge transfer, financial incentives and more marketing and research.
There is a weak background of organic farming in Germany and only about 6% of farmers are farming organically. There is a high demand for organic products in Germany, but too few producers of organic products. So, Germany has to import organic products from elsewhere. One of the biggest goals of this initiative is to double the area of organic farming by the year 2020. The result of this is that Bavaria and even Germany will have to import less organic products from outside. Some other goals are to increase crop variety, reduce farm sizes andto increase biodiversity in the region.
Bavaria is still one of the regions in Germany that has many small family owned farms and these farms fit with this model of supporting organic farming and ensuring the produce is sold within the country. A key result of this type of local trading is transportation is reduced thereby reducing the CO2 footprint from the farmer.The state is supporting organic farmers, regardless of the size of the farm. They have found that the best way for small family farms to survive on the organic market is to develop and maintain a closed circuits for their energy use and reusing waste products as inputs. This includes using energy that is produced through sustainable methods, like wind, solar and biogas production. Using a closed circuit system also means that you use your own organic waste and grow your own feed for your animals. There is also no need to buy fertilizer so there is little or no expenditure and transport costs for chemicals. They do not need to buy electricity frequently either, therefore improving their income against their expenditure. Many family farms now go this way so that they can more easily sustain themselves.
For a region to became one of the Model Regions for Organic Farming the region had to submit a concept to an application jury who reviews the concept. If your region was selected, it became one of 12 Models Region for Organic Farming in Bavaria.
There are only 4 years left to reach the ambitious goals set in Bayern 2020 goals, however Simone and Anne are certain that these goals will eventually be achieved as there is a definite increase in the number of organic farming in the region. We wish Simone and Anne good luck with their projects and we appreciate them offering the time for this interview.
|Posted on June 13, 2016 at 10:20 AM||comments (0)|
We spoke to the headmaster, Dr. Thomas Mayr from Woffenbach Primary School about how the school is involved in sustainable education for its pupils. At first he mentioned the education for healthy eating programme and how this is linked to awareness for the environment. As part of this programme the school offers the pupilshealthy break snacks (we also were allowed to try) and the ingredients for this are mostly produced in their own school-garden. These snacks are offered every Tuesday for free to the pupils. Because the aim is to teach the pupils about sustainability, the snacks are meat free and milk products are avoided. Instead of these products,only ecological and sustainable ingredients are used to prepare the food. The school also bakes its own bread for the breaks and it’s exciting for the pupils to eat plants they grew themselves and products they baked themselves.
The teaching staff of the school stands behind the topic sustainability and supports the headmaster and because of this, many projects can be realized and are working very well. The aim of the school is not only to reach the pupils, but also their families so thepupils act as multipliers. The parents are now also getting involved and two parents of each class have agreed to do the preparation of the healthy breaksnack. They take turns weekly and alternate with the parents of the other classes. This has been so successful that now there are more parent volunteers than needed and this speaks to the team spirit of the Woffenbacher. For some years the school also offers a day-careuntil 2:00 or 3:30 p.m. The planned catering service for the day-care cancelled on short notice and the localnursing home stepped in and offered to take care of the catering and organised everything spontaneously which speaks again to the sense of community and the team-spirit of Woffenbach. Another interesting project which connects the elderly and the young pupils at Woffenbach is a programme where the school pupils play games and read to the old people in the nursing home. The pupils improve their reading and their attitudes to the elderly and the elderlyenjoy it as well.
The principle then spoke about another sustainable project on Fairtrade which began with the “chocolate-experts”. Some pupils learned about Fairtrade chocolate, child labour and how to make chocolate and then they were crowned “chocolate-experts”. The “chocolate-experts” are then responsible to teach the other pupils about these issues and the “chocolate-experts” even visit other schools and teach pupils in those schools as well.
After this developed the project expanded to other topics like water, chicken and eggs, milk and agriculture, cotton and child labour. The pupils made posters and info cards on thesetopics, which can be reused and the topics repeated with other pupils. To fit these programmes into the curriculum, normally the teacher will make a special project week but they can also talk about these issues during regular lessons. The way this is done is up to the teacher. A good trend that has emerged is that quite often new projects are being developed out of existing projects resulting in new ideas. The sustainable projects and activities in the school are growing.
Another project was making bat boxes that the pupils made themselves. These should offer bats a roosting opportunity, because their natural habitat is being threatened and at the same time the pupils are being educated about this.
The school has also established a world shop which is run by the pupils where they sell fair trade products during their breaks. Also the separation of the waste is an important topic the pupils are learning and the school takes recycling very seriously. Every class has two months where they are responsible for the “waste-service” at school.
At the school yard there are many things promoting sustainability and environmental awareness. For example there is an oven for baking bread, pizza, sweet things or roasting meat. Baking bread, cooking and food education are important topics the pupils should know about, said Mr. Dr.Mayr. On average every German inhabitant throws away about 80 kg of usable food per year (Source: Bundesministerium für Ernährung und Landwirtschaft o.J.). This is a major problem ofthe German citizens. Compared to other European countries the food is very cheap in Germany but the quality is lower and therefore people don’t have much respect their food and will throw it away but we cannot continue like this when there are so many people in other countries going without food. Early education is crucial to achieve an aware and responsible public, said Dr. Mayr.
At the schoolyard are also existing eight small wooden houses for the insects which were of course built by the pupils. And in the schoolyard there is also two tipis built for the pupils to enjoy. The tipis are made out of branches and vines were planted and the aim is that once grown, the tipis will be covered with a “green wall” but it will take around two years to grow. Directly next to the schoolyard is the schoolgarden.
Rain water is diverted from the pipes and is collected by the school for the garden. The garden is very big and offers a lot of variety including fruits (pear- and quincetrees), vegetables (potatoes, zucchini and sugar pea) and 25-30 different herbs which are planted in a spiral.One pupil is responsible for a specific kind of plant or herb and the he or she must keep a journal and document the life cycle of the plant. The pupils are very interested in these projects and are they even use their break time to care about the plants. The only concern is that some pupils are too motivated and they gave the plants more water than they need.
The teachers try to harvest the food before or after the holidays. During the holidays there are some pupils and two teachers who work in the garden. The headmaster thinks it´s very important that the pupils get used to the taste of self-grown food and to know the taste of all the herbs and vegetables. Because of this, the food grown in the gardenis used to make the healthy breaksnacks.
The school is not able to afford all these projects on their own so it’s very important to get assistance from Neumarkt Stadt and other sponsors. The town supports “microprojects” and at the moment there are eight microprojects being run by the school which represents a quarter of all the projects in Neumarkt. If you have a good concept, the town will support you and in the end the pupils benefit.
The school also built and installed two boxes under the rooftop of the school with 4 nestsintended for common swifts. The habitat of the common swift is under threat. The school tried to attract them by playing sounds of the common swifts but they never came and now there are sparrows living in those nests.
The school also teaches the pupils about the topics of climate change and energy. The pupils have had to complete to understand climate change and the correlations between climate and energy. The correlation between the causes and effects are very important. The school also takes part in an action called “small climate protectors are on their way”, with which the pupils can collect climate-miles for reducing their Carbon footprint.
The principle then went through the guidelines of the school and the future sight of the projects. In the school development programme of the school (PDF-LINK), the top priority is individualized education which means that every pupil should learn the most they can on their own. Sustainability has been identified as the second priority to which all these mentioned activities belong.
The concepts of many of these projects came from the ideas of the teachers. From these ideas the principle writes up the concept and then searches for fundingopportunities and sponsors. With a good concept, he can apply for funding at various companies or at the town. With help from outside funders, these projects are being implemented and realized.
The primary school of Woffenbach has achieved the status of an “environment school in Europe” for the third time in row. For the future the school plans to make the garden bigger and to build a “green-classroom” with a pavilion. The goal is for the pupils to be able to learn outside. Dr. Mayr is sure there will be always new ideas,for example a project for bees has already been proposed by a teacher which will involve planting special flowers. In this way the school can continually develop its sustainable education programme to good values in the young generation. Looking at the future projects there is much hope for a sustainable and environment friendly future.