A few days before Christmas a delegation from the Chinese province Xinjiang came to Vorarlberg to learn more on sustainable construction and renovation processes. They’ve been invited from the German GIZ, the University of Vienna and CIPRA International. All of the guest have an engineer-technical background are now working for the Institute of Biomass Energy and the Xinjiang Academy of Agricultural Sciences.
On Thursday 18th of December we started our Tour very early (7 o’clock!) in the region of the “Grosses Walsertal” in Vorarlberg/Austria. Our host – Albert Rinderer the energy manager of the region explained the concept of e5 (energy efficient communities) in the fascinating community building of St. Gerold. Our Chinese guests were really wondering that a 360 inhabitant’s village can afford a sustainable building like this for around 2 million Euros. They were very interested in the heating systems of different buildings, and so we went on to see the biomass heating hydro plant in the community of Thüringerberg. After a traditional Austrian lunch break with “Kässpätzle”, “Gulasch” and “Wiener Schnitzel” we went on to the city of Feldkirch. After visiting the new hydropower station “Illspitz” (with a special focus on ecological compatibility measures) we were invited to the company Zumtobel (LED lightning solutions). In a guided tour through the Lightning Forum of the Zumtobel Group we experienced how light affects emotions and one’s well-being.
Another good side-effect of the LED technology developed and produced by the company is the minimum energy demand. They even managed to illuminate a tower in the city of Hamburg with not more than the same energy equivalent of a hair dryer.
On the second day of the international study trip my colleague from the “Energieinstitut Vorarlberg”, visited pilot projects of the MountEE project with the group.
It was very interesting to discuss all energy related issues with the Chinese engineers. They got new ideas (and we did too!!) and will try to implement them in their working environment. The international exchange is a very good example how EU-funded projects can affect things on a global level.