Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Sustainability in Innsbruck

Innsbruck has much public artwork, great architecture, and an excellent location making it a perfect opportunity to boost the economy through ecotourism.  Many of the winter visitors come for the great skiing in the surrounding mountains and the streets where packed in March with tourists like me taking pictures in the old city streets.

The entrance to the cable car is a nice sculpted glass overhang that also probably functions very well in the wind. This was designed by Zaha Hadid and is made of 850 individually molded glass panels and is said to be very durable to rock and tree impacts. There is a nice article on the construction and design of these cable car stations at http://www.building.co.uk/innsbruck-cable-car-stations-zaha-hadid-lifts-the-spirits/3100491.article.

The University has a commitment to artwork where a small percentage of their construction budget went to artwork including this glass mosaic that covered an entire hallway. The created many art displays around the campus which made it a nice place to visit.

Bicycles where fairly common around the city, although not quite as prevalent as what I saw in Bern, Switzerland.

I saw some solar installations on houses around Austria, but it was not ubiquitous. They did increase their solar installations from 50MW production in 2009 to almost 600MW by the end of 2013 with close to half of that increase just occurring in 2013, although the country is currently putting up some road blocks to solar with a grid levy.  Austria just passed a law that any new solar installations would have to pay 1.5 cents a kilowatt hour consumed before it reaches the grid on installations of more than 5,000kWh. This does exclude most small home installations, but still charges a fee for power produced and consumed by the individual.  Proponents say that this law was put into place to help support the grid infrastructure, that solar producers depend upon but may not have to pay into depending upon how much energy they produce.

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