Going green in Aachen Sunny side up
Ask people in Aachen what they really love about the place and many of them will mention the city’s beautiful green spaces with its many parks and the open, natural countryside that surrounds it. Clean air and an unspoilt environment, however, are not things we can take for granted. The fact that we can breathe easy in Aachen is actually down to a wide array of specific initiatives.
- Held for the first time in Aachen in 2010
- Taking part – schoolchildren in the northern and eastern districts of Aachen
- The age-group: Year 8 upwards (approx. age 13+)
- The racetrack: the STAWAG property on Aachen’s Lombardenstrasse
- The prize: cash prizes and certificates for participating teams
Given the right approach, though, going green can sometimes be child’s play. Groups of schoolchildren in Aachen have just spent an enjoyable three months on an unusual leading-edge means of transport – a solar-powered ride-on children’s car – with help from Aachen’s leading engineering businesses, RWTH Aachen University and Aachen University of Applied Sciences, lending a voluntary hand in their spare time of course!
When it comes to ingenuity, the “Solarcup” competition knows no bounds. A red-striped racing car flying a German flag and with a horse’s tail glued to it would certainly be on the cards. Showing fierce ambition, the different teams race their solar machines round the course to win the prize as the panel of judges awards points for speed, technical creativity, design and, not least, the children’s unswerving occupation with their career dreams.
RWTH Aachen University is a leader in developing electric means of transport
Away from the racetrack, renewable energy has been on the increase in Aachen for many years as the thing driving the future. RWTH Aachen University is a leader in developing electric means of transport, staging a raft of solar power projects such as the annual “Aachener Solartage” conferences, and since 2009 Aachen City Council has been a member of the “Klima-Bündnis” climate alliance, committing itself voluntarily to reduce damaging greenhouse gas emissions by a significant amount. This has spawned initiatives and construction projects affecting cyclists and bus, tram and train users, all aimed at tightening the noose on CO2 emissions. And subsidies for electric bikes and scooters are helping people “climb every mountain” (or at least Aachen’s many hills) in real eco-friendly style.
In a city where everything’s close by, you can do a lot on foot too, indeed usually within a couple of minutes. What could be nicer, we say, than taking a short walk to relax in one of the city parks where you can breathe easy – and perhaps spare a casual thought for the many initiatives underway helping our city go green. And – who knows? – maybe at just that moment your reverie will be interrupted by a schoolchild speeding past in his green-machine, leaving you with images of a horse’s tail and a German flag flying in the wind!
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