Pondering yesterday’s adaptation lectures (and having survived a four hour crash course in integrated climate abatement and economic modeling this afternoon), I decided to take a quick snoop around Grindelwald to see what sort of climate response measures a small town in Switzerland has implemented. To set the stage, here’s looking across the street from my hotel in Grindelwald.
I decided to start with a glance at local transportation. (In the United States, transportation leads all end-use sectors in carbon dioxide emissions, says a Department of Energy website.) Cars are definitely present in Grindelwald, but asphalt streets occupy much less of the landscape than you’d find in the U.S., which means fewer impervious and dark, absorptive surfaces. Trains and buses offer access to much of the city and surrounding communities.
I was also impressed to see this. In Boulder, University of Colorado staff and students are urged to leave their cars at home and commute to campus by bike. Locked up outdoors, our bikes often get soaked and rusted with the weather. What a nice incentive covered (or indoor!) bike parking would make.
Here’s another nice mitigation tactic: less waste. Check out the size of this glass recyling container compared to the trash dumpster in the background! I found a whole row of these recycling containers downtown.
Window awnings adorn the southern-facing windows in town and make a very simple and inexpensive adaptation to strong summer insolation. By shading rooms from the sun when it’s at its highest angle, awnings help houses stay cool and reduce energy use.
And, many homes, I’ve noticed are collecting rainwater for future use (I’ve never fully understood why this is illegal in Colorado). It seems like such an easy water conservation technique.
Finally, I stopped in at the Tourist Information center, to see what sorts of reading materials the town showcases to visitors.
Imagine my surprise to find (amongst the hotel and hiking brochures in the top row) an ad for the region’s very own Climate Guide…
downloadable for your iPhone!