Researchers at the Univesity of Kassel in Germany compared carbon dioxcide emissions from the daily lifestyles of the average German household, 3 local "ecological households," and 2 German Eco-Villages: Kommune Niederkaufungen and Ökodorf Sieben Linden. The researchers measured CO2 emissions along the chain of events to create, use, and/or transport electricity, heating, water, and food (including the transport of food grown elsewhere to the local markets). They also measured the CO2 emissions of each member's work and vacation travel. Given the current number of people on the planet, they determined the baseline for an acceptable amount of CO2 emissions. (Not surprisingly, they found that the average German household emitted 6 times the minimum acceptable level of CO2 emissions.)
The researchers found that the Co2 emissions of the two Eco-Villages were still higher than the minimum acceptable baseline, although the Co2 emissions of Ökodorf Sieben Linden , for example were only around 28% of the average German household. When it came to heating their buildings, Sieben Linden's emissions were only 10% of the national average, and they achieved a level of 6% of the national average in all the processes involved with constructing their buildings, the materials used etc. The researchers also found that the 2 Eco-Villages used far less water, electricity, heating fuel, and fossil-fuel for heating and food (including transporting food), than either the ecological households or the average German household. This was because the Eco-Villages in in shared, clustered, passive-solar housing with high insulation and efficient heating systems; ate mostly vegetarian diets; grew much of their own food; and earned a living on their homesites rather than traveling to other locations very much.
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