February 16, 2009
More inspiration to show what’s possible.
Güssing is a small Austrian forest community of 3,800 people on the border with Hungary which has reduced its carbon footprint by an amazing 93% since 1995 (less flying).
They did it with leadership from the Mayor, and by engaging with local people – and engineers – to make their buildings much more efficient, and to generate heat, electricity, and vehicle fuel from forest wastes, sawdust, maize, cooking oil, and solar energy, all within a radius of 5 km, creating over 1,000 jobs in 50 new businesses, while turning the town into a magnet for 30,000 ecotourists a year who come to learn how they did it.
The Gussing Energy Network includes more than 30 different energy projects, and the town now exports energy instead of importing it. Now they are planning to do the same for the wider area of 27,000 people.
BC is full of forest communities like Güssing that could adopt a similar approach. The main obstacle might be the pricing, since Austrians pay more for energy, and have better funding for private power projects (IPPs).
First published in EcoNews: A monthly newsletter funded by your donations that dreams of a world blessed by the harmony of nature, the pleasures of community, and the joys of personal fulfillment, guided and protected by our active citizenship.