Green Living, Research, and Study in Hessen

Across the State of Hessen, students and researchers are pushing the boundaries of knowledge about sustainable technologies, renewable energy, green building, and many more topics that are of critical importance to the future of the planet.

Germany, in general, is known for its widespread public and governmental support of environmental issues from early-adoption of recycling to subsidies for solar panels. It’s also one of the hotbeds of research into both the causes of environmental problems and the potential solutions.

This is just a small snapshot of what’s going on in Hessen right now:

HEUREKA Capital Investment Program
Over three billion euros will be invested by 2020 to modernize and improve infrastructure at the 12 public universities in Hessen. All of the projects will be undertaken with questions of energy efficiency and minimizing environmental impact top of mind, leading to a transformation of campuses across Hessen into leaner (in terms of energy consumption), and environmentally-friendly places to study and work.
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Hessen Team Wins Solar Decathlon Twice in a Row
Teams of architecture students from the Technische Universität Darmstadt won a major international competition sponsored by the US Department of Energy in Washington, DC in both 2007 and 2009. Having competed in 10 categories that tested the “zero energy homes” in areas such as architecture, engineering, affordability, energy balance, and more, the TU Darmstadt team showcased their creativity, hard work, knowledge of energy-efficient building, and excellent organizational skills.
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Short-Term Study Programs on the Environment
The University of Kassel—a leader in research on wind energy, organic agriculture, and other topics related to sustainability—offers two month-long courses in English for international students to gain insight into environmental issues. The International Winter University in January offers courses in Environmental Engineering and Renewable Energy Sources while the International Summer University offers Adaptation Strategies to Climate Change, Civil Engineering: Introduction to Earthquake Engineering, and Environmental Engineering and Integrated Environmental Studies. Cultural activities and coursework on topics from German Fairytales to Intercultural Communication are also offered.
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Environmentally-Aware Student Life
Although concern for the environment is widespread across all parts of German society, students seem to take these issues particularly to heart. Luckily, most students avoid one of the biggest polluters by going without a car: the mandatory semester fees of roughly 200 euros cover all public and regional transportation and the Mitfahrzentrale can organize rideshares for longer distances. Plus, bicycles are the most popular form of transportation of all. Students also often live in shared apartments known as “WGs” where recycling is the norm, clothing is dried on a rack and not in a dryer, and the carbon footprint is kept as small as possible.

The strong commitment to environmental sustainability at universities in Hessen—as well as from government and the private sector—draws people from around the world who are attracted to the quality of life, as well as the many opportunities to study and research on this important topic.