Mass transit is a way of life here. You could easily live here without a car.  From the looks of it most locals don’t have a car. 

 The cars that are here are of course on a European scale, aka small.  That is except for the one super nice old school corvette we saw.  In some cases the line blurs between car and motorcycle….. whatever it is I want one.  What a great mix that appeals to my gas budget and the need to not get wet on rainy day commutes.  When do we get them in the US?

The recycling effort is prevalent.  Trash cans at the beach were even arranged in groups of three to promote sorting.  This one is such and easy no brainer.  It is just second nature to these residents.

There is a bike program for residents.  BiCiNg is the name of the program.  (BCN is the city code for Barcelona) People go up insert a card and a bike releases.  They ride it to wherever the closest station is to their destination and then they put it back in the locked rack.  I understand it is free.  This is a great benefit.  People are riding these everywhere.  They seem like decent bikes.

To go along with the biking the city has many designated and well marked bike and walk paths.  The city as a whole is extremely pedestrian friendly. Crosswalks are set back a few feet from the corners and pedestrians have their own cycle of the lights.

There are so many amenities for the residents of Barcelona to enjoy.  Parks and green space are highly developed and used well.  Check out the video of the kids practicing martial arts over on the vodpod widget. 

Street cleaners are everywhere constantly sweeping and keeping the areas looking nice.  Which leads me into my next pleasant surprise about Barcelona.  I don’t think I heard one leaf blower the entire time I was there.  Shopkeepers, sanitation workers, groundmens (and women) all used the universal and very low energy consuming broom.  It inspired me to pick up my own broom instead of the blower at home.  Proving it really is the simple things that we do everyday.

Here is a solar panel to runs the lights on this buoy.  Solar energy is prevalent in this arid country.  Here is a interesting video http://www.greenenergytv.com/Watch.aspx?v=894536578

In our hotel room (at the hotel AB Skipper) the sustainable features really catch my attention.  Just inside the door a second card reader requires you to put your key in, in order to operate the lights.  So when you leave you take your key and your lights go off.  Leaving no unnecessary light wasting electricity.  When you return and insert your key all the lights come on.  This also makes it really hard to lose your key in your room.

The toilet has a water saving dual flush feature along with a cool design integrated with the shower.  The dual flusher is a little hard to see in the photo but it is built into the wall just above the toilet.

While this is not one of my favorite features, I assume it is a huge energy saver for the hotel.  The thermostat is set at 19 C and can´t be changed up or down.  It is mostly comfortable and we have only needed to open the window once the first night to cool the place down more than we were allowed by the thermostat.

As we were leaving I noticed a solar grid on the roof.  There was more sustainably to our hotel than met the eye.  Sustainable efforts seem to be more main stream in Spain than a feather in the cap, as they are in the USA.

I also recently read an article about how Barcelona/Spain would be planting a significant number of trees in the years to come.   It is an ambitious initiative.

Overall, I would have to say that Barcelona is light years ahead of us (USA) as far as its sustainable efforts go.  We have lots to learn and change.