Bernardi measures decibels from the wind turbines in front of his house in northern Germany. He says the low-frequency sound you can't hear is twice as strong as the sounds the ear picks up. Those sub-sonic sound waves, he says, ruin human health over time.

This new apartment building is "passive." That is, it's so well insulated that it doesn't need central heating. Body heat, sunlight through windows, and heat from appliances are enough to keep a home here warm. There are about 10 thousand passive homes in Germany, where they've become a pillar in the movement to reduce energy consumption.

This new coal-fired power plant nearing completion in Hamburg will provide electricity for nearly 300 thousand homes. Its owner, Swedish energy giant Wattenvall, says it's much cleaner than older coal plants. But activists say coal must go immediately. They say renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power, can fill the gap as Germany phases out its remaining nuclear plants.

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