Environmental Engineering Reference
14.1.3 Plus-Energy Housing Estate
Houses that produce an energy surplus over the year and feed it into the grid do not
have to be an exception. This is shown by the Schlierberg solar housing estate in
Freiburg in Southern Germany. The architect Rolf Disch built 50 plus-energy houses
on this estate. He has been integrating ecological enhancements and renewable
energies into his projects for more than 30 years.
All houses in this development of terraced houses are orientated towards the south.
The gaps between the terraces are designed so that the heat from the sun can stream
into the houses through large south-facing windows in the winter. Balconies that jut
out prevent the houses from heating up too much in the summer. These simple and
cheap measures could reduce the energy needs of many new-build houses.
Optimal insulation that exceeds the standard and controlled living space ventilation
with heat recovery are standard features of this particular housing estate. These fea-
tures are designed to keep heat energy needs to an absolute minimum (Figure 14.3).
Figure 14.3 Schlierberg solar housing estate in Freiburg, Germany, with 50 plus-energy houses.
Source: Architekturbüro Rolf Disch, www.solarsiedlung.de.
A wood chip heat power plant covers the rest of the heat energy requirements and
provides climate-neutral energy supply. A district heat grid transports the heat to the
individual houses. The photovoltaic systems feed into the public electricity grid. The
solar energy surplus produced by the houses makes them plus-energy homes.
The building materials were also chosen with ecology and sustainability in mind.
The wood has not been chemically treated, solvent-free paints and varnishes have
been used throughout and the water and electric lines are PVC-free.
14.1.4 Heating Only with the Sun
Many houses use solar thermal systems only to heat water in the summer and at
best to provide heating support during the transitional seasons. It is hard to imagine