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Wednesday, 26 October 2011

The E-4 Ziegelhaus Solar House

(House Concept)

Sustainable construction projects are not lacking in Austria. And today we’re going to direct the spotlight on one of them and that is the "E-4 Ziegelhaus 2020" solar house ("Ziegel" means "tile"), which promises an energy balance and a positive CO2 balance.

Collaboration between Wienerberger and TIAs
This is a concept of a two-story house with an optimized energy consumption, this house is being built in the small town of Zwettl in Lower Austria, which is known for being one of the coldest areas in Austria - the temperatures frequently go down below twenty degrees Celsius in winter. Thus, manufacturers can determine if the concept is effective even in such an environment. At a cost of the normal prices in the area (i.e. around 1700 euros per square meter), this house does indeed consume only little energy - and this energy does come largely from the house itself: the solar thermal energy is used for hot water and heating (in this case supplemented by a boiler) and photovoltaic cells.

The field implementation does not allow optimal solar exposure. This is why the building's architecture is adapted: the roof is rotated relatively to the body of the building while the solar collectors are installed on a slope at 60°. This arrangement allows us to reflect most of the solar radiations in summer, to capture as much power as possible in winter when the sun is low in the sky and drag the snow itself so that it obstructs no floor space. And at the heart of the house, lies a storage tank of 9600 liters, where water can be heated to a maximum of 38° C. Great!

According to calculations made by the Austrian Institute Of Technology (AIT, the largest research organization outside the university in the country), this house needs 39 kWh per square meter per year for heating. The total energy consumption (including electricity) is estimated at 71 kWh per square meter per year - while it should produce 73kWh at least. At the same time, the carbon must be slightly positive during the use of this accommodation. The comparison with the results of the calculations will be done in three years: the owners will move in the summer of 2012 and will have to measure the two years energy parameters and compare them to the simulations.

This project, led by Wienerberger (Austrian company employing approximately 12,000 people, including world leader in the manufacture of bricks), has more than a dozen partners and supporters.

Basma - Green Energy International Correspondent - 26/10/11

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