After nearly a year and a half of construction, an estate of 13 new super-efficient homes was opened in a ceremony near the southern German city of Augsburg on July 14th.
The estate, known as the “Effizienzhaus Plus-Siedlung”, is located in the village of Hügelshart near the Bavarian city of Augsburg.
Over the course of a year, the nine detached and four semi-detached homes will produce more energy than their residents consume. The buildings were constructed according to the “Effizienzhaus Plus” criteria laid down by the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety.
The project is just one example in Germany of both energy-efficient and economical construction.
Franz Josef Pschierer, state secretary in the Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs and Media, Energy and Technology, considers the project a role model: “Germany’s transition to renewable energy is not only an electricity transition. Heat also plays a big role. Modern construction techniques and innovative technologies - as we see here in Hügelshart - make an important contribution to the electricity and heat transitions.”
The local mayor, Roland Eichmann, said: “The Effizienzhaus Plus-Siedlung is a trailblazer for energy efficient construction. The concept finds a way to optimally implement good construction and energy efficiency in architecture. For us, it’s a reference project.”
Part of the energy collected by the photovoltaic systems on the buildings’ south-facing roofs is stored in lithium-ion batteries, while some is transformed into heat and stored in a thermal water storage system. An energy monitoring system controls all aspects of the system automatically and ensures the photovoltaic energy is used optimally.
Over the course of a year, the buildings predominantly generate the energy they need and feed excess power into the grid or charge an electric vehicle directly next to the house. The majority of excess energy is generated in the summer months. In winter, the photovoltaic systems won’t generate quite enough to meet the buildings’ needs and so some power will come from the grid. Nevertheless, over the course of a year, the buildings are around 70 percent self-sufficient.
At the heart of each of the buildings is a combination of an air-water heat pump, inverter technology, and a thermal water storage system. The heat pump, which is primarily powered with electricity from the photovoltaic system, heats water in the storage tank which is then used in the heating system. Hot water is also provided by the heat pump and stored in a 235 liter tank.
You can find further information and photos on the project homepage in the links below.
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- Die Effizienzhaus Plus-Siedlung: Project homepage (in German)