Innovative Architecture paired with sustainable, energy efficient multi family construction a perfect fit for North America

Example: Affordable Multifamily Housing in Bregenz, Vorarlberg – Project “Residential Park Sandgrubenweg” by Rhomberg Bau

The single & two family sector have come a long way in many parts of North America: We see more progressive and stringent Green Building Energy Policies being implemented with several green standards moving further mainstream including Passive House, Leed for Homes and Built Green. This has certainly resulted in some better constructed, durable homes with lower carbon footprint which are more confortable to live in plus consume less energy – but there is obviously still a long way to go. 

What seems to lag behind quite a bit are other building sectors including multi  family design & construction: Boring steel concrete construction with pop-in aluminum window panels planned with little or no consideration of Passive Design principles seem to be the norm. 

How to do it better AND have an affordable, highly sought after product? One Example:

Energy Efficient Multi Family Living Austria - Credit Rhomberg Bay

Energy Efficient Multi Family Living Austria – Credit Rhomberg Bay

The “Residential Park Sandgrubenweg” project in Bregenz, Austria, started off with a clear defined goal to take a holistic approach in planning a community looking not only at sustainability and ecological aspects but also at the social-psychological and demographic environment of the surroundings. Important for the project team was the ability to adapt to the changing environment, the human interaction and the individual’s needs & health including the human lifecycle: A home that can be suitable for everyone regardless of age or occupation for generations to come.

Energy Efficient Multi Family Living Austria - Credit Rhomberg Bay

Energy Efficient Multi Family Living Austria – Credit Rhomberg Bay

 The residential park consists of four buildings achieving Low Energy or Passive House Energy standard constructed in two phases between 2005 and 2010. Designed by an architectural consortium including DI Gerhard Hörburger, DI Helmut Huess, DI Wolfgang Ritsch and DI Norbert Schweitzer, a conscious decision was made to include the future owner in the design process of his/her living space – they call in “deliberate planning”: at a very early stage of the process the “to-be owner” of the property had an enfolding picture of the place with maximum cost transparency.

Energy Efficient Multi Family Living Austria - Credit Rhomberg Bay

Energy Efficient Multi Family Living Austria – Credit Rhomberg Bay

The design concept aimed at adaptability to future needs such as being able to combine units or make interior changes. Since the interior walls are not structurally load bearing, this can be done fairly easily. Also the exterior walls are built non-supporting as prefabricated insulated wood panels with the main structure being steel concrete – everything thermal bridge free and ultra airtight of course.

Energy Efficient Multi Family Living Austria - Credit Rhomberg Bay

Energy Efficient Multi Family Living Austria – Credit Rhomberg Bay

 Energy Efficient Multi Family Living Austria - Credit Rhomberg Bay

Walkability and mobility is another essential part of this “inklusive Wohnen” concept reducing individual traffic and encouraging car-sharing, walking or biking by offering features such as bike service stations at the entrance area, a car-sharing program and mobility consulting offered by the developer, only to mentioned a few initiatives.

Energy Efficient Multi Family Living Austria - Credit Rhomberg Bay

Energy Efficient Multi Family Living Austria – Credit Rhomberg Bay

In terms of energy efficiency, two buildings were able to meet low energy standards (or Öko 3 subsidy classification) and two achieved Passive House Building standard (or Öko 5 subsidy classification). For heating and cooling, a controlled semi-central ventilation-system with central components on the roof and peripheral building combined with compact ventilation appliances in the apartments were installed providing fresh, filtered air 24/7 at set temperatures.

Ventilation System - Heating & Cooling. Credit Rhomberg Bau

Ventilation System – Heating & Cooling. Credit Rhomberg Bau

Energy Efficient Multi Family Living Austria - Credit Rhomberg Bay

Energy Efficient Multi Family Living Austria – Credit Rhomberg Bay

Energy Efficient Multi Family Living Austria - Credit Rhomberg Bay

There is much more to tell about this project – please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions. We would like to hear from you!

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