The VELUX Group opens Austria's first carbon-neutral single-family house


A single-family house that has a healthy indoor climate, is flooded with daylight, generates more energy than it needs and neutralises its CO2 emissions.

Europeans spend 90% of their time indoors, so it is imperative that buildings provide the best possible indoor climate to live and work in. In addition, buildings account for 40% of Europe's total energy consumption. The aim of sustainable buildings of the future, therefore, is to reduce this energy consumption considerably and meet remaining energy requirements with renewable energy sources. In order to solve these issues successfully, factors such as region, culture and infrastructure need to be taken into account.

With the Model Home 2020 project, the VELUX Group is proving that it is possible – even with today's products – to link these three aspects, while also focusing on the needs of people. Model Home 2020 is a part of the VELUX Group strategy to take an active part in developing sustainable buildings for the future. It is the VELUX vision of how future buildings can be both climate-neutral, comfortable and attractive places to live in through daylight and fresh air.This approach is also consistent with VELUX support of the Active House concept - a vision of buildings that contribute to a healthy and comfortable life for their occupants without having a negative impact on the climate and environment. An active house is designed to work in harmony with nature, to use the energy of the sun and wind intelligently and to encourage a sustainable lifestyle.

The Austrian Sunlighthouse in Pressbaum west of Vienna is the third Model Home 2020 experiment.

Four times more daylight
The Austrian Sunlighthouse provides a daylight factor that is four times higher than the norm. The windows – both the roof windows and the vertical glazing – provide wonderful views, bring a high proportion of daylight into the home and maximise passive solar energy gains. The house is supplied with fresh air throughout the year: in colder periods, the ventilation with heat recovery guarantees a healthy indoor climate; in the spring, the house switches to automatic window ventilation. Sensors on the outside walls and inside the building control the quality of air and can open or close the windows automatically. Residents can, of course, override the automatic controls and open the windows manually. External automated sun screening prevents overheating in summer. Highly compressed panels allow the timber structure to store excessive heat. This results in the room temperature always being comfortable, even on hot summer days.

The minimal need for heating is met by a brine-water heat pump. Photovoltaic panels on the roof provide electricity. Heating domestic hot water is largely accomplished via thermal solar collectors. The result is that the VELUX Sunlighthouse produces more energy than it needs.

The house were designed by HEIN-TROY Architekten and implemented together with Danube University Krems and the Austrian Institute for Healthy and Ecological Building (IBO) as scientific partners. WindowMaster, VELFAC and Drexel & Weiss supplied products for the house.

What happens next?
In the coming months, the house will be opened for the public and experts, where after it will be sold. VELUX will continue to monitor the Model Home 2020 experiment with the new residents in order to learn how the building performs in real life conditions.

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