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Not innovating to zero, but to plus! (The new housebuilding standard: Energy-Plus-House)

Instead of innovating to Zero, there is a new concept for house building architecture which allows to produce more energy than to consume. The "Energy-Plus-House" standard combines thermal insulation standard (known from low energy houses) with renewables e.g. solar-panels, mini-windmills, heat pump and a battery storage. For this reason the "Energy-Plus-House" is also able to provide energy for mobility e.g. electric bikes or cars. A pilot project has been started by the German government at the of 2011 which will be the obligatory German house building standard by 2020.

The idea is to turn the "Energy-Plus-House" into a common global standard for all humans who live in the temperate and frigid climate zone.

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    Sep 21 2013: Thank you for your good news,that can change the world!
    • Sep 22 2013: cheers, lets see :). I am interested, if similar concepts already exist in Asia or the U.S.?
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        Sep 23 2013: In Shanghai , some experts have already advocated constructing more green and energy saving buildings and houses in the future. Solar energy has been used on the street lights and landscape lamps at night,too. Thank you.
  • Oct 9 2013: just to share a little bit more of what concrete solutions of the "Energy-Plus-House" (Plusenergiehaus) may look like; the link below provides a good summary about technologies (e.g. Aerogels for thermal-insulation, pv, mini bhkw....) and energy consumption per household and also some pricing.

    For everyone who can understand German (sorry but the presentation is too long for translation);
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    Oct 9 2013: Matt, Excellent work.
    And I believe it makes my point that being green must be affordable too. If not, it ain't green. There is an undeniable relationship between affordable and green. So I believe.

    What is your take?
    • Oct 9 2013: thanks. my idea is that we need a new TED-talk for this topic. The talk of Bill Gates is already almost 3 years old.
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    Sep 30 2013: Matt,
    So what was the cost per square foot for these buildings? Let's get down to the real nitty gritty.
    • Oct 3 2013: so here is what I found;
      semi-detached house (prefab.) built in 2012 near Frankfurt City, 3036 kwh per year energy abundance from PV, enough for one e-car for ca. 10,500 miles

      living space: 1615 sqft
      price for the house: $255 per SqFt
      (cellar extra: another $70,000)
      total incl. cellar&property 2500sqFt: $670,000

      (put a tesla S optional + $100,000)
      = $770,000 total for ur green energy freedom in Germany ;)

      price difference to other of similar size detached prefab houses: ca. $70,000

      anyway that will be the roadmap for 2020 in Germany I guess. Just wondering how an average German family will afford that??!?
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    Sep 24 2013: Matt,

    Since when is a house that cost 390 K considered green..? Get real dude.
    • Sep 30 2013: hi, I visited an exhibition of about 25 Energy-Plus-Houses in a city called Wuppertal this weekend. They call them-self to be the "state of the art in Europe" of this concept. It was really interesting to see it in real all with working PV Modules, 4 times isolation glazing, and a big air circulation system for constant temperature. That is the actual interesting issue for me. In summer the house needs to be cooled-down in all rooms, the opposite for winter. so far it worked well, but I'll check in winter with snow and ice again.
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    Sep 22 2013: Separating green from green washing....

    use whole cost accounting, let no externalization/unintended consequence go unaccounted,
    include every energy and environmental cost including living/maintenance costs and yes, if that is less than distributed generation benefits the goal may be achieved.

    However I have yet to see an analysis of pre, post and continuous data that is comprehensive enough to be so considered.

    And many man made products today out gas, fail in under 5 minutes in a house fire (TJI's) and are part and parcel to clear cutting industrial unsustainable forestry all contributing to the negative side of the 'green' ledger.

    Show me research that includes these and other considerations and I will sit corrected.
    • Sep 23 2013: to your first point, plz do not forget that the "Energy-Plus-House" is also about producing "decentralized energy". So you will become completely independent from your energy suppliers.

      Prices for such a house are starting around $390.000 which is in Germany more for the upper middle class. So like the Tesla Model S still expensive, lets say. I hope it will come down soon!! And to your question for total carbon u may know Germany just started with "Energiewende" 2 years ago. So right now, we are about 25% power generation from renewables. First coal/atom power plants have been already shut down.
  • Sep 21 2013: This makes a lot of sense, and not just to power electric cars.

    When we moved into my parents' house, in 1960, it had a total of just four fuses, at 20 amps each. Now, I am guessing that a new house requires at least 300 amps, with room to grow. Even with conservation measures and sustainable design, it is reasonable to assume that power consumption per family will continue to grow for many decades.

    I hope those new designs include protection against a giant solar electrical storm. That disaster is just a matter of time.