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Solar Settlement

Solar Settlement

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The Solar Settlement is a 59 PlusEnergy
PlusEnergy
PlusEnergy is a coined concept developed by Rolf Disch that indicates a structure’s extreme energy efficiency so that it holds a positive energy balance, actually producing more energy than it uses. With the completion of his private residence, the Heliotrope, in 1994, Disch had created the first...

 home housing community in Freiburg
Freiburg
Freiburg im Breisgau is a city in Baden-Württemberg, Germany. In the extreme south-west of the country, it straddles the Dreisam river, at the foot of the Schlossberg. Historically, the city has acted as the hub of the Breisgau region on the western edge of the Black Forest in the Upper Rhine Plain...

, Germany. Solar architect Rolf Disch
Rolf Disch
Rolf Disch is a German architect, solar energy pioneer and environmental activist who has contributed greatly to the advancement and efficiency of solar architecture internationally...

 wanted to apply his PlusEnergy
PlusEnergy
PlusEnergy is a coined concept developed by Rolf Disch that indicates a structure’s extreme energy efficiency so that it holds a positive energy balance, actually producing more energy than it uses. With the completion of his private residence, the Heliotrope, in 1994, Disch had created the first...

 concept, created originally with his Heliotrope
Heliotrope
Heliotrope may refer to:Natural science* Heliotropium, a genus of flowering plants* A plant that exhibits heliotropism, diurnal motion in response to the sun's movement* Heliotrope Media and entertainment...

 home, to mass residential production. This residential complex won such awards as House of the Year (2002), Residential PV solar integration award (2002), Germany’s most beautiful housing community (2006). It is the first housing community in the world in which all the homes produce a positive energy balance and which is emissions-free and neutral. Built between 2000 and 2005 in the Vauban
Vauban, Freiburg
Vauban is a new neighborhood of 5,000 inhabitants and 600 jobs 4 km to the south of the town center in Freiburg, Germany. It was built as "a sustainable model district" on the site of a former French military base, and is named after Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban, the 17th century French...

 quarter of Freiburg
Freiburg
Freiburg im Breisgau is a city in Baden-Württemberg, Germany. In the extreme south-west of the country, it straddles the Dreisam river, at the foot of the Schlossberg. Historically, the city has acted as the hub of the Breisgau region on the western edge of the Black Forest in the Upper Rhine Plain...

 the design of each home offers maximum energy efficiency and turns energy bills into energy income. The Solar Settlement has proved Disch’s vision of a “fundamental environmental imperative” as these homes have exhibited more than 8 years of full occupancy and each produced more than 4,000 Euros ($5,600) each year in solar energy profits.
Disch believes the image his community exhibits is equally as important as the eco-savings it brings. Disch says 50 homes that eliminate energy bills and feed clean sustainable renewable energy into the city’s grid is the imperative we need. They contribute towards the goal of sustainable ecological and economic development and show the entire world that communities like this are economical, beautiful, comfortable and in fact preferable. The tenants at the Solar Settlement do not claim to have made any compromises in their living situations but rather that they have both environmentally and economically improved. Made from Black Forest
Black Forest
The Black Forest is a wooded mountain range in Baden-Württemberg, southwestern Germany. It is bordered by the Rhine valley to the west and south. The highest peak is the Feldberg with an elevation of 1,493 metres ....

 timber, the wood interior and natural lighting provide for happily lit spaces and a natural flow from room to room.

PlusEnergy


PlusEnergy
PlusEnergy
PlusEnergy is a coined concept developed by Rolf Disch that indicates a structure’s extreme energy efficiency so that it holds a positive energy balance, actually producing more energy than it uses. With the completion of his private residence, the Heliotrope, in 1994, Disch had created the first...

 is a coined concept developed by Rolf Disch that indicates a structure’s extreme energy efficiency so that it holds a positive energy balance, actually producing more energy than it uses. With the completion of his private residence, the Heliotrope
Heliotrope
Heliotrope may refer to:Natural science* Heliotropium, a genus of flowering plants* A plant that exhibits heliotropism, diurnal motion in response to the sun's movement* Heliotrope Media and entertainment...

, in 1994, Disch had created the first PlusEnergy house in the world. The sheer logic of a home that creates more energy than it consumes made perfect sense to Disch. His next goal in its development was thus the mass application of the concept to residential, commercial and retail space. As the concept further developed and gained financial backing as well, Disch built several more projects with PlusEnergy certifications. PlusEnergy is a simple concept that has been materialized in a technical design. “PlusEnergy is a fundamental environmental imperative,” Disch claims. Disch believes that passive building isn’t enough because passive homes still emit into the atmosphere – we can solar activate our homes!

Community Planning


Community planning goes hand in hand with sustainable development and thus Rolf Disch dedicates much of his design and planning to the symbiosis of his projects' surroundings. A solar community generates identification and an enormous public image. Disch says he attracts great tenants, innovative undertakings and creative work places through his design.
Disch always aims to create a community with combined uses for an ecological urban planning concept like traffic management – with wide, attractive walkways, bike routes and connections to public transportation. At the Solar Settlement for example, tenants and owners incorporate bike- and carsharing and the neighborhood has an extensive car-free zone with many public transportation connections. Disch also has incorporated community solutions for energy. For example, a biomass cogeneration unit is extremely expedient, which meets the (reduced) additional heating demands for his PlusEnergy homes.

Awards


2008 German Sustainability Award
2007-08 Japanese PEN-Magazine Creativity Award
2006 Germany's most beautiful housing community
2005 Wuppertal Energy and Environment Prize
2003 Global Energy Award
2002 European Solar Prize
2001 Photovoltaic Architecture Prize Baden-Württemberg

External links