Competence- and knowledge centre of renewable energies and passive house technology

Arrangement of a passive house village for test living in the context of an innovative settlement expansion. Building up a large dimensioned passive house for consulting, training, exhibitions, research and distribution of passive house technology and know-how in the field of energy efficient and sustainable building.

Content Description





Inspired by the Club of Rome, which referred in its report to the finiteness of resources, the initiators of this project already concern themselves since 1980 with the problems of energy saving and sustainability. By Already 1982, a revolutionary hogged wood heating system had been built into the Volksschule Großschönau. Based on the principles of the sustainability and careful handling of the environment, in 1992 the association "environment initiatives NÖ" was founded in Großschönau. This association developed ideas for decentralized solutions of waste water purification in the rural area. From this, the "Wasserwerkstatt" and the cooperation at the Lower Austria manual "waste water purification in the rural area" were developed. In 1986, the same initiators created the first Austrian environmental fair, the BIOEM. In 2004 the BIOEM is organized for the 19th time and 35.000 visitors annually make it the largest fair of Lower Austria in the north of the Danube. Each year a central topic of interest gives the fair a special appearance. 2004 stand under the central topic of interest "healthy and harmonious building and living".

During the occupation with energy saving and the use of renewable energies it is obvious to consider energy-saving measures with the building of houses. The advancement of this thought led to the lowenergy building. From this the passive house was developed as a standard. And in very near future it will lead to the energy plus house. This type of house produces more energy than it uses itself. Großschönau is anxious to take up and spread the idea of energy-efficient and sustainable building. From the example study provided on behalf of the FVV in 2001, based on the BIOEM and a number of other environmental relevant activities (Wasserwerkstatt,...), the project ideas of a passive house network and an authority centre for resource saving and sustainable building and reconstruction arises.

Already in May 2002 the creation of an authority centre with technical and tourism adjustment was presented under the working title "energy park Großschönau" at the strategy workshop "the passive house in the practice", accomplished by the working group renewable energy. The formulation of goals for this project covered the rapid and efficient spreading of resource saving building and reconstruction, real demonstration, integrated planning, virtual demonstration, trade-spreading trainings and the support of co-operations of firms. These considerations were the bases for the available overall project. By the organisation of specialized symposiums, specialized congresses, seminars, courses and the sustainable local development, Großschönau has already made itself a competent name within the field of environmental protection and energy-efficient and sustainable building and reconstruction. The forming of an opinion in favour of the passive house is an extremely laborious and time consuming process, since the conception of a house without conventional heating system is not so simply accepted. Ignorance over the concrete costs, saving potentials and possibilities in the realisation of a passive house still holds many potential prospective customers of being concerned more intensively with this topic. The establishment of a sample house village would be an essential step. Test-living in the passive houses for some days give interested people the possibility, to experience the passive house with all senses. In the Waldviertel traditionally a density of small and medium-sized enterprises of the building and building beside trade, the prefabricated building industry, the building services, house technique, energy and building design services exceed far the regional market. This density forces the observance of high quality standards and to take up product and procedure innovations. Thus the Waldviertel seems to be suited to establish as a passive house authority centre. This would be a know-how projection in relation to other regions. The new housing construction promotion of Lower Austria forces a transformation of the promotion possibilities. This will generate strong positive impulses for the passive house market in Lower Austria. The FVV Großschönau sees the sum of these facts as sufficient location advantage and development potential, in order to be able to operate a native and finally economically successful advancement for the place and the region.


The project "Sonnenplatz - centre for energy efficient and sustainable building" tries to concentrate the idea of the passive house in ecological quality in steering important levels. Further this project tries to embody the competence centre for energetic and ecological subjects in a dynamic process in the region. The general project composes a passive house settlement (one- and multi-family houses) combined with test living and the building of a large volume passive house as energy competence centre (trainings, exhibitions, technology and research establishment, data bases and simulation programs, etc.) together. The structural developments and buildings necessary for this can not be integrated into an existing structure, but are part of the local village development process. An innovative settlement development concept forms the bases. This supplies an ecological orientation and the basis of a passive house village with additional multi-functional mechanisms (live, work, tourism, training, etc.). In the next approx. 20 years passive houses in different types (wood, composite and massive construction), size and uses will be established in Großschönau. After the establishment the respective houses will be available for test living for some years and then turn into property continuously. At the same time new houses will be build again and again for test living in the neighbourhood. Therefore houses with the latest technical standards will be always available for test living. On the other hand, an alive increasing district will be created with houses in different implementation phases. At the same time a large dimensioned passive house with about 3000m² effective area will be established as energy competence centre. It contains consulting, trainings, exhibitions and firm presentations in connection with the test living and research. It serves for the spreading of technology and know-how in the field of energy efficient and sustainable building. From the beginning test living is evaluated and the results are compared continuously with other projects. The data are used to set up a customer-oriented data base and serve as a basis for simulation programs. They are necessary as an application tool for energy efficient and ecological building and reorganization. The obtained research results flow into the data base and help to build up competence.


It is the goal to create primarily a "living" district and not a settlement, which serves for the ostentation of test houses. Further an open network structure is created for the integration of all potential sellers of relevant planning-, consulting- and building services that can keep the quality standard of the passive house technology. As a result of measures for further education in the passive house technology within the network an improvement of the market appearance of potential sellers and an increase of the competitive power of the small business in the building industry in the Waldviertel arise and thus again a preservation and creation of jobs. We want to make a contribution for the rapid spreading of the sustainable and resource saving (i.e. reducing building material, energy, space and traffic) building and reorganization. The goal is to open perspectives to enterprises toward innovative building concepts and/or provide competitive edge. In order to achieve high market diffusion, closely parallel to it a life is made experiencable approximately around the passive house to private people. Uncertainties in relation to the topic are substantially reduced on the spot by the implementing entrepreneur operational readiness level of different specialist areas.

With the project we want to encourage the emergence of similar regional networks of small and medium sized enterprises in other regions and publish the concept in the range of town development and urban redevelopment as study, which covers action guidance and consideration instruments. By the stabilization of the regional resource accompanying with it Großschönau becomes an attractive location. This attractiveness is increased by the possibility that private people are able to acquire the test houses after the test living period. The quality of life in Großschönau is improved even further by planned projects as ecological pond and the energy adventure camp. In such a high-quality habitat the jobs in the energy authority centre will be very attractive. By test living, building site tourism, measures for further education, test living, energy adventure camp, knowledge transfer and founder centre it will come to a sustainable stimulation of the region.

Method of the treatment

We want to reach the spreading of the ideas of energy efficient and sustainable building on private, political and economical level with the following measures:

  • Conversion of an innovative and ecologically oriented settlement development concept for the rural area
  • Establishment of a test house village in passive house quality with test living function
  • Establishment of a multi-functional large volume passive house as energy technology centre
  • Specialization of the BIOEM to a trade fair for energy-efficient and sustainable building
  • Education and training offered for the building industry
  • Consultation and information service
  • Research and development
  • Energy adventure camp
  • Foundation centre for enterprises within the range of energy-efficient and sustainable building

The "Sonnenplatz Großschönau" is to become a turntable of information and initiator for a constant improvement of the passive house standard.

Provisional results and conclusions

  1. Change of consciousness within the range of energy efficient and sustainable building
  2. Arousing from interests of domestic and foreign municipal and environmental politicians
  3. Development of a data base
  4. Building the first private house in passive house quality in the municipality of Großschönau
  5. Co-operation with the AMS in Lower Austria in the establishment of a qualification group
  6. Training programs
  7. Conclusion of the settlement development concept
  8. Basic study for the energy competence centre
  9. Safety device of the building reasons and introduction of the conversion procedures
  10. Establishment of the association "Sonnenplatz Großschönau"
  11. Establishment of the "Sonnenplatz Großschönau GmbH"
  12. Economy study about test living
  13. Project presentation for passive house manufacturers and component-manufacturers
  14. Appointment of the activities for the year 2004
  • Passive house excursion
  • BIOEM participation
  • Specialized congress
  • Project presentation for the population of Großschönau

Project Partners

Project manager: DI Harald Wurzer
  • Mag. Arch. Dr. Helmut Poppe
    Poppe*Prehal Architekten
  • EBÖK
    Ingenieurbüro für Energieberatung, Haustechnik und ökologische Konzepte


Josef Bruckner
Kreuzberg 97
3922 Großschönau
Tel: 02815/7007, Fax: DW 40