Inhabitants-friendly passive house renovation in Klosterneuburg / Kierling

Renovation of an apartment house from the 1970s as passive house using renewable energy.

Content Description




The habitation object in Klosterneuburg Kierling was constructed in the years from 1977 to 1979.

The most significant shortcomings today are:

  1. Obstacles for disabled persons: Due to its location on a slope many apartments are not accessible for disabled persons.
  2. There are enormous costs for heating, due to lack of insulation. The apartments have to be expensively heated with electricity, and some apartments are not heated sufficiently at all. There are also reports of the appearance of mould. Electrical heating is by far the most expensive means of heating, and it has reached its expiration of natural life.
  3. The antiquated and un satisfying architectural quality is increasingly causing deficits of image, and will make future marketing difficult.

Positive aspects are the fine location with a beautiful landscape view, and the solid building structure.

The refurbishment concept:

  1. Compliance with the most urgent needs of the inhabitants: reduction of cost of room heating and hot water, and obstacle-free access to entrances and apartments.
  2. Creation of 2.664 sqm excellent quality living space by renovation and additional rooftop apartments, with such features as the following:
  3. Passive house standards: It is aimed to achieve a heat demand of 15 kWh/m²
  4. Renewable energy: It is aimed to achieve an annual solar efficiency factor of the solar heating system of 57% (for hot water). Additionally passive solar utilisation.
  5. Reduction of the contribution to the greenhouse effect: The reduction is aimed from 36 kg CO2equ./m²WNF,a to 6 kg CO2equ./m²WNF,a

The actions to be implemented:

  • Upgraded insulation on all facades.
  • Replacement of all windows.
  • Improvement of air impermeability of the building’s surfaces.
  • Conversion of the balconies to glass verandas.
  • Insulation of the balcony slabs.
  • Mechanical ventilation with heat recovery and air heating ("passive house").
  • Solar heating system for providing hot water.
  • Additional heat provided by a central gas boiler.
  • Soil-air recuperator.
  • Biomass heating station.

Obstacle free access

is provided by the installation of elevators, conversion of the staircases, and where necessary by conversion of apartments.

Improvement of the architectonic appearance

The expressive elevator housings form a psychological barrier to the busy main road. The six rooftop apartments contribute to the main appearance, and are helping finance the building’s renovation.

Residence involvement

Comprehensive reorganisation measures require, in comparison to new construction plans, a disproportionately high degree of involvement on the part of residents. Firstly, various measures require the agreement of all or the majority of the residents against a background of legal framework conditions.

Secondly, in the interest of ‘social peace‘ within the residential association as well as between the residents and builder/building owner there must be optimal coordination of the reorganisation concept and information about the course of the project.

From the beginning of the project, therefore, the residents are informed by broadcasts, collections and individual interviews concerning the modernisation and the personal consequences of the measures (costs/possible rent increases, schedule – course of building work, stress during construction time, etc.).

In particular individual interviews with all parties in the building have helped clarify the reorganisation plan and adjust this to the specific needs of the residents in the context of possibilities.

Proof of the refurbishment quality

The results of the improvements will be documented by a TQB (Total Quality Building)-Certificate. The TQ-building evaluation and TQB-certification will be worked out with the project "ECO-Building: Optimisation of Buildings by Total Quality Building Assessment".

Passive house reorganisation as standard solution?

The experience of the planning and tender phase at Kierling shows that reorganisations in passive house quality are in principle possible. However, they represent a huge challenge both in terms of planning and with regard to the cost structure and financial viability. For example, the qualitative criteria applied to the current project could only be realised through cross-financing of income from secondary concentration to the reorganisation measures economically and without extraordinary rent increases.

In the future it can be expected that the planning and realisation know-how in the theme context will increase significantly and that in addition the cost structures on behalf of energetically more efficient reorganisation will improve (not last of all due to expected increases in energy prices). For subsidisers, credit institute and energy service providers it will, however, be decisive to continue to work on attractive financing models.

Passive house reorganisation in multi-storey residential structures will therefore continue to have a pilot character and only become part of everyday planning later on. The Kierling model, however, specifically shows that reorganisation with low energy standards in the area of 30 kWh/m² can already be standard at the present time.

The building phase in Kierling will begin with autumn of 2011 and will yield further valuable knowledge.

Project Partners

Project management

Florian Kühr
BUWOG Bauen und Wohnen Ges.m.b.H.

Project or cooperation partners

  • Prof. Arch. DI. Georg W. Reinberg
    Lindengasse 36/10, 1070 Wien,
    Tel.: +43 (1) 5248280
  • Prof. DI. Dr. Manfred Bruck,
    Prinz Eugen-Straße 66, 1040 Wien
  • Rowa Gebäudetechnische Planungs-GmbH., Ing. Walter Ganneshofer,
    Am Schönberg 15, 2500 Baden
    Tel.: +43 (2252) 206526
  • Österreichisches Ökologie-Institut, DI Georg Tappeiner
    Seidengasse 13, 1070 Wien
    Tel.: +43 (1) 5236105
  • AEE INTEC, Ing. Waldemar Wagner
    Feldgasse 19, 8200 Gleisdorf
    Tel.: +43 (3112) 5886-14

Contact address

BUWOG Bauen und Wohnen Ges.m.b.H.,
Florian Kühr
1130 Wien, Hietzinger Kai 131
Tel.: +43 (1) 87828-1115
Mobil: +43 (664) 60928 1115