S - House

Innovative Use of Renewable Resources demonstrated by means of an Office and Exhibition Building

Short Description




Starting Point

Both in the construction of new buildings and the redevelopment and restoration of old buildings, the building sector is the economic branch with the highest mass flows. At the moment, the materials used are mostly fossil and mineral based. The role of renewable resources is secondary, with only wood being used in significant amounts. But the potential for the use of renewable resources in the building sector is much higher. In nearly all areas one can find technical solutions based on renewable resources.


The Project Goal was to plan, put into practice and demonstrate SUSTAINABLE BUILDING by using renewable resources.

In defining sustainability for the building sector, the following conclusion was made:

Not only the building concepts but also the components and materials that are used have to meet the present needs of the user without burdening future generations with waste disposal problems or prolonged use of an out-dated building design.
In this holistic concept the construction of the building, the building itself and the use it is put to serve the common goal of disseminating the potential of renewable resources throughout the building sector.

That means in particular:

The manifold applications of renewable resources within the building sector are demonstrated, based on the results of the study "Stimulating and inhibiting factors for the use of renewable resources within the building sector", in which building products which were already available as well as new developments are listed.

This innovative building concept amalgamates and makes use of the results of the R&D projects currently running within the scope of the programme "Haus der Zukunft". It also takes in the results of the latest physical building tests carried out within the study "Wall-System based on Renewable Resources - Verification of Technical and Building Physical Parameters of a Post and Beam Straw-Bale Construction and its Applicability for the Construction of Low-Energy-Houses", a project of the GrAT and the Austrian Straw Bale Network (ASBN).

Research and Innovation


The innovative character of the planned building lies in its realisation of a "Passive House" integrating ecological and health criteria as well as using untreated renewable resources and an adapted building services concept. The user-friendly design of the building is of great importance, and allows for an efficient use of resources and energy from the planning stage of the building right up to its disposal.

The following technical solutions used show a high innovative potential:

  • Significant reductions of mineral building materials through the use of renewable building materials.
  • The special roof construction isolates the two functions of shelter and of heat insulation, which brings additional functional and ecological advantages, like adaptable shadowing according to the different seasons and resource saving rainwater collection.
  • The solar cooling system uses the overflow of solar power during hot periods for increased user convenience

The use of the S-House can be regarded as having further innovative qualities in that the site and the building itself are an information platform for renewable resources and sustainable technologies. The Life Cycle Assessment of the materials used and the constructions produced shows the positive effects of straw bale construction compared to conventional building methods.

According to the criteria of sustainable development, the advantages of the innovative building concept lie in its use of regionally available resources. The compliance to ecological criteria and the co-operation between agriculture and economy contribute towards establishing regional improvement.

Research and Results

The constant use of the building allows a realistic scenario for the long term tests. The results are regularly updated and evaluated.

The long terms tests aim to:

  • Document the most important building parameters, to show the functionality of the components and test the long term behaviour of the building materials.
  • Check the laboratory tests.
  • Constantly monitor the actual measurements

The measuring apparatus and the continuous recording of the measurements enhance the experience of the visitor to the S-House and make clearer the functionality of the innovative wall-systems and building services.
All results of the whole process of planning, construction and use of the building will be available to the public.


GrAT runs the BOEZAT (Böheimkirchen Center for appropriate Technology) which is situated on an area leased from the Vienna University of Technology. The site, its size and its present use - as a place for scientific research projects for sustainable development - make it suitable for the building ground for the passive house. It can be reached easily by public transport. The implementation of the "Innovative Building Concept" makes the location an information turntable for regenerating raw materials and sustainable technologies. The building and use of the passive house according to the principles of sustainability will illustrate the regional development potential the concept brings.

Project Partners

Project manager: DI Robert Wimmer
Project team: DI Hannes Hohensinner
DI Luise Janisch
Architekten Scheicher


Dipl.-Ing. Robert Wimmer
GrAT - Center for Appropriate Technology
Vienna University of Technology
Wiedner Hauptstraße 8-10
A 1040 Wien
Tel.: +43 1 58801 - 49523
Fax: +43 1 786 42 05
E-mail: r.wimmer@grat.tuwien.ac.at