S I P settlement models in passive house quality

Research, development and realization of integral building concepts in passive house quality!

Short Description




The technology of passive houses developed rapidly within the last few years and especially the technical field is well-engineered. Anyway, after careful consideration deficits are recognized: high production costs and the use of ecologically precarious materials. In addition to this it needs to be mentioned that concepts for the use of passive house technology for high density low-rise buildings and multi-storey housing are missing, also the design of the environment of housing estates (for example row houses) are underestimated.

Against this background the project SIP was developed with the aspects of economy, energy efficiency, ecology, preservation of resources and urban planning in a 4 branch innovation model.

S I P - 4 branch innovation model

Building concepts

Using "passive house" technology as a standard, timber construction modules and building types were developed. These respond to the increasing demands of ecology, energy efficiency, cost-efficiency and user friendliness. Such timber constructions were manufactured for high density low-rise building and multi-storey housing and were predominantly serially prefabricated. The target was cost-neutral production in comparison to conventional buildings. At the same time, housing comfort and cosiness were enhanced. Energy concepts for the different building types were generated, particularly suitable for application in settlement groupings. These were checked by means of dynamic building simulation.


At present, buildings using passive house technology make use of many ecologically precarious materials. At the development of SIP following measures were taken: the use of renewable domestic raw materials or recycled materials, the avoidance of greenhouse relevant materials and poisons in dwelling areas, a view of the building's life cycle from raw material extraction to the disposal of the construction components, and a comparative evaluation of the most diverse material alternatives with regard to their ecological potential and a cost-use analysis.

Settlement models

Ecological demands were combined with building concepts to create manuals for innovative settlement models. Attention was paid to the careful handling of soil and landscape resources, which is the basis of ecological building concepts. It is important that both the requirements of quality single family houses, with their large proportion of private free spaces, and the advantages of larger communities, with their social qualities, public spaces and common rooms, were taken into account.

Settlement development

Settlement development was another main work topic. A catalogue of criteria for the structural reorientation of suburban and rural spaces provides this new generation of settlement models with a high measure of acceptance, and thus also a large market potential. This required taking many factors into consideration, including landscaping potential, infrastructural conditions, different local actors and other location specific conditions. Sustainability was evaluated in the context of existing settlement structures. Conclusions were summarized and presented as targets for sustainable settlement development.

S I P is characterized by its precedent setting capacity and the opportunities it provides to open up new and extensive markets. In conjunction with the project partner GenböckHaus (a manufacturer of prefabricated housing units) a sample settlement in Grieskirchen /OÖ (Upper Austria) will initially be constructed, followed by further settlements. SIP's adaptable, receptive structure will allow the concept to be optimised and extended with the completion of each project.

Project output

The results of our work show, that the project SIP is feasible with all its demands of ecology, energy efficiency and urban planning respectively settlement development. Above all the entirety of all elements and the integration of single development groups result in a product that fulfils not only the mentioned demands, but offers also a cost-effective potential.

The developed building types and constructions are conceived for the process of a manufacturer of prefabricated houses and fulfil besides ecology and energy efficiency, the free market economy conditions (price, size, space allocation plan, garden,...), which were harmonized and verified with the developer (Raiffeisenbank Grieskirchen) of the prototype settlement. The cost-neutral production is until now not feasible with the defined demands of SIP.

On the one hand additional costs emerge because of ecological building materials and on the other hand the uncertainty during calculation of this new concepts have surely played a great roll.

The Realisation of the prototype settlement in Grieskirchen Parz is progress. The negotiations for the purchase of land are complete and a marketing strategy has been established.

GenböckHaus, Raiffeisenbank Grieskirchen und Poppe*Prehal architects created the trademark "Lebens-Platz" (living-place) in cooperation with an advertising agency which is in the meantime the active advertising strategy of the project SIP. In spring 2003 the first section of the building will be started. On the main square in Grieskirchen the prototype of the row house and the conception of the settlement has already been presented to the public.


Passive house settlements can be flexibly designed and build in various sizes with the end product SIP. In doing so it is possible to implement a high degree of ecology, energy efficiency and housing comfort, as well as premium areas of settlement. In order that this concept can reach a wide base, the field of the production costs will have to be aligned in future. Practical experience and decreasing prices for passive house components will help thereby.

In spite of the rather high building costs two prototype settlements are planned with 32 accommodation units for which 150 definite interested parties are reported. This demand shows, that the concept has an enormously high market potential, therefore it will achieve a considerable contribution for the distribution of passive house technology.

Project Partners

Project management: Mag.arch. Helmut Poppe / Mag.arch. Andreas Prehal
Project partner:

GenboeckHaus, Haag/Hausruck

Co-operation partner:

Prof. DI Wolfgang Winter
Institute for assembly theory and timber building construction, Vienna University of Technology

Prof. Dr. Klaus Kahlert
EBÖK - Engineer's office for energy counselling, building services and ecological concepts, Tuebingen (Germany)

DI Mag. Harald Rohracher and Mag. Dr. Michael Ornetzeder
ZSI - Center for social innovation, Vienna

DI Daniel Zimmermann
3:0 Büro für Landschaftsarchitektur, Vienna


Helmut Poppe
Coulinstraße 13/1
A 4020 Linz
Tel.: +43 732 781293
Fax: +43 732 781293-4
E-Mail: office.linz@poppeprehal.at
Andreas Prehal
Bahnhofstraße 12
A 4400 Steyr
Tel.: +43 7252 70157
Fax: +43 7252 70157-4
E-Mail: office.steyr@poppeprehal.at