Zero Carbon Village - energy autarcic settlement

Development and demonstration of a totally CO2 neutral and energy self sufficient residential area, produced in prefabricated straw bale constructions. The focus of the research is put on industrialized modular mass production of "Zero Carbon Houses", energy self sufficiency and the use of energy efficient and sustainable materials like straw.

Short Description




Starting point / motivation

The current situation in Austria presents a lot of positive trends towards an augmentation of energy efficiency and economical exposure to resources, especially in the building industry. The passive house technology is establishing increasingly, the focus of energy consumption in use going to the examination of "grey energy" in building material is getting more important and is more observed according to housing politics (e.g. housing aid). In this regard, there are lots of research findings and international accredited best practice solutions made in Austria.

To put into practice "real" energy self sufficient residential areas three aspects have to be considered:

  • More efficient and rational production
  • More efficient housing concepts with a minimum of demand of electric energy and heat
  • Logistic and quality management for straw bale building

Straw is the building material by far with the least grey energy (factor 100 compared to rock wool).

Contents and goals

"Zero Carbon" is the predominate aim of this project, which focuses on the development of solutions for the Austrian building industry. Building materials and energy supply systems are planned to be CO2 neutral and independent from fossil energy resources. The solutions are to be adapted to the Austrian building industry. Thus, three strands of development are followed:

  1. Efficient modular prefabrication
    • Technical part (industrialised prefabrication, architectural design)
    • Organisational part (virtual factory)
  2. Energy self-sufficiency
  3. Highly energy-efficient and sustainable building materials

In the field of modular prefabrication, industrialised mass production of ecological passive houses and modules and the development of a virtual factory should lead to an improved competitiveness, higher quality and higher flexibility. Further goals are a minimized use of energy and resources as well as reduced waste over the whole life cycle (e.g., through easy deconstruction for recycling). The concept of the "virtual factory" is as follows: Existing SME should produce the building parts in a decentralised way, while a central umbrella organisation takes care of logistics and marketing. Thereby efficiency and competitiveness can be increased.

Energy self-sufficiency of the buildings is based on the utilisation of thermal energy at medium temperature level (300°C) only, which is gained from solar concentrators in combination with a biomass back-up system. By this, the building system can be run entirely without fossil energy resources. Thermal energy is used for operating not only thermal, but also electrical household devices as well as air condition and cooling devices. To achieve this, the layout of the energy supply system will be done in this project. Based on that layout, components and prototypes will be developed and combined in a building equipment and energy module.

Methods of treatment

The development of highly energy-efficient and sustainable building materials based on renewable resources is an important step towards the reduction of the "Grey Energy". The standardisation of the building material straw and the preparation of the certification of prefabricated straw bale constructions are put into practice as a foundation for the use in carbon neutral buildings.

Expected results / conclusions

This project within the project category of "industrial research" provides the basis for the development of components and prototypes that shall in further consequence be implemented into a "Zero Carbon Village".

Project Partners

Project management

Dipl.-Ing. Dr. Robert Wimmer
GrAT - Gruppe Angepasste Technologie

Project or cooperation partner

  • Leube Baustoffe GmbH
  • Teamgmi Ingenieurbüro GmbH
  • ÖGUT
  • IG Passivhaus Österreich
  • Atelier Werner Schmidt
  • Zumtobel Licht GmbH
  • Bau Innovation Austria
  • EUROTECH HB Hausgeräte GmbH (Eudora)

Contact Address

GrAT - Gruppe Angepasste Technologie
Dipl.-Ing. Dr. Robert Wimmer
Technische Universität Wien
Wiedner Hauptstraße 8-10, A-1040 Wien
Tel.: +43 (0)1 58801 49523
Fax: +43 (0)1 58801 49533