Cooperative Living Volkersdorf (KooWo - Volkersdorf) - sufficiency, space and energy efficiency in the quarter

The jointly planned demonstration project "KooWo" in Volkersdorf aims at reaching sufficiency as well as energy and CO2 reductions in a holistic way. System boundaries are shifted in order not to look only at energy consumption in buildings, relating to unit of floor space, but to consider all use of resources and relating it to persons and social communities.

Short Description




Motivation and research question

Using the example of the collectively planned housing project "KooWo" in Eggersdorf with 27 residential units, sufficiency was to be implemented and the overarching goal of holistic CO2 reduction was to be achieved. The aim was to shift the individual system boundary of the building to a collective living space. The shared use of the infrastructure, the heat network, the electricity generation, the workshops, the vehicle fleet, the cultivation areas, etc. generates personal and social added value.

Initial situation/status quo

Large parts of the resource savings achieved in the Austrian building stock (reduced operating energy, use of resource-saving building materials) were compensated due to the constantly increasing growth in living space per capita, increased mobility behaviour and rising consumption of goods.

The majority of research projects to date have focused on concepts and strategies for urban agglomerations. There is no doubt that urban agglomerations have the highest potential for implementing sustainability goals. However, studies on population development also show that there will be a significant influx of people in many rural regions in the future, where there have been few suitable alternatives to the detached single-family house up to now. And here, too, sustainable solutions will be necessary.

Project contents and objectives

The goal of KooWo was not the development of a cost-intensive autonomous zero- or plus-energy building that can do everything, but a combination of different buildings (existing and new) and uses that offer a lively living and working environment. What counts is the lowest possible overall balance of primary energy and CO2 emissions at settlement or neighbourhood level. KooWo is intended to serve as a showcase model beyond the research project and encourage imitation.

The project was supported by the Salzburg Institute for Spatial Planning and Housing (SIR), which carried out the klimaaktiv settlement assessment. The klimaaktiv standard for settlements and neighborhoods is an Austrian system for planning, assessing and quality-assuring sustainability aspects in consideration of the internationally agreed 2°C climate target.

Methodical procedure

The development of the housing estate took place in numerous workshops with the future residents. Stakeholder analyses, interviews and workshops with stakeholders and experts were used to define targets for energy and CO2 savings. Energy simulation and life cycle analyses for the construction and operation of the neighbourhood form the basis for the implementation of the demo project.
Scientific, quality-assurance support during the construction phase and monitoring of the ongoing operation serve to optimize and verify the targets. A specially developed energy management system ensures that the energy from the PV system is used as much as possible for direct consumption, for charging the battery storage or for heating water with the electric heating elements.

Results and conclusions

In the first step, the goal was to develop a jointly supported vision for the KooWo settlement. For this purpose, a suitable participation design was developed for the planning and construction process of the neighbourhood. The involvement of all participants, such as developers, future tenants, neighbours, community representatives, planners and other stakeholders was to ensure a sustainable embedding in the spatial and social environment of the settlement.

The architecture was then developed in a total of seven workshops. The following topics were discussed: Site analysis and spatial program, development of building typologies, definition of common spaces, development of flat typologies, allocation of flats, building biology, development stages and costs. The operational monitoring carried out shows that the defined characteristic values for energy consumption and comfort are very well maintained. Optimizations during operation, especially with the help of the energy management system to optimize PV use, brought significant improvements.


With the KooWo project, a demonstration project with a model character for rural areas was created, which shows in practical implementation that high resource and energy savings are not only possible in an urban context.

The innovative business model and the comprehensive involvement of the users are also exemplary and should find imitation in the future.

Project Partners

Project management

Die WoGen – Wohnprojekte-Genossenschaft e. Gen.

Project partners

  • Schwarz Platzer ZT GmbH
  • AEE – Institute for Sustainable Technologies

Contact Address

Die WoGen – Wohnprojekte-Genossenschaft e. Gen.
Eveline Hendekli
Krakauer Straße 19/18
A-1020 Vienna
Tel.: +43 (664) 415 65 63