2010 Passivhaus Winner Showcases Energy-Efficient Style

Recently, we covered the first house in Japan built to Passivhaus standards, which one ET reader noted as being long on economy but short on style and hospitality. Now, to show just how hospitable a super-efficient house can be, we present the winner of the 2010 Passivhaus Architecture Award, a three-apartment building on the outskirts of Bern, Switzerland, which comes to us by way of Inhabitat.

Designed by architect Peter Schurch, principle of the Halle 52 architecture firm, this building shows that passive house design can indeed incorporate glass —in this case over 50% of the facade–while still maintaining that strict 13kWr per sq meter of energy consumption a year. This, and the fact that the building actually cost less to construct than the other homes in the neighborhood (despite the fact that it boasts r-52 walls and a solar-electric green roof) makes it remarkable indeed. In addition to the Passivhaus award, the building also received the Minergie (minimal energy) certification, a Swiss low-energy standard more demanding than LEED.


image via Inhabitat

A pellet broiler supplies radiant in-floor heating for the apartments during the winter, and the green roof, ribbed with solar panels provides electricity. The three nearly identical apartments make use of an abundance of natural light, thanks to a bank of triple-paned windows adjacent to the walkout porches; wooden shades on the outside of the porch to reduce the summer heat. Hospitable, indeed.

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Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.

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