In Austria, The Big Green Supermarket Gets Greener

Sure, your high-end grocery helps to put organic food on your family’s table. But what’s keeping the lights on that big, bright store? In Graz, Austria, the Climate Protection Supermarket (which comes to us via Architizer) embodies the sustainable lifestyle by supplying all of its own power on site. This market is a “3rd generation climate protection store” with a gold certification from the ÖGNI (Austrian Green Building Council). It has been billed as Austria’s first energy self-sufficient supermarket.

The structure consists of a simple folded shell that arches over the triangular-shaped property. It opens onto the parking lot in all three dimensions (to the front, sideways and upwards), creating a broad, inviting point of entry. On the south side, where the store tapers, a glass façade offers a “front side” to the Floßlendplatz district, reinforcing the virtual effect of being drawn in and through the store; the market appears open, bright and friendly (a far cry from the average American grocery store).

Climate Protection Supermarket

image via Architizer

For the façade, the goal was to create a bright surface with materials concurrent with the principles of climate protection and naturalness, but also modernity and innovation. The façade consists of galvanized sheet steel and wood.  The roof here was conceived of as a kind of fifth façade, and features circular, hill-shaped green spaces.

The building’s power comes courtesy of the solar photovoltaic installation housed in its parking lot, which will soon be complemented by a hydropower turbine to be installed in the adjacent Mühlgang stream. The structure’s tight building envelope makes the most of the energy used to heat and cool the building, and LED lighting connected to daylight control sensors make miserly use of its power.

Sustainable, separable and reusable building materials (preferably solvent-free and non-toxic) were used throughout. Permeable pavers and planted areas across the development allow rainwater to make its way back into the soil on site.

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.