Monday, October 6, 2008

Eco-buildings in Südtirol

The building sector is at present responsible for more than 40% of EU energy consumption. Südtirol, like other regions in the Alps, has the goal to improve the energy performance in buildings, reducing the conventional energy demand. To achieve this goal, in 2002 Südtirol introduced the KlimaHaus/CasaClima certification system, developed to provide an instant estimate of a building’s energy consumption. There are three classes of KlimaHaus: KlimaHaus Gold, KlimaHaus A and KlimaHaus B.
KlimaHaus Gold exhibits the lowest energy consumption of the three classes, with a heating energy consumption less than 10kWh/m²a, requiring practically no active heating system. KlimaHaus Gold buildings are über-efficient buildings called Passive houses. The first Passive house in Südtirol dates from 1998.

Buildings with a heat consumption of less than 30kWh/m²a receive KlimaHaus A qualification, and buildings with a heating energy consumption of less than 50kWh/m²a KlimaHaus B qualification.
The highest KlimaHaus certification is KlimaHausplus. Awarded to residential buildings distinguished not only by energy-saving construction, but also by ecological construction methods and use of renewable energy for heat production. To qualify for KlimaHausplus certification, a building must fulfil the following criteria:
  • Heating energy consumption under 50 kWh/m²a
  • Heating fuelled by renewable energy sources
  • Use of environmentally-friendly, non-health-damaging building materials
  • Inclusion of at least one of the following measures: A photovoltaic system, solar panels for water heating and/or integrated with heating system, rainwater usage, green roof.

943 buildings have been certified as KlimaHaus in the Autonomous Province of Bozen/Bolzano, 12 of which have been certified as KlimaHaus Gold and 14 KlimaHaus Gold Plus. Of the 30 passive houses in Südtirol, 6 are in Pustertal/Val Pusteria, 5 in Burggrafenamt/Burgraviato, 4 in Überetsch-Unterland/Oltradige-Bassa Atesina, 2 in Bozen/Bolzano, 1 in Salten-Schlern/Salto-Sciliar, 4 in Eisack/Valle Isarco and 4 in Vinschgau Valley/Val Venosta.
KlimaHaus certification is performed exclusively by the KlimaHaus Agency. The cost of certification is paid directly to the agency by the applicant (usually the building owner), its price regulated by a fee schedule. The agency then pays the certifier for services rendered. All buildings certified with KlimaHaus categories Gold, A or B may display the corresponding KlimaHaus placard directly at the entrance, testifying to its low energy class.