Efficiency House Plus, Berlin – Showing the way for future homes

Efficiency-house-plus-model-front-view

Is it possible for a house to generate more electricity than what the family living in it requires using only renewable energy sources? Is it possible for a house to be built of (mostly) recyclable materials? Is it possible to redesign a house without major structural changes?

Welcome to the Efficiency House Plus, Berlin (Germany). This is not just a project on paper. They have already constructed the house and a family is living in it.

Efficiency-house-plus-model-rear-view
Salient features of the Efficiency House Plus, Berlin

  • It uses solar panels (14.1 kW mono-crystalline modules on the top and 8 kW thin-film modules on the facade) to generate all the electricity required for people living in it. No electricity bills for 25 years as the solar panels produce all the electricity.
  • It uses a large 40 kW Lithium-Ion battery to store electricity generated by the solar panels to power the house during nights, etc. The batteries in the electric cars also store electricity. The batteries can export excess electricity to the electrical grid or import electricity during shortages.
  • The electricity generated through solar panels is not only used for central heating and running all house-hold appliances but also for running two electric cars and one electric bicycle (for an estimated distance of 29,000 KM per year). No petrol/diesel expenses for 25 years!
  • All the materials used in the construction of the house are (mostly) recyclable.
  • It uses inductive/conductive contact-less quick charging system for charging electric vehicles. A power charge of 30 minutes is enough to travel 100 KM!
  • It uses an air/water heat pump (5.8 kW) that is used to make hot water using the energy from ambient air outside. It can work even in low temperatures like 18 Deg, which is normal in Germany.
  • The walls and roofs are made of wood (mostly) and are insulated using cellulose fibers (among other materials) to enable the building to retain maximum heat. In Europe, central heating systems are used to heat homes due to extreme cold weather outside.
  • The amount of energy produced and consumed can be monitored and controlled using two touch screens and two smart phones, on a real-time basis.
  • The house has been designed with an open plan and can be redesigned any time without requiring major structural changes. One can remove the walls of a room to create a bigger hall, for example.
  • Energy efficient LED lights with automatic dimmer (that work using motion sensors) are used for lighting.

How would you like to build and live in a house like that? ๐Ÿ™‚

Destination Infinity

I took the photos during the recent Indo-German expo in Chennai. Photo credit: Destination8Infinty. All photos are published under this creative commons license.

Source/Further info: Efficiency house plus with Electromobility – Technical information & details (pdf). Published by: Federal Ministry of Transport, Building & Urban development, Berlin [www.bmvbs.de]

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14 Replies to “Efficiency House Plus, Berlin – Showing the way for future homes”

    1. Thin film solar panels maybe relatively inexpensive but have a lower efficiency. With the cost of crystalline cells going down, it is becoming very difficult for the thin-film market to thrive.

      But thin-film modules are better for hot countries like India, Brazil, etc. Since solar power has not picked up in the residential sector in these countries, it is still under warps. As you say, thin-films have a lot of potential. Especially in our country.

      Destination Infinity

  1. Learnt something about this house. The cost could be prohibitive right now for us.If many takers are found, the cost may come down isn’t it? I wonder why this is not popular yet.

    They are living since 25 years? Incredible.

    Thanks for sharing .

    1. The pdf document linked to, in the end gives much more information and photographs. They are living only for a few months, but the energy generation through Solar PV technologies will continue for 25 years.

      Destination Infinity

  2. These possibilities are widely available in the UK too. A close work colleague of mine has only just completed part re-construction of his house in which he has introduced and installed technology and equipment which generate upto 65% of energy by natural and renewable energy (+/- 20% depending on which part of the year).

    Now, he could have potentially gone the extra mile and gone 100% renewable but there is one massive obstacle which is the cost of this technology.

    I guess, as the technology (which at this stage is new, not that mature and very expensive) develops, it will evolve into more efficient and be produced at affordable price – I guess then it will become more and more common.

    But I love the idea of this though.

    1. The high-cost of the technology is the one that is preventing solar panels from becoming house-hold appliances in developing countries, in spite of having high irradiation levels and being located near the equator. As you say, efficiency vs cost is critical. Only if the Chinese could make cheaper solar panels quickly ๐Ÿ™‚

      Destination Infinity

  3. This project sounds very interesting and one term investment for 25 years of comfort! Wish this idea caught many peopleโ€™s attention and such efficient homes are built more. Thanks for bringing into our notice.

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