Efficiency House Plus with Electromobility


The “Efficiency House Plus with Electromobility” in Berlin is a modern, compact residential house that produces more energy than it and the electric vehicles belonging to the building require. This is possible in part thanks to the building's fully glazed facade with its outstanding thermal insulation constructed using RAICO's THERM+ aluminum curtain wall system. This minimizes energy requirements while simultaneously giving the building its very special appearance.

An innovative new building was recently unveiled in the Fasanenstraße in Berlin's Charlottenburg district: the “Efficiency House Plus with Electromobility”. The project is the result of a design competition launched by the German Federal Ministry for Transport, Building and Urban Development and was planned and constructed by Professor Werner Sobek in collaboration with the Stuttgart Institute for Lightweight Structures and Conceptual Design (ILEK) and WSGreenTechnologies GmbH. The aim of the competition was to create a residential house that sets new living and construction standards for the future in terms of both architectural and energy use. The result is the “Efficiency House Plus with Electromobility” which generates approximately 16,000 kilowatt hours during the course of a year and supplies this to the occupants for the operation of the building and all its electrical equipment, including the charging of electrical cars and bicycles. Excess energy is stored locally and can be fed back into the public electricity network if desired. “The ‘Efficiency House Plus with Electromobility’ shows that it is already possible to make use of a fully renewable power supply for everyday use,” explains Werner Sobek. “The building combines energy-efficient living with electromobility and, as a viable, adaptable architectural concept, it makes an innovative contribution to the way we will live and build in the future.”

A power-generating curtain wall

The “Efficiency House Plus with Electromobility” is a compact, two-storey house that is glazed on all sides with a living area of 136 square meters and a large covered area facing the street to accommodate the electric vehicles. The ground floor comprises an open living and dining area which looks onto the green space at the back while the first floor contains further living areas and the bedrooms. Alongside its contemporary architecture, the “Efficiency House” is versatile in utilization and can be adapted to the changing requirements of the occupants without the need for any major structural work. The house was constructed from wooden panels in the form of prefabricated core-insulated elements; the energy is produced by means of an air/water heat pump as well as by a photovoltaic system on the roof. Electricity is also generated by the southern side of the house which is fully glazed like the other facades. While amorphous thin-film modules are used here, the glass on the western and eastern side is equipped with an invisible metallic coating. In the same way as the curtain wall on the northern side, which is clad with printed colored glass and possesses outstanding thermal insulation, this minimizes heat loss. All the glass curtain walls are equipped with triple insulating glass in which the spaces between the glass panes are filled with the noble gas argon. This gas provides better insulation than air and therefore improves the thermal insulation of the “Efficiency House” even further.

Optimum insulating properties, perfect visual appearance

The entire facade of the house, which amounts to approximately 170 square meters, was erected using RAICO's THERM+ aluminum curtain wall system. Planning and construction were performed by the Berlin-based company Hans Timm Fensterbau GmbH & Co. KG. “Working in cooperation with RAICO, we had to ensure that the exacting energy and design requirements placed on this structure were satisfied during a very tightly scheduled planning phase. This was only possible by collaborating intensively with RAICO as a system partner,” explains Managing Director Detlef Timm. “To do this, it was necessary to develop energy-optimized glass carrier constructions for heavy glass weights while simultaneously achieving a targeted UCW value for the overall construction of approximately 0.7 W/(m²K) through the use of triple glazing with a Ug value of 0.5 W/(m²K).” Another reason for choosing the RAICO system used here lay in the fact that the efficient production methods it permits mean that a considerable amount of prefabrication can be performed in the workshop and the products can be assembled easily and reliably on-site – considerations that are also of economic significance because optimally dimensioned mullions and transoms with the same system depth can be used. The structure's perfect visual appearance is due to the innovative T-shaped connectors used for the THERM+ mullion-and-transom curtain wall which guarantee a uniform, intricate appearance across the entire depth of the facade even when flush transoms are used. Thanks to the choice of insulating blocks and seals, all the components benefit from highly efficient, integrated thermal insulation and sealing properties. RAICO's THERM+ aluminum curtain wall system was therefore a reliable, economic construction solution that was optimally suited for the current project. In this way, the structure was completed after a construction period of only four months and was officially opened in December 2011. It demonstrates that thanks to the use of innovative techniques and materials, it is already possible to construct outstanding buildings which, like the “Efficiency House Plus with Electromobility”, are showing us what the future might look like.

All pictures have been provided by Schwarz and BMVBS.


Technical data

Efficiency House Plus with Electromobility,
Country: DE Builder: Bundesrepublik Deutschland, vertreten durch das Bundesministerium für Verkehr-, Bau- und Stadtentwicklung Architect: Werner Sobek, Stuttgart Planner of cladding: Hans Timm Fensterbau GmbH & Co. KG, Berlin Build date: 2011 Area of curtain wall: 170 m² RAICO systems: THERM+ A-I Building activity: New construction Category: House building Features: - Compact, two-storey square construction with all-round glazing - Wood panel construction using prefabricated, core-insulated elements