Housing Development in Batschuns, Austria

These six low-energy dwellings comprise four two-storey houses stepped down along the road and a pair of three-storey houses turned at a slight angle towards the south. The development adopts the scale of the rural buildings in the area and makes reference to the weathered wood shingles of the local farmhouses in the form of its untreated larch façades. The structure consists of brick cross-walls and concrete floors. The absence of load-bearing internal walls and columns facilitates a free layout of the dwellings. It was possible to do without a conventional form of heating by virtue of the compact form of the development, its orientation towards the sun with almost fully glazed south faces, the restriction of the area of openings in the north face, the zoning of the layout, insulation of the highest standard and an air-tight form of construction. The minimal heating needs are met by a controlled ventilation system. The fresh-air intake is prewarmed to room temperature by means of heat-exchange units, solar gains and heat recovery. When the sky is overcast or when temperatures are extremely low, a mini-heat-pump is activated. Ventilation coils in the concrete floors supply the internal spaces with fresh air. On the ground floor, air inlets are situated in the glazed façade. Air extraction occurs in the kitchens and WCs. On the upper floor, ventilation is on a room-by-room basis. Water is heated by collectors integrated in the façade and on the flat roof. Each dwelling has a 750-litre solar boiler.
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