A home as power plant

Net plus energy building – A potential solution for the energy transformation

Net plus energy building – A potential solution for the energy transformation

Near Stuttgart stands a house that generates more energy than the people who live in it consume. The clever interaction of innovative technology and new materials makes that possible. One of them is Fermacell greenline.

No more anger about rising electricity prices, no flinching in shock anymore when the media announce the next round of energy cost increases – a home that supplies its residents with energy may sound like an impossible dream. But none of that: the first houses of this kind already exist. In Leonberg near Stuttgart, for example, stands a net plus energy building offering many potential answers to urgent issues of the future.

Combination of numerous components

This two-storey, single-family house with around 260 square metres of living space was designed by the architect Johannes Berschneider in close cooperation with the principal Dr M. Norbert Fisch, who as a professor at the Institute for Building and Solar technology at the Technical University of Braunschweig and energy designer put all his professional knowhow into the planning. Because even in combination with intelligent architecture and a well-insulated building shell, a powerful photo-voltaic installation on the roof alone is not enough to achieve the ambitious goal: annual energy production that is greater than the total need for room heating, hot water, lighting, ventilation, information & communication technology and household appliances. “A building that ultimately functions as a mini power plant – all that has been realised here, and that is one of the solutions for the future” says Fisch summing up.

The key is in the precise combination between building technology and building materials. Whether heat pump, geothermal heat exchanger, ventilation system or battery storage – numerous components have made their contribution to the project’s success. Intelligent power load management helps to make sure that the highest possible share of the solar-generated power is not simply fed into the public grid, but is used in the house itself at the moment of generation, is stored in batteries or used to “fill up” the electric cars. Surplus energy is in fact first used to charge the vehicles belonging to the house, namely an electric car and an electric scooter, which makes the total concept even more trendsetting through the extension towards  e-mobility.

Higher living comfort with Fermacell

In line with the goal of using the building to demonstrate what can already be achieved today, the house is equipped in every respect based on the latest state of research. In the area of building services engineering, Professor Fisch designed solutions with products from the market leader, Rehau; for the entire dry lining he relied on Fermacell. “He got in touch with us and signalled interest in our gypsum fibre boards,” says Alexander Kerschbaum, regional manager in the Sales Office South. “Given that the high demands on the house also relate to healthy living, he decided on boards in the greenline series.” Fermacell’s technical consultant, Dirk Lindner, took on the support for construction in terms of building physics issues. For a year now, the house has been occupied by the daughter of the principal. Use of it is being monitored scientifically so that the experience can flow into further research. According to initial calculations, the annual electricity need is around 10,000 kWh, compared with power generated of 14,000 to 14,500 kWh p.a. A success which, according to Norbert Fisch, was not bought by sacrificing comfort: “It cannot be all about creating buildings in which the users’ lives are driven only by the technology. In this house, the technology helps the users improve the level of comfort at home.”