To become net-zero is an applaudable achievement, but an entire city in Germany has gone even farther by becoming net positive, generating 4x the amount of energy it needs. The self-sufficient Sonnenschiff solar city in Freiburg was able to begin producing such a substantial amount of energy by installing an incredible amount of photovoltaic panels to harness solar energy.
The Sonnenschiff (Solar Ship) and Solarsiedlung (Solar Village) were designed by Rolf Disch and started out as a vision for an eco-community. Disch wanted to create a space that balances size, accessibility, green space and solar exposure. Now, 52 homes make
up a neighborhood anchored to Sonnenschiff, which is a mixed-use residential and commercial building. As Inhabitat reports, advanced technologies such as phase-change materials and vacuum insulation have helped to boost the thermal performance of the building’s walls system.
Each home in the community is designed to Passivhaus standard and has great access to passive solar heating and daylight. Additionally, a simple shed roof with deep overhangs is installed on every home, allowing winter sun in while shading the building from the summer sun. Disch made sure to incorporate a series of large rooftop solar arrays on each house when planning the community, as he knew they’d be essential for generating more energy than the collective needs.
On top of the Sonnenschiff are penthouses, where residents have access to rooftop gardens and a plethora of solar resources. The rooftops also feature rainwater recycling systems that irrigate the gardens. Toilets are supplied with greywater.
Even during Germany’s cold winters, residents have all the resources they need. Every building makes use of wood chip boilers for heat and this further decreases citizen’s environmental footprint.
In the spring, one can mosey through the development and gaze up a colorful and dynamic facade. Gardens and paths link the inhabitants and offices and stores add to the practicality of the community.
Images Credit: Rolf Disch Solar Architektur
Photos are sourced from the architecture firm and are able to be used if attribution is given.
I am Luke Miller, content manager at Truth Theory and creator of Potential For Change. I like to blend psychology and spirituality to help you create more happiness in your life.Grab a copy of my free 33 Page Illustrated eBook- Psychology Meets Spirituality- Secrets To A Supercharged Life You Control Here