|External Dimensions||10.13 x 7.0 m|
|Living Space||1774 ft² (SIA)|
At 1200m altitude in the Swiss Canton of Valais, the Markert family joined forces with German environmental pioneers Baufritz to build a passive house which is fully independent of the electricity grid. Five years' experience have proved that the energy concept works perfectly: all energy used here is renewable. The owner Stefan Markert explains his sophisticated design: "I employed a variety of complementary systems to ensure we're supplied with energy all year round". This project won a Swiss Climate Prize award for its commitment to climate protection.
The façades contain solar thermal collectors to produce hot water and help heat the house. An array of solar PV panels with a rating of 3kWp has been installed in the garden facing south, and generates the electricity consumed in the 150m² detached property. The conditions are ideal: output is high due to the clear mountain air, little mist, over 300 days' sunshine a year, and the winter snow reflecting the sun's rays. "The energy available from solar here is as high as in Catalonia in Spain" says Stefan Markert. He has built another 1kWp PV plant into the façade underneath the balcony. A small wind turbine on the roof provides electricity when the solar panels are covered with snow in winter – which often happens given the location 15km from the Matterhorn, as the crow flies. A battery block in the basement supplies the week's requirement of electrical power. The battery is charged and discharged using a sophisticated control mechanism, like a miniature electricity plant. Energy consumption is kept to a minimum by controlling the ventilation and air extraction, combined with heat recovery.
This Swiss family is committed to turning round conventional climate policy, so they'd only consider a timber home built by a specialist environmental firm. The resulting home not only uses exclusively untreated native timber, but also sets a high bar for insulation, using 37cm of patented Baufritz Voll-Werte-Wand packed with wood shavings. "The high-tech green architecture protects the climate and sequesters over 26 tonnes of CO2 (this is the net storage after deducting emissions due to production) – a winning argument in its favour", concludes Stefan Markert.
The plot's topography meant we needed to build using a stacked method. A bridge is used to connect the freestanding home with the street. On the upper floor, or entrance level, we located the living and kitchen spaces, a utility room and children's bedroom. For 10 months of the year, the PV panels supply more than enough electricity. In continuous snowfall a wood burner is used for cooking, with built-in ceramic hob and oven. This radiates a pleasant heat which, combined with heated walls, covers the requirements for space heating and hot water which the collectors cannot supply. Triple glazed windows provide spectacular panoramic views. The ground floor accommodates three bedrooms, a bathroom and a study. The basement floor houses another office as well as a cellar space and plant room.
HEALTHY LIVING ALL ROUND
Our stringent health standards helped convince the owners to choose Baufritz for their new home. We do not use polyurethane foam or adhesive, as all windows and doors are precision-fitted during construction. The team of experienced building biologists and health experts at our production site in Erkheim ensure that all building materials we use are free from pollutants and therefore guarantee healthy, pure, natural indoor air. We make sure residents of our homes are protected against electrosmog by a built-in patented Baufritz protective layer.