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Energy Efficiency

Swiss Professor Building Affordable Carbon Neutral Apartments


Professor Hansjürg Leibundgut, a professor at the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, Switzerland, has just been given permission to begin construction of a model apartment block that will make use of new CO2-free technologies. According to Leibundgut, the apartments contain heating, cooling, and solar energy systems that have never before been seen in private homes.

The entire apartment building will run on solar and wind energy. It will also recover heat from waste water and specially made windows that let through lots of of light while still retaining heat.

During the summer, a circulating water system will cool the house by absorbing heat and passing it underground. In the winter, the underground energy will heat the water circuit and a network of pipes in the walls. An inner brick wall provides enough insulation to ensure that the apartment complex doesn’t need a CO2-emitting heat system.

Each apartment unit will cost an extra SFr40,000 ($34,300) in addition to regular building costs— nothing to sniff at but certainly not an exorbitant amount.

Leibundgut expects to begin construction of the apartments in April 2009 with an estimated completion date of June 2010. Residents will pay an extra SFr300 for Leibundgut’s CO2-free technologies.

If you’re interested in getting in on the action, Leibundgut is hand-picking the apartment building’s other residents.

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Written By

was formerly the editor of CleanTechnica and is a senior editor at Co.Exist. She has contributed to SF Weekly, Popular Science, Inhabitat, Greenbiz, NBC Bay Area, GOOD Magazine, and more. A graduate of Vassar College, she has previously worked in publishing, organic farming, documentary film, and newspaper journalism. Her interests include permaculture, hiking, skiing, music, relocalization, and cob (the building material). She currently resides in San Francisco, CA.


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