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New European Bauhaus
News article26 May 2021

A life-cycle perspective for more sustainable and affordable housing

We want to see sustainable housing solutions that are affordable and lead to more inclusive communities.


Are sustainable development & housing affordability two contradictory terms?

The social housing project "Quarter up two" in Theresienfeld, Austria, with a total of 28 apartments & simple technology, proves that affordable housing with climate-neutral, long-lasting flats can be a reality.

The non-profit housing company Arthur Krupp has worked on a new concept for social housing, which is interesting both in terms of energy efficiency & the flexibility they have introduced by taking a life-cycle approach to construction.

Their five-room apartments can be turned into 2 two-room apartments with little effort, thus adapting to one's life choices & evolving needs. Part of the apartment can be used as a separate residential unit within the same family or sublet to third parties. For example, the apartment can be used by a young couple that grows into a family, as well as for the period after the kids get their independence & leave the house.

They have made all system decisions for the housing units based on life-cycle calculations.

Key components of efficiency:

  • heating & cooling through component activation
  • massive building envelope in passive house quality
  • air-water heat pump
  • photovoltaics to cover around 1/4 of the annual electricity consumption
  • use of excess wind power in cooperation with WEB Windenergie AG

At +-60€ per month, energy costs are 50-70% below what an average household of the same size would have to pay.

Project research partner W. Amann, IIBW, explained that the Vorarlberg Energy Institute tested a total of around 20,000 variants of construction, building materials & thermal insulation, heating, building services & energy generation, not only in relation to today's construction costs but also to the life-cycle of the building.

The developer's managing director, C. Anderle, is convinced that the future of heating is cooling in the summer, which will become more and more critical. 

Climate-friendly mobility has also been considered: empty piping for e-charging stations is available in the parking spaces & public transport can be reached within 10' on foot.

? Quarter up two © Arthur Krupp GmbH


Publication date
26 May 2021