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European Solar Building Exhibitions

The "European Solar Building Exhibition" (EUSolEx) engaged 12 European cities in the construction of low demand, renewably powered houses. Participanting cities included Hamburg, Berlin, Gera/Jena/Oelsnitz (Germany), Rome, Scandicci, Asti (Italy) Northampton, Leicester (UK), Weiz (Austria) and Castilblanco de Los Arroyos (Spain).

All buildings entered in EUSolEx met criteria of having no or very low energy demand while sourcing up to 100% of their space and water heating energy from renewable sources. Different entries integrated these criteria by different means according to local conditions and town planning contexts.

EUSolEx began in May/June of 2005 with the presentation of 141 flats in Hamburg. 30% of them are passive houses while 70% meet or exceed a standard of KfW-40. Berlin's entry of 14 partially passive houses with renewable energy systems were presented concurrently with those in Hamburg.

In September and December of 2005 5 of 7 passive homes planned in Jena were put into use. Techniques and technologies employed in these homes include heat exchanger based heating, solar thermal, four photovoltaic units and a pilot project natural gas fuel cell system. A passive energy Kindergarten was concurrently presented in Oelsnitz and Jena is planning seven more passive single houses.
In November 2005 two solar thermal building modernisations (16 units) as well as a biomass power plant were presented in Asti while Weiz exhibited 9 passive houses and is planning construction of a further 11 such projects. Meanwhile, Rome exhibited a 31 unit project in conjunction with BASF AG in December of 2005. Additional exhibitions took place in Scandicci and Leicester/ Northampton in January of 2006 with UK projects putting a particular emphasis on the use of renewable energy systems.

A summary of results of the European Solar Building Exhibition has been reported to the EU Commission at the end of May 2006.

The success of EUSolEx projects in Germany and Austria further reveals the importance of passive houses in the current real estate. Apart from the actual state project funding, these projects received no additional grants and were subject to open market competition. Their success demonstrates the existing and growing demand for low energy housing in these real estate markets.

EUSolEx was supported by the European Commission through the ALTENER-programme and patronised in Germany by the Ministry of Traffic, Transport and Construction. The general coordinator and main applicant of the EU project "European Solar Building Exhibition" was ZEBAU GmbH in Hamburg. Organisation and presentation of separate exhibitions was carried out at a regional level by various groups, including: W.E.I.Z., Roma Energia, Florence energy Agency, Leicester Energy Agency, the Senate of the State (Berlin) and ID GmbH (Jena). EUSolEx also benefited from the cooperation of partners like Sharp, Vattenfall Europe, Sto AG, BASF, the Club of Rome, and NABU.