In Germany, the ‘Heidelberg Village’ sets the pace for eco-districts. Ecological, passive and, above all, non-polluting! Wipe your feet, and we’ll show you around.
Smart ventilation systems, green roofs that are accessible to inhabitants, vertical gardens to protect the apartments from the heat, kitchen gardens arranged in the alleys: the Heidelberg Village that was built last year is presented as ‘the largest passive complex in the world’.
The eco-district’s 350 m² of roofs are covered with solar tiles, reducing the electricity consumption to 15kWh in comparison to 100 to 300 kWh for a traditional building. Although they are less exposed, the walls are also used. The 750 m² of façades on the two buildings are made of glass bricks fitted with photovoltaic cells, to recycle the light that passes through them. Any remaining roofs and façades have been planted.
With heightened awareness of the effects of volatile organic compounds (VOC) – formaldehydes and others – on our health, many finishing products that aim to reduce their dispersion in the air have appeared. In Heidelberg Village, a special paint made of titanium dioxide covers the outdoor walls of both buildings. Through a chemical procedure, this ‘pollution trap’ captures VOCs by adsorption. The icing on the cake: it also transforms nitrogen oxide into oxygen.
Concerned about a better way of living together, architects have also made buildings ‘obstacle-free’, in other words, fully accessible to the elderly, disabled or people with reduced mobility. Inaugurated in 2018, half of Heidelberg Village’s 200 inhabitants, have been entitled to specific housing benefit. We look forward to seeing this example imitated everywhere.