Energy saved is money earned

Climate-conscious living at 3-litre house level. The climate protection housing estate in Mönchengladbach brings structural and technical requirements together to form a ground-breaking overall concept.

Climate protection housing estate in Mönchengladbach

Proof that energy-efficient construction can be combined with a high level of transparency, vibrant façade design and intelligent functionality can be seen in a housing estate near to the city centre of Mönchengladbach. It bears the title “Climate protection housing estate” due to its holistic energy concept, which also incorporates high-quality window units and doors from the Schüco Corona SI 82 system. The tenants have the permanent luxury of very low energy costs.

With coloured folding shutters in front of the window areas which alternate from storey to storey and grey façade panels framed with white plastered surfaces, the vibrant, high-quality façade design is without doubt the most remarkable external feature of the three to four-storey buildings in the climate protection housing estate. The buildings are clearly organised by means of green spaces, recreational areas and access pathways. A concept with underground car parks and individual access to the buildings permits low-traffic, child-friendly living which is not disrupted by moving or parked cars.

Holistic energy concept

“Innerstädtisches Wohnen am Wasserturm” (inner city living at the water tower) is a pioneering concept in housing development, which was instigated by the German not-for-profit housing association, GeWoGe 1897, together with the project developer and architect, BRINGSARCHITEKTEN GmbH & Co. KG, in Mönchengladbach. Following completion of all five construction phases, the housing estate will comprise 11 residential buildings with 81 cooperative rental apartments. The first construction phase, which has just been completed, includes five apartment blocks, which are already being occupied, offering residential units of between 37 m2 and 113 m2 across a total area of approximately 2600 m2.

A key conceptual aim of the project was to reduce the consumption values and energy emissions to a minimum by using innovative building management systems, high quality materials and a sustainable energy concept. A selection committee of the Ministry for Building in North-Rhine Westphalia awarded the project the title “Climate protection housing estate”. The core requirement for this award is a balanced CO2 limit value of less than 9 kg/m²a. With an outstanding value of 5.3 kg/m²a, the housing estate is significantly below this limit, which is the result of the logical networking of structural and technical requirements.

High thermal insulation standards and modern system technology

The combination of a compact solid construction method and a composite thermal insulation system (insulation thickness > 20 cm), as well as a suspended, rear-ventilated construction with façade panels (approx. 12 cm) ensures energy efficiency. Balconies with reveals that function both as screening and sun shading are positioned in front of the façade as separate concrete constructions, in order to avoid thermal bridging. The high insulation standards were also implemented below the basement floor slab, in the basement walls and in the extensive green roof areas. All of the residences are connected to a central heat supply via a wood pellet boiler. A sustainable heating system based on renewable raw materials was consciously chosen for this.

The hot water is supplied decentrally via fresh water stations in the residences. This ensures heat losses through the circulation pipes are prevented, whilst also removing the need for the energy supply to the circulation pumps. Decentralised ventilation and air extraction systems with heat recovery ensure a pleasant indoor climate all year round in every apartment and stop the rooms becoming too humid.

Energy-saving windows for the most demanding of requirements

In order to guarantee a high degree of light penetration into the apartments in the most energy-efficient way possible, the architect rounded off the holistic energy concept with large-scale Schüco window systems. Architect Stephan Brings explained the particular requirements as follows: “The building envelope has been designed throughout with building materials and components which have the highest level of energy efficiency. This naturally also applies to the window systems. They not only had to offer an outstanding U value and improved security features; for design reasons, we also wanted the most slimline profile face widths possible and attractive colour coating options for the profiles.”

PVC-U window units and window doors with triple insulating glazing from the Schüco Corona SI 82 system range were used. They have three drainage levels for maximum protection against wind, rain and noise. With a top Uw value of 0.91 W/(m² K), the combination of the 6-chamber profile system and the triple insulating glazing allows excellent thermal insulation properties to be achieved. At the same time, the increased profile basic depth of 82 mm improves burglar resistance. For the colour selection of the system profiles, advantage was taken of the option to design the inside and outside of the units in different colours. The window profiles, which are white for the inside area, were coated with a smooth anthracite grey foil on the outside. This created a degree of correspondence across all of the materials with the colour of the aluminium mullion/transom construction in the stairwell façades.

As the window doors of the Schüco Corona SI 82 system have the same construction type, profile face widths and profile basic depths as the windows, these form a unified appearance and also feature an easy-access combination threshold in accordance with DIN 18025.

Project details

Project title: Climate protection housing estate “Wohnen am Wasserturm” (living at the water tower), Mönchengladbach, Germany

Client: Not-for-profit housing association

GeWoGe 1897, Mönchengladbach

City of Mönchengladbach: Urban development and planning department,

Rheydt City Hall

Planning and site management: BRINGSARCHITEKTEN GmbH & Co. KG, Stephan Brings, Mönchengladbach

Specialist planning of the building management systems: Luces-Ingenieure GmbH,

Frank Luckau, Pulheim

Energy consultancy / thermal insulation: Die Energieexperten,

Detlef Breuer, Aachen

Structural planning: Offermann Ingenieurbau,

Andreas Offermann, Mönchengladbach

Window system fabricator: Kunststoff Brandenburg GmbH & Co.KG, Viersen

Completion: End of 2015 (first construction phase); end of 2019 (fifth and final construction phase)

Schüco products in the building

Windows and window doors: Schüco Corona SI 82

Special features: Triple insulating glass Ug = 0.6 W/(m² K) in accordance with EN 673 (passive house standard); colour combination 436-7003 (inside: white, outside: anthracite grey, smooth foil)


”Being able to introduce Brazil to the infinite opportunities of a solar industry is a privilege for J.v.G. Thoma GmbH, and one that we are extremely grateful for. At the same time, this placed the ball squarely in our court, and the pressure to get the ball rolling quickly was high. Now that the lengthy initial formalities are out of the way, we can focus on making this project a success.“

The first DESERT solar module production in BRAZIL! Lets go ....
J.v.G. Thoma GmbH is delivering a DESERT turnkey production line to Brazil, the first of its kind and hopefully the first in many breakthroughs to leave the factory floor on their way to the largest country in South America. With a capacity of 30 MW, this is a small semi-automatic DESERT production line, but still a flagship in terms of DESERT solar module production and electricity generation in the country, now fully functional and ready to start with operation.

The machinery consists of DESERT production machines for high-efficiency DESERT solar modules built specifically for extreme hot climate, such as can be seen in deserts or in tropical areas. Made solely in Germany and built using the latest in DESERT and TROPIC module production, the systems inlcudes all cutting-edge technology.

Certified DESERT solar modules, DESERT containers, DESERT power plants and DESERT manufacturing machinery built using pioneering DESERT and TROPICS technology are now fully set up, and ready to perform. But powering on the machinery has been a long time coming. Up until recently, this advanced piece of equipment had been waiting for clearance at a port in Brazil. Now that the formalities have been dealt with, both J.v.G. Thoma and its customer in Brazil can get production under way.

J.v.G. Thoma GmbH is a company whose vision has always been to harness the infinite power of the sun and convert it into an inexhaustible supply of energy. But a vision such as this requires global reach, and this project has opened new doors. Brazil is not only a gateway to South American cooperation, but also the launchpad to international reach and expansion.

Following the delivery of this initial order, J.v.G. Thoma GmbH will be looking forward to an ongoing collaboration with the Brazilian company. From setup and initial training to setting the scene for a ramp up, J.v.G. Thoma will be there to provide expertise and assistance. Moreover, the company will be jointly responsible, along with the client, for the successful integration of the DESERT solar module factory.

In the future, bigger DESERT power plants will be set up on Brazilian soil, and together with existing turnkey production systems, they intend to take up a large share of the products and assets this sector will possess locally. J.v.G. Thoma plans to build up a local network of sales agents that can extend a premium offering to neighbouring countries in South America. Eventually, the company hopes to be able to expand its customer base to clients in North America.

Hans Thoma, general manager from the Thoma-group, is eager to acquire a substantial market share in Brazil, a growing country with tremendous potential for solar energy output. Having complied with local official procedures (Inmetro, TÜV, Fraunhofer CSP) and cleared the way for future business collaboration, he expresses his hope that the solar industry will henceforth expand quickly.

”Being able to introduce Brazil to the infinite opportunities of a solar industry is a privilege for J.v.G. Thoma GmbH, and one that we are extremely grateful for. At the same time, this placed the ball squarely in our court, and the pressure to get the ball rolling quickly was high. Now that the lengthy initial formalities are out of the way, we can focus on making this project a success.“

The first DESERT solar module production in BRAZIL! Let
Source: Schüco International KG