In Austria, about 10 percent of greenhouse gas emissions originate from buildings. The share of total energy consumption was one third. About 40,000 new apartments are built every year. Approximately 1.5 million buildings were built between 1900 and 1980.
In order to promote energy-efficient buildings in Austria, the klimaaktiv programme “Bauen & Sanieren” (building and refurbishment) is engaged in influencing all areas of market activity, so that energy-efficient building and utilising renewable sources of energy help to cut back on greenhouse gases. The central component of this strategy is the “klimaaktiv building standard”. The programme is represented by specialist partners throughout Austria under the management of the Austrian Society for Environment and Technology (ÖGUT).
The major goals of the programme are therefore
- Increasing the market share of ecological buildings in the residential and service building sector
- Establishing the klimaaktiv building standard as the orientation benchmark for ecological building throughout whole Austria
- Further development of the funding policies and legal framework conditions in the building sector
- Innovation: implementation of marketable results of research
The focus is on quality: good planning, high-quality building materials and energy-efficient building methods not only significantly reduce the energy requirements of a building, they also enhance the quality of life and work for those who are living and working in them.
The klimaaktiv building standard
The klimaaktiv building standard is Austria’s own specific buildings sustainability rating system. It defines the most rigorous energy efficiency requirements in Europe, which at the same time have a beneficial effect on costs: even today, the ‘basic’ rating at national level requires mandatory thermal performance and energy use, which the building code demands from 2021 onwards, both for the construction of new-build and the refurbishment of existing residential and non-residential buildings (“nearly zero-energy buildings”). In comparison with other building rating systems, the klimaaktiv building standard focuses on tackling climate change. The set of criteria is transparent and freely accessible, and building quality is traceable and transparent.
It is not only energy efficiency which is assessed and evaluated in klimaaktiv buildings, but also the quality of assurance and location, the quality of construction materials and design as well as the core aspects of comfort and indoor air quality. There are klimaaktiv building standards for residential and non-residential buildings, for new buildings and also for renovations. Moreover, three categories of building awards, bronze, silver and gold, are reachable for complying with a 1,000 point system which is used to assess the buildings and certify their compliance.
Since September 2020, there is a new edition of the klimaaktiv criteria catalogs for all building categories, new construction and refurbishment. The new criteria calatlog is now fundamentally excluding the use of fossil fuels in klimaaktiv buildings and tightens the quality requirements in the area of energy efficiency.
Know-how! Consultation & Tools
Another major focus point in addition to the declaration of compliance of buildings is the consulting of planners, property developers and house owners. The key players in planning and execution are supported nation-wide by klimaaktiv experts with tailor-made consulting packages. Criteria catalogs, checklists and guidelines are all available online. More than 223 service and over 780 residential buildings have been built and renovated according to the klimaaktiv building standard. More than 5,000 consultations have been carried out since the programme was launched in the year 2005.
A major factor for the success of the programme is motivating partners who will then implement the klimaaktiv standard. About 100 partners from the building sector cooperate with klimaaktiv and more and more residential property developers and manufacturers of prefabricated houses are citing klimaaktiv houses in their portfolios. klimaaktiv’s cooperation with the building certification system of the Austrian Sustainable Building Council (OGNB) ensures that the klimaaktiv standard will become the central sign of quality in Austria.
klimaaktiv examples of best practice demonstrate that it works!
Single-family homes, residential buildings and office buildings have all already been built in klimaaktiv quality. These are flagship projects in the sector of sustainable building. You will find the collection of examples of perfectly built and renovated buildings at www.klimaaktiv-gebaut.at.
Every two years the Austrian Federal Ministry for Climate Action, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology awards the State Prize for Architecture and Sustainability to projects distinguished equally by their architectural value and by their quality with respect to ecology, energy use, social and economic sustainability.