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Darmstadt – The German city of Darmstadt and the Climate Action Working Group have awarded the Climate Prize for Sustainable Building for the first time. One of the winners is the PassivhausSozialPlus apartment building, which stands out for its accessibility as well as its low energy consumption.

The city of Darmstadt in Germany has awarded the first-ever Climate Prize for Sustainable Building together with the Climate Action Working Group, which is part of the Darmstadt Local Agenda 21 Initiative. The prize was presented in two categories, with both prize winners serving as a visible sign that “energy-efficient renovation and construction have a high priority in Darmstadt and that climate action and social issues can go hand-in-hand”, said the head of Darmstadt’s environment department, Barbara Akdeniz.

The winner in the New Building category is PassivhausSozialPlus, an apartment building that was planned and realized by the Faktor10 planning office. The building features 42 accessible and wheelchair-friendly apartments. Built in accordance with Passive House requirements, the building’s energy requirements are correspondingly low, thanks in part to an energy and drinking water monitoring system, as well as a photovoltaic system with energy storage.  

The winner in the Renovation category is a three-family apartment building that was fully renovated in an energy-efficient manner in several stages. The facade, top floor ceiling and basement ceiling were fitted with thermal insulation. A geothermal probe heat pump provides the building’s heating requirements, while a photovoltaic system and certified green electricity provider cover its energy requirements. The renovation costs have been passed on to the tenants in a socially responsible manner and are compensated by the lower energy requirements.

“Both award-winning projects show that energy-efficient construction and renovation are possible in different ways, be it more conservative or more innovative,” said Akdeniz. “I am particularly pleased that the projects also demonstrate that climate action in residential buildings and the social aspects of the resulting rental costs can be reconciled.”