The world’s first energy self-sufficient apartment block has celebrated its topping-out ceremony. Located not far from Zurich in Switzerland, the building does not require an external energy supply such as electricity, oil or natural gas.
The energy self-sufficient apartment will be powered entirely by solar energy, reports the Umwelt Arena (in English: Environment Arena), which is carrying out the pilot project together with a number of other prominent Swiss and international companies.
At last week’s topping-out ceremony, which was attended by over 150 guests, lead architect René Schmid said that the project is committed to the following principles: collect, store, save and care. Energy will be collected and then stored, which makes energy efficient consumption extremely important. For this reason, the building has to be more than just a power plant – it has to be intelligent, too, and help residents improve their own energy efficiency, while also remaining comfortable and pleasant to live in.
The apartment block is the first of its kind in the world that does not require an external electricity, oil or natural gas supply all year round. Instead, energy collected in the summer by the solar panels will be stored for use in the winter, thanks to a power-to-gas plant that converts solar energy into hydrogen. A fuel cell will then generate electricity as required.
According to the Umwelt Arena, a number of potential tenants have expressed interest in living in the apartment block. A jury will choose the tenants based on criteria such as energy awareness, environmental concern or openness to experiment.
The building is expected to be completed in April or May 2016, and the first tenants will be able to move in by June 2016.