Isabel Barros Architects - Blog

design + energy + excellence

Tag: Austria (page 1 of 2)

From Wood to Energy

The Monastery of Klosterneuburg in Austria provides a fantastic example of autonomy, sustainability and a responsibility to both people and nature.

Their biomass heating plant was part of the Renewable Energy Research Trip to Austria.

This underground biomass heating plant built in just twelve months in 2003 not only supplies heating to the monastery but also provides power from renewable biomass to the hospital, the town hall and a leisure center in Klosterneuburg via the utility company.

The plant gets the wooden chips mainly from 4 forest districts nearby the plant (maximum transport distance 10km). The chip containers are filled every 2-3 months.

A 2.5 MW biomass boiler was constructed as well as an electricity and heat generation by an ORC (organic rankine cycle) process producing 200 kW of electrical energy and 1.0 MW of heat. The big boiler (2.5MW) is only used during winter time.

The assessment of the heating requirements of the monastery and of the neighbouring recreational centre “Happyland” resulted in an annual heat requirement of 11,550 MWh per year. In 2010 the biomass plant was able to produce 17,557MWh (see more facts on the images below).

More details about the operation of this biomass plant here.

The entire facility (heating plant, biomass storehouse, wine cellar, parking garage for buses and private vehicles) was built underground. This was a special challenge for the mechanical engineering team and the architectural concept was designed by Heinz Tesar.

 Stift Klosterneuburg_Biomass PlantStift Klosterneuburg_Biomass Plant

Stift Klosterneuburg_Biomass Plant

Access to the underground biomass plant

Stift Klosterneuburg_Biomass Plant

The wood chips were quite warm to the touch

Stift Klosterneuburg_Biomass Plant

Stift Klosterneuburg_Biomass Plant

Hatch from where the chips are unloaded

2011_11_23_Smart City Project Klosterneuburg (25) 2011_11_23_Smart City Project Klosterneuburg (30) 2011_11_23_Smart City Project Klosterneuburg (36) 2011_11_23_Smart City Project Klosterneuburg (37)

Stift Klosterneuburg_Biomass Plant

Organic Carbon cycle

Stift Klosterneuburg_Biomass Plant

From the forest to the heating plant

Stift Klosterneuburg_Biomass Plant

Biomass power generation process

Visit to First Green Building Supermarket in Europe

The Billa Supermarket in Klosterneuburg, Austria is the first supermarket in Europe to be awarded EU Green Building Certificate.

This visit was part of the Renewable Energy Research Trip to Austria that took place in November 2011.

GreenBuilding is a voluntary programme which was initiated by the European Commission in 2005. The programme intends to raise awareness and trigger additional investments in energy efficiency and renewable energies among owners of non-residential buildings and to give advice and public recognition to those, who are ready to implement ambitious measures in their buildings, resulting in substantial energy savings. These savings not only contribute to the European fight against climate change, but make also good business sense as it will reduce energy costs.

billa klosterneuburg supermarket austria

Energy Concept

1. Use of low energy refrigeration

• Generous evaporator surfaces

• Specially designed air duct

• Use of energy-saving air circulation fans – consumption per fan: 7-9 W

• Electronic regulation of the panel heaters

billa klosterneuburg supermarket austria


2. Refrigeration systems, condensers and heating systems

• Complete heat recovery from refrigerators is used to heat the supermarket

• Additional heat energy during the cold season can be extracted by the partial use of the refrigeration system as a heat pump

• Special electronic control of the refrigeration systems, reacting to the surrounding temperatures

• Use of special electronic system for cooling and heating system

3. Use of energy saving plant

• Short payback periods (4.5 years)

• Reduction of operational and connection costs

• Constant control of the cooling temperatures

• Extended service life of the compressor by minimizing the frequency of switching

• No building work for heating systems required

billa klosterneuburg supermarket austria billa klosterneuburg supermarket austria


Fact sheet

Sales area: 600 m²

Storage and ancillary area: 200 m²

Year of construction: 2007

Wall construction: Reinforced concrete 20 cm + Rock wool 16 cm + OSB 2.6 cm

U-value External walls: 0,23 W/m²K

U-value Windows: Glass 1,1 W/m²K, Incl. profile: 1.8 W / m² K, Total construction: u = 1.31 W / m² K

Roof construction: 1.8 mm SARNAFIL roof membrane, EPS 20 cm, PAE film LD 920 trapezoidal sheet

U-value Roof: 0,18 W/m²K



Who can participate in GreenBuilding?

• Owners of non-residential buildings; they can become GreenBuilding Partner.

• Businesses from the building sector, contributing to energy efficiency in the non-residential building sector with their products or services; they can become GreenBuilding Endorser.


How to become GreenBuilding Partner

For becoming GreenBuilding Partner, you need to implement energy efficiency measures in your building(s):

• Refurbishment of existing non-residential building(s): primary energy consumption reduced by at least 25% (if economically viable), total or related to the end-use or subsystem, which is being modernised.

• New non-residential building(s): primary energy consumption 25% below building standard (if economically viable) or below the consumption of “conventional” buildings presently constructed.

• Building(s) already renovated or refurbished (after 01.01.2000): primary energy consumption reduced by at least 25% or the building(s) consume 25% less energy than required by the national building standard in force at that time.


There are three steps in becoming a GreenBuilding Partner:

1. Performing an Energy Audit

2. Development and submission of an Action-Plan based on the audit, describing the measures to be performed

3. Reporting about the success of the Action-Plan implementation


Visit the The European GreenBuilding Programme Website for more information.


Isabel Barros


Heat Pumps and the Visit to Neura Factory in Austria

NEURA manufactures the most innovative heat pump systems and related intelligent control software. For over 30 years NEURA has been one of the leading manufacturers and suppliers on the heat pump market.

This visit was part of the Renewable Energy Research Trip to Austria that took place in November 2011.



What is a heat pump?

Basically speaking a heat pump moves the heat from the air, ground or water to inside the house, to use it for space heating and cooling, as well as water heating.

Neura Air Heat Pump

Air Source Heat Pump


Neura Ground Source Heat Pump

Ground Source Heat Pump


There are different types of heat pumps depending on their source. The most popular are the air source and the ground source heat pumps (also called geothermal). There are also water source heat pumps.


Neura manufactures the 3 types of heat pumps. They also have a model that heats only the water and you can keep the existing heating system (ie. oil boiler) to provide space heating. This is particularly interesting if you are retrofitting an existing house.


Neura warm water heat pump

Warm water heat pump


Peter Huemer showed us the production line. He said their ground source heat pumps are 20% more efficient than other brands because they use the direct evaporation principle. The coolant circulates directly in the surface collectors and absorbs the energy (direct evaporation). By doing so additional components such as heat exchanger and brine re-circulation pump are unnecessary, and the transfer of heat takes place almost without losses. This means increased operational reliability through fewer parts and an improvement in efficiency.


Neura Ground Source Heat Pump

Neura ground source heat pump in the production line


Their Plug & Heat® system also speeds up installation with increased reliability. Neura developed a system that is easy to install, ready to use and factory tested. The components and controllers are easy to replace in case they need repair. It’s clear that they developed a system that aims to avoid problems at the installation phase, it’s three times faster to install and it’s easy.


Neura’s intelligent control software


One other fantastic feature that Neura pumps provide are the operating and control functions provided by their software. This allows access from anywhere in the world via the Internet or using a smart phone. It prepares statistical reports, calculates heating costs and optimises the operation of the heat pump. Apart from this, the thermal heat pump automatically reports problems or faults. In many cases normal operation of the thermal heat pump can be restored remotely.


Heating cost calculator

Neura provides a very interesting heating cost calculator in their website. If you are considering this renewable source of energy you should try it.

 Heating cost calculator - Heat Pumps

Heating cost calculator - Heat Pumps


The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) provides a range of publications covering all aspects of sustainable energy. Check out the following links for more information:


Read more about this Renewable Energy Research Trip to Austria here.


Isabel Barros

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