This five-storey social housing building, recently completed in France, is the tallest “passive” residence in Europe.
Recently opened in the Parisian suburb of Montreuil, the building has 17 apartments ranging in size from 312 to just over 1,000 square feet and was built in accordance with the Passivhaus German energy performance standard. This standards requires the incorporation of super-insulation and also uses ultra-low energy construction. Most of the building’s heating requirements can be satisfied by a combination of solar gains and internal gains (heat generated by residents), eliminating the need for a conventional heating system.
Intended first and foremost for people in precarious situations, these high-efficiency buildings can help residents cut their heating bill by over half. The Montreuil residence will be heated using all heat sources available, including the sun and the heat generated by the appliances and occupants. Triple pane windows combined with 20% more incoming light compared to traditional constructions help maximize heat generated from the sun. At the same time, residents themselves also help heat the building: heat generated by their ovens and other appliances, and even their own bodies will be collected and redistributed through a ventilation system. Lastly, there is a heating system in the basement, equivalent to a system required for a five-room apartment, which can provide enough supplemental heat to maintain the temperature of the entire building at around 22°C.
In addition, the structure and cladding are made of untreated wood from sustainable forests; the only components of the building made from concrete are the stairs and the foundations, which makes the building four to five times lighter than a traditional building. These architectural elements also make it possible to construct this 75-foot-high building without any scaffolding and in a record time of two months.