Our Architecture Office

For thousands of years man has built with the sun. Today however 50% of the world’s energy consumption stems from the development, operation and occupation of buildings. Architects stand before a large duty. An immense deal of the fight against climate change falls upon their shoulders. They must relearn how to build with the sun.
Rolf Disch Solar Architecture has built with the sun for 40 years. That is how the first homes worldwide were built that flip the energy bill upside-down. The homes sell their surplus energy into the public power grid because they produce more energy in total than they consume. And with that, a new standard is set: homes can become powerplants!

That is not a vision but rather a reality, as these types of homes have existed already in part for 15 years. The necessary technology for the energy switchover has been in our hands since long ago. From there Rolf Disch created an energy concept that fits for almost every building use and every house type. For single homes or entire housing communities with integrated ecological urban planning.

Rolf Disch Solar Architecture commands an immense amount of experience in not only housing and community building, but as well in planning commercial, office, hotel and exhibition space – and last but not least social institutions.
Additionally the owner can rely on the further competence and output of our office: for the know-how with innovative financing models and public participation, to marketing and image campaigning; our expansive network of innovative specialists as well as support in society and politics.

The Rolf Disch Solar Architecture office in the Sun Ship

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Business Services

Urban Planning and Development
  • community planning
  • master plans
  • energy concepts
  • mobility concepts
  • ecological concept integration
  • landscape architecture and planning

  • Building Planning
  • residential buildings
  • multi-family housing
  • barrier-free living
  • social buildings
  • office buildings
  • commercial buildings
  • working + living space integration
  • school and educational buildings

  • Renovation
  • energy optimization
  • aesthetic energy concept integration
  • solar technology integration
  • remodeling

  • Product Development
  • solar components
  • building integration
  • building efficiency optimization

  • Consulting
  • concept feasibility studies
  • future scenarios
  • building efficiency and space optimization
  • marketing and press work

  • Communication
  • building and energy lectures
  • site tours
  • publications and media
  • events for specialists
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    The Goal is PlusEnergy

    Primary energy consumption / gain in comparison

    PlusEnergy is a simple principle, materialized in complex building technology – in fact the best and most up-to-date building technology available. PlusEnergy is a fundamental and ecological necessity that simultaneously counts economically – for the home owner as well as for the economy.

    The Plusenergiehaus® fulfils a threefold objective: it will be supported exclusively by 100% renewable energy. It will operate CO2-neutral. And it reduces the energy consumption so extensively, that it will generate more energy than it will use. Additionally comes the selection of healthy building materials and a feasible market price.

    To test that PlusEnergy works, a long-term study at the Bergische University in Wuppertal was conducted. The results were published in January 2009 in the Deutsche Bauzeitschrift (German Building Magazine). To begin an average home was defined from collected data on the Solar Settlement in Freiburg: 2.9 residents, 137 m2 (1,475 ft2) heated floor space, and a 49 m2 (527.5 ft2) solar panel installation with 6.3 kW peak power output. This home expends only 79 kWh/m2 per year, yet it annually produces 115 kWh/m2 per year. The surplus is thus 36 kWh/m2 of primary energy.

    This surplus is real! However the principle did not halt there. With the newest PlusEnergy housing estates in planning, the surplus is aimed to be 120 kWh/m2 per year (primary energy) – which makes the homes and community on no account more expensive, but rather more profitable. That’s how PlusEnergy sets the new standard. Because even a low-energy home consumes too much energy, and the passive house itself still emits CO2 into the atmosphere. Passive is not enough – we can solar activate our homes!

    Rolf Disch speaks about the Solar Settlement and necessity of PlusEnergy (11 Min.)

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    How does PlusEnergy work?

    The key to the energy revolution is the sun. How to optimize passive and active solar energy in building, that can be left to the typical Plusenergiehaus® to demonstrate. The roof is made of the most extensive photovoltaic unit equipped with a solar thermal collector to heat tap water. The well-tested and well-proven use of the roof overhang shields from the high summer sun, while it still allows rays of the winter sun to penetrate into the home.

    Highly transparent, the south façade’s infrared-reflecting triple-paned insulated glass allows light into the structure and simultaneously maintains the warmth within the building. The entire building’s skin is insulated, thermal-bridge free, and is densely sealed. In addition, the ventilation system with heat recovery facilitates a permanent fresh air supply with nearly no heat loss.

    The activation of the building masses as a thermal reservoir is further strengthened by the addition of Phase Changing Material in the inner walls. Also with commercial PlusEnergy buildings, a vacuum-insulated façade may be implemented. Should an additional heating unit be necessary, there are several options to do so with renewable energy.

    Photovoltaic unit / Inverter

    An Example – the building envelope of the Sun Ship

    The energy that the building generates must be held within that building. That is why a modern building needs a well designed façade. With the example of the “Sun Ship,” the 60,000 ft2 commercial developed section of the Solar Settlement in Freiburg, one can observe these necessary measures. The following three films demonstrate the façade’s wooden post-and-beam construction, filled with special windows and vacuum-insulated panels. Ventilation with heat recovery is integrated into the façade, and the two potential thermal bridges, the incoming and outgoing air channels, are stinted.

    The principle and construction of the wood façade (5.20 Min.)

    The energy concept of the façade (7.45 Min.)

    The ventilation concept of the façade
    (5.20 Min.)