Challenge / Goal
According to climate forecasts, Vienna is expected to experience more heat during summer in the future – in some years there will be up to 100 days with temperatures above 30°C, which would be an increase of 550% compared to the average for the years 1981-2010. Green buildings or facades reduce the perceived temperature by up to 13°C and thus counteract “urban heat islands”. Especially along pavements and in ground floor zones, greening has a positive effect on the microclimate. Building greenery has many more advantages: it improves the air quality and ensures a more natural, healthier environment in the city.
Vienna is a very innovative city but within numerous projects we noticed that making the city more green can be very tiring. We asked ourselves, why so many people are so frustrated when it comes to green facades. So we started asking over 100 people what experiences they made with green facades and what hindered or motivated them in the past to realise green facades. We found out that the approval process within the city of Vienna is really complex and takes up to one year to get a permission to construct a green facade. Furthermore we unveiled out that there are numerous systems for green facades on the market. But none of these focus on upgrading existing buildings in an affordable but high quality and reliable way to guarantee fast and easy construction as well as easy care and maintanance.
With the project „greening 50 houses“ we analysed all these factors and created a holistic process to make things easier. We developed two instruments – a web platform and a low-tech green facade system – that are integrated to lead the owner through the whole process from the first idea of having a green facade until the installation and care of the plants.
The core element of the webplattform is a web-form that asks within a three step process for all information that is required by official entities and for planning the green facade. The first two steps are about basic information like the adress and information on the building and the location and can be filled out by anyone. Within the last step the form asks for legally binding documents like a care obligation and a circular resolution proving that the majority of the owner of the house agree on the green facade. Transparency is really important for us, that‘s why the webtool offers a quick check, that shows if all entered parameters are fine or if some need detailed consideration by official entities. Furthermore we developed several supporting documents like info-sheets that can be spread throughout the ownership, drafts for diverse contracts and an instruction for the care of the modules.
The developed tool helps citizens and public entities at the same time, as the permission process is run by the project team. Therefore permissions can be done accumulated and the procedure can be held faster. This should lead to more green facades in the future. But the information gathered is also used by our project partner GrünstattGrau, that analyzes which configuration of the BeRTA-Module can be applied on the specific location.
The second part of the project is the low-tech green facade system BeRTA. The BeRTA-Module is not one single system, but a compound of different parts that can be adopted, so that it is applicable to varying circumstances and facades. For example insulated facades need special mounting systems of trellis or facades that already have cracks need to be looked at carefully. Therefore the BeRTA Module consists of a trough with special inner parts that guarantees low maintanance and work with self climbing plants as well as with trellis. It can be lifted away if pavement construction work needs to be done. And it is applicable on all existing buildings and new buildings, even if they are insulated. Furthermore the BeRTA Module is approved by the official entities in Vienna. The materials used are durable and high quality, but affordable at the same time.
Within our R&D-project we are currently testing the developed solutions within one target area in Vienna. 50 prototypes are given to houses in a defined area and will be installed in the fall of 2019. There isgreat interest in the project. Between March and July of 2019, over 300 people registered at our webtool. The BeRTA modules and the whole concept can be applied to other cities.
Our big vision is, that the project „greening of 50 houses“ helps to overcome the mentioned obstacles and that in the near future our streets will look greener, like an urban jungle. To reach that, tatwort works as a consortium together with GrünstattGrau, Die Umweltberatung, Municipal Department for Environmental Protection and the University of Natural Ressources and Life Sciences.
Enhance the approval process for green facades in the city of Vienna
Improve awareness for the topic of greening the existing city
Enable the low-cost greening of existing buildings
Support citizens in their desire to improve their personal environment
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Planning time: 0.5 - 1 years
Implementation time: 1 - 2 years
Research team of the project "50 Grüne Häuser"
Reducing local air pollution
Improving life quality