QBUS: 26 families under one solar roof

In Düsseldorf, a construction group of 26 families has set up a community-orientated and family-friendly housing project. The climate protection housing estate Am Quellenbusch has been constructed in strict compliance with the “Passivhausstandard” (passive house standard). By generating heat and electricity using entirely renewable energy sources and through conscious cooperation with each other, the residents reduce their CO2 emissions by 95% compared to conventional types of housing.

The whole complex of the QBUS climate protection housing estate (QBUS is short for Quellenbusch) has been constructed in compliance with the Passivhausstandard (passive house standard). All the buildings are very well insulated and equipped with technology so that they can almost manage without a heating system. Energy is still needed mainly for heating water. Since the families moved in during the summer of 2013 the entire energy consumption of almost 90 people has been generated from renewable energy sources.

Hot water is supplied by a central wood-pellet plant and by solar thermal energy. Around 30 per cent of the electricity for the residents’ own consumption comes from the estate’s own photovoltaic installation; any additional electricity that is needed is bought from the green power provider, Naturstrom AG. If any green electricity is produced that is not needed, it is fed back into the grid and earns credit.

Engine for progress:

  • heat and electricity generated entirely from renewable energy resources
  • buildings in compliance with the passive house standard
  • reduction of 95 per cent of CO2 emissions compared to conventional housing
  • family- and child-friendly approach
  • communal areas and synergies (for example bicycle storage in basement, private car-sharing, sauna, youth and rehearsal room)

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Photo: Dirk Krüll, Düsseldorf

The communal inner courtyard opens up the housing complex. It offers a “village in the city” – protection for the children, a space to meet neighbours and hold communal activities. The garden areas are used and cared for by everyone in the community.

High reductions in CO2 emissions, low energy prices

With this climate-friendly housing project, the residents of the climate protection estate reduce their CO2 emissions by around 95 per cent compared to conventional types of housing. The sustainable electricity supply system allows an average price of fewer than 25 cents per kilowatt-hour for electricity, which is affordable for all the families. The overall costs of heating, hot water and ventilation are less than five euros per square metre. The heat required is 15 kWh per square metre per year (passive house).

In addition, the roof of the community hall and parts of the rooftop terraces which are thickly landscaped contribute to improving the microclimate and rainwater retention.

Better cooperation for climate protection

The organisation “Wohnen mit Kindern e.V.” (Living with children), whose members initiated the QBUS housing project and implemented it with the help of others willing to build, attaches just as much importance to communal living and child- and family-friendly living conditions in their second housing project in Düsseldorf; some residents help each other to take care of the children living in the housing project and provide meals for them, and even extend this to the children of their friends and to school friends – for example by organising joint lunches, where people take turns to cook once per week. This also saves the parents much energy and time.

There are campaigns and events organised by the community just for QBUS members, but also for the neighbourhood. In addition, the construction group has also founded a consultancy company constituted under German civil law, called ‘Wohnfaktor’, which now advises other construction groups.

The climate also benefits from good social cooperation: residents lend each other cars. Many people use bicycles on a daily basis; a large communal bicycle storage room in the basement, with space for more than 90 bicycles and bicycle trailers, makes everyday life much easier. A showcase, also accessible to people in the surrounding neighbourhood, displays information on events at the housing project and in the direct and surrounding area, or newspaper articles about the project, alongside technical data (current electricity production, reduction in CO2 emissions).

Ambitious plans for the future: electricity storage facility, charging points

The climate protection housing estate Am Quellenbusch was the first climate protection estate to be set up as part of the EnergieAgentur.NRW’s project “100 climate protection housing estates in NRW” in Düsseldorf. But that’s not all for the residents of the climate protection estate, who have a few more things planned: they have reserved a space in the basement to install an electricity storage facility in the future. In addition, they are making provision in advance for electric cars and pedelecs, which will be powered by the Düsseldorf sun, or at least by electricity generated entirely by renewable energy sources.

Photo: Lauritz Afflerbach

“Communal living also contributes to a sustainable way of life on a daily basis, by sharing cars, equipment or tools, passing on toys and children’s clothing, pooling shopping, ordering joint deliveries or taking daily turns to cook for the school children. We would like to encourage anyone who is interested in community-orientated and sustainable ways of living in respectful cooperation with others to put their own vision into practice in collaboration with other people.”

Martine Richli, Chairperson of “Wohnen mit Kindern” (Living with children) in the interests of the QBUS-members in Düsseldorf

Partners and sponsors

  • Wohnen mit Kindern e.V.
  • QBUS GbR
  • KfW-Bank
  • Ministerium für Klimaschutz, Umwelt, Landwirtschaft, Natur- und Verbraucherschutz (MKULNV)
Counselling centers:
  • EnergieAgentur.NRW