Swedish city builds ‘passive houses’ as part of ambitious CO2 reduction targets

The past three winters have been bitterly cold in the southern Swedish town of Växjö. But despite lacking radiators, residents in two new city-funded highrises haven’t suffered because their homes are built in passive-house style.

“Taking this route works very well for us as a municipality, since we want to become CO2-neutral, and homes account for 30% of energy use”, explains Henrik Johansson, the city’s environmental coordinator. Passivhaus, the building technique pioneered in Germany, is now catching on across northern Europe. In Sweden alone, several cities have built passive houses, though Växjö’s highrises are the most ambitious project so far. The city even boasts a pioneering passive-house-style tennis court, built by Stefan Edberg, former world number-one player and now coach to Roger Federer.

Passive houses feature wood frames and very thick walls, which keep cold air out and human-generated heat – from cooking, gadget use, people moving about – in. Each of the Växjö highrises also has a ventilator in the attic that transports the human-generated heat back into the apartments. The buildings even recycle wastewater, which contains valuable heat. — Full Story at The Guardian

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