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Energy efficiency: supermarket in Austria and factory building in Sri Lanka

The two buildings are used completely differently, but they have one important thing in common: both buildings have achieved the EnerPHit standard after an energy retrofit. The Passive House Institute recently presented the certificate for the EnerPHit retrofit of a supermarket in the Austrian town of Prutz. About 7800 kilometres away, a clothing factory in Sri Lanka also received a certificate for a successful energy efficient modernisation. This pilot project in the tropical climate will be presented in October at the 23rd International Passive House Conference in China.

The MPREIS supermarket chain was faced with the question whether the company's branch in the town of Prutz in Tyrol should be demolished or refurbished. The family business already realised several new buildings to the highly energy efficient Passive House standard. The company decided in favour of an energy efficient modernisation to the EnerPHit standard, which is the Passive House standard for modernisations.

Thermal protection for refrigeration units

The supermarket in Prutz was given a new timber roof as well as an efficient lighting system. As is the case in the new Passive House buildings, the waste heat from the food refrigeration technology is now utilised for heating the newly modernised building. After the modernisation, the existing gas-fired boiler only ensures supply during peak loads. A CO2-based controlled ventilation system provides fresh air. An excellent standard of thermal protection for the refrigeration units is also important; the standard refrigerated display shelves are now equipped with insulating double glazing, while the freezer units have triple-glazing and doors with seals all around. The bottom, rear wall and sides of the units are also insulated.

Successful venture into new territory

Cooling is now generated by large-sized condensers. Electronic expansion valves, demand-driven defrosting and optimised fans with EC motors also increase energy efficiency. According to the company, the additional investment will already be amortised after five to seven years through the energy savings alone. "With this energy retrofit, the owners have entered new territory and the energy efficiency of this store has been significantly increased. Many more supermarkets throughout the country can be modernised to an energy efficient standard using these measures", explains Laszlo Lepp of the Passive House Institute. Lepp recently presented the certificate for the EnerPHit retrofit to MPREIS. Since 2012, the company with over 260 grocery stores has realised a total of nine new buildings to the Passive House standard and is planning another four Passive House retail stores.

EnerPHit in Sri Lanka

7800 kilometres away from Prutz, on the other side of the globe in the tropical climate of Sri Lanka lies the Star Innovation Center. This building in the town of Katunayake was also successfully modernised and was awarded the certificate for an EnerPHit pilot project from the Passive House Institute. Thus, the textile factory is the first EnerPHit factory building located in a tropical climate. In this project too, the involved parties decided against demolishing the existing building.

Shortened construction period

"Due to the modernisation, the construction period was shortened and we were able to reduce the CO2 emissions significantly", explains architect and Passive House designer Jordan Parnass in New York. The Star Innovation Center combines offices and industrial facilities for designing and sewing clothing items. During the modernisation, the exterior walls and the roof were well-insulated and a photovoltaic system and solar thermal systems were installed. Excellent ventilation systems with energy recuperation and efficient dehumidification are also essential in the tropical climate. Moreover, double glazed windows and a good quality of doors were installed.

Ventilation and dehumidification

Jordan Parnass further explains that due to the energy efficient retrofit the overall energy demand of the industrial building has been reduced by about 70 percent compared to a conventional modern building. The energy demand for dehumidification has even been reduced by around 90 percent. The running costs are much lower as a result. "For us, it was also important to improve the working conditions", says Jordan Parnass. According to the architect, the employees can now enjoy a pleasant level of air humidity, an indoor temperature of around 24 degrees Celsius and plenty of daylight.

Tropical climates

"The Star Innovation Center in Sri Lanka demonstrates that energy efficient modernisations to the Passive House Standard are also possible in tropical climates even with energy-intensive uses. After the retrofit, the buildings consume significantly less energy and offer the employees a high level of thermal comfort", says Dragos Arnautu of the Passive House Institute in Darmstadt. Arnautu certified the industrial building in Sri Lanka and is currently working on several Passive House projects in similarly challenging climates.

Presentation in China

The EnerPHit project in Sri Lanka will be presented in full detail at the 23rd International Passive House Conference in China. The conference with the theme "Passive House worldwide!" will be held from 9 - 11 October 2019 in the city of Gaobeidian which is about 100 kilometres to the south of the capital Beijing.

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