Eco-district Vauban, a new way of life

Photo Thomas Midy

An Eco-district, is a neighborhood or district with a broad commitment to accelerate neighborhood-scale sustainability. Eco-districts commit to achieving ambitious sustainability performance goals, guiding district investments and community action, and tracking the results over time.

The Vauban district is an eco-neighborhood in the south of the city of Freiburg, Germany. Originally this area was occupied from 1932 till 1992 by the French military. In 1996, the municipality launched a reconstruction operation in the sector, based on a sustainable development where the target was building 2000 units on an area of 38 hectares for 6000 inhabitants.

Vauban houses are built to a low energy consumption standard, with 100 units designed to the passive house ultra-low energy building standard. Other buildings are heated by a combined heat and power station burning wood chips, while many of the buildings have solar collectors or photovoltaic cells. Perhaps the best example of sustainable building is the Solar Settlement in Vauban, a 59 plus energy home housing community. It is the first housing community worldwide in which all the homes produce a positive energy balance. The solar energy surplus is then sold back into the city’s grid for a profit on every home.

Photo Thomas Midy

Moreover, in Vauban, residents can easily walk to reach the shops, kindergartens, schools, various services. Usually planners consider « short distance » a path of less than 700 m, and the distances in Vauban do not exceed 300 meters. The Vauban district is located approximately 3 km from the center of Fribourg; this represents a displacement of less than 15 minutes by bike. The tramway of Vauban is well equipped, which ensures the connection with the city center.

Another point to say is that there is no car parking within the community. For residents who own cars, they can park those in a community parking lot on the edge of the district. Vauban is considered the biggest car-free project in Germany.

In addition of being characterized by energy and transportation management, Vauban district is considered innovative in water and waste management.

Finally, Vauban is also characterized  by its architecture, where the diversity in colors, volumetric and materials produced many architectural variations, providing exceptional quality of life. In conclusion, the Vauban district is now a reference, for future generations and design professionals and construction, in economic development, social cohesion and environmental protection.

By Bassem Chalak, Rémi Carquin

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A propos Rémi Carquin

An engineer in physics, completed by an advanced master in new media solutions. 10+ years of experience including IT consulting, broadcast production, knowledge management, scientific communication about energy challenges.
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