Kalkbreite: a 2000 Watt Area
The Kalkbreite Cooperative understands sustainability as a fundamental principle for its projects, and thus makes it as an integral part of the entire planning, implementation and operating processes. Sustainability is not a “Nice to have”, but essential of our commitment. For this reason, the cooperative has also set goals in its statutes for promoting sustainable living in all three dimensions: social, economic and ecological.
Since January 2017, the Kalkbreite residential and commercial building has been one of only five sites in Switzerland to be certified as a “2000 Watt site in operation”.
Kalkbreite achieved the best value of all tested areas with a degree of compliance at 78 %. The certificate must be renewed every four years. In the course of certification, five sub-areas – building construction and operation, supply and disposal, mobility, management system and communication/cooperation – are specifically examined and evaluated.
Claire Comte, managing director of the Kalkbreite Cooperative (center, with certificate), Thomas Sacchi, sustainability consultant and Regula Steiner from the residents’ group “Leicht leben” received the certificate for the “2000 Watt Kalkbreite site” in September 2017 (both on the right).
Evaluation of the five sub-areas
Communication & Cooperation
In this area, Kalkbreite achieved peak values, which is attributable to the special participative structures of the cooperative. The residents and tradespeople share and discuss their concerns at regular events, the general councils.
Since the Kalkbreite area is small compared to other areas and is only operated by one owner, the Kalkbreite Cooperative, the assessment of its management system is also good.
In the mobility sector, points were lost, which wasn’t expected given Kalkbreite is a car-free zone. The evaluation was explained with the following findings: In addition to the number of car and bicycle parking spaces and other additional criteria such as the existence of a bicycle workshop, a survey of tenant mobility behavior is also included in the assessment. With regard to the inhabitants, Kalkbreite has performed. However, the certification did not provide a survey for commercial and service enterprises, which occupy around 40 percent of the area. Hence, the Swiss average value was used. This led to a distortion of the results, which do not quite correspond to reality. At Kalkbreite, commercial tenants and their employees are obliged not to use cars for work. This discrepancy in the evaluation procedure for commercial buildings was recognized during the certification process and is now being amended for future certification.
Due to the Kalkbreites Cooerative’s careful monitoring of the sustainability goals in the early planning and construction phases, good ratings were achieved in the building sector.
Supply & Disposal
Kalkbreite received its lowest ratings in the supply and disposal sector, which is mainly attributable to factors that are assessed from other points of view. For example, the Kalkbreite property produces only about 15 percent of the general electricity via a company’s own photovoltaic system, but large parts of the rooftop areas are open to residents as outdoor installations and are not obstructed by such systems. Moreover, only a small portion of rainwater is collected, because a parts of the rooftop areas are green areas that serve as retention areas and are not irrigated, but on which no water can be collected.
The Kalkbreite Cooperative is proud of its rating for this certification and isconvinced that it will contribute to further promoting the Kalkbreite model as it continues to focus on diverse sustainable aspects as well as facilitate participation opportunities for residents and businesses which will promote new, future-oriented projects. The cooperative is also considering the possibility of obtaining certification as a 2000-watt site for the new Zollhaus building project.
What is the 2000-watt society?
In a global comparison, a person consumes 17,500 kilowatt hours of energy per year. This corresponds to a continuous output of 2000 watts. At present, the average per capita consumption in Switzerland is around 5000 watts, 4000 watts in the city of Zurich. In African and Asian countries, people consume only a fraction of this. The vision of a 2000-watt society strives to achieve a balance between industrialized and developing countries, enabling all people to enjoy a good standard of living.The long-term goal is to reduce consumption by around one third to 2000 watts. The 2000-watt society is a goal of the Stadt Zürich as well as the Kalkbreite Cooperative.
The Kalkbreite residential and commercial building has an ecologically pioneering building envelope, efficient building technology, a good mobility concept and sufficient space consumption. These are ideal conditions to achieve the goals of the 2000-watt society in the categories of housing and living-induced mobility. In order to succeed, however, it is up to each individual person to question his or her own behavior, to make a political commitment to the implementation of the 2000-watt society and to actually live sustainably.