Impressionen Bau Kalkbreite

Long-term plan

Certification was made possible due to the fact that, from the very beginning of the planning process, great importance was attached to monitoring sustainability in a consistent manner. A multi-layered catalogue with objectives in the areas of economy, ecology and social affairs was drawn up and regularly checked for compliance. The objectives were met in the planning, construction and operation phases, involving planners, interested parties and tenants. In addition, external experts were called in to accompany the entire process. Their task was to closely monitor and document each phase regularly in reports and to take corrective measures if necessary.

Special attention was paid to the following:



Minimal energy consumption

Not only were the preconditions for a 2000-watt society to be manifested in the building construction, but also energy consumption was also to be greatly reduced. The building was constructed in accordance with the Swiss Minergie-P eco standards, which achieves low-energy consumption through heat-pump-base heating. Targeted measures are taken to minimize electricity and water consumption in the apartments.

Mobile without automobiles

Due to its central location and optimal connection to public transport by tram, bus and train, Kalkbreite has the best conditions be a car-free zone. Instead of an underground car park, more than 300 ground-level bicycle parking spaces were installed in the new building. The residents are obliged to refrain from owning a private car. Kalkbreite employees are also encouraged to use public transportation to get to work.

35 mare enough

The resource space consumption was given limits: On average, a person should not use more than 35 m2 living space at Kalkbreite (average city of Zurich = 41 m2). To achieve this without sacrificing spaciousness, an above-average proportion of large dwellings were built which are inhabited by several people in a more efficient manner. In addition, common spaces such as office workplaces and guestrooms are available to compensate for the less frequently used spaces in the apartments.


Cooperative members were given the opportunity to voice their suggestions and ideas about the development during the various phases of planning and construction. Their participation contributed to the quality of the project, as the plans were exposed to the critical gaze of potential users. According to the cooperative, participation is also an investment in the future. It encourages tenant engagement and commitment by giving them an opportunity to identify with the location and the project.

Building services concepts

Evaluating different systems for heating and hot water quickly led to a favorite: the groundwater heat pump. This made the most sense as Kalkbreite sits on a powerful 30-meter groundwater stream. A geological report along with an AWEL (Zurich Cantonal Agency of Waste, Water, Energy and Air) analysis indicated that the volume of groundwater is sufficient for heat production required at Kalkbreite. In collaboration with the VBZ Storage Facility, two groundwater wells were drilled in summer 2010.


The cooperative has specified and structured its objectives based on the  recommendation of SIA 112/1 “Sustainable Building – Structural Engineering”. At various public events, these objectives were discussed with the members of the cooperative and other interested parties, including experts. A catalogue of focuses was kept and repeatedly revised in order to meet the objectives with suitable measures.



The presentations of the public events can be downloaded here (german only):

The catalogue was then gradually developed into a monitoring and communication tool. The objectives and the achievement of objectives were reviewed and updated on an ongoing basis. In preparation of the 2000-watt area certification, the focus areas were adopted from the objectives. As part of the recertification process, which takes place every four years, the focus areas are reviewed and further developed annually. Large segments of the objectives catalogue as well as the monitoring are an example of pioneering work.

For measures in the area of ecological and economic sustainability, for example, an assessment matrix was developed based on the construction project available from summer 2011, which illustrates the degree to which implementation was achieved. Similar monitoring was also carried out in the area of social sustainability.

The monitoring reports are available for download here: