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Building the future: Duncan returns to Vienna for Eco Eye

22 October 2013

Duncan Stewart, presenter of the TV show "Eco Eye" with over half a milltion viewers per episode, returned to Vienna in Ocober to film state-of-the-art sustainable building techniques as part of his "Ireland 2050" series.

First stop off the Aer Lingus flight from Dublin to Vienna was the Aspern/Seestadt where town planners are currently constructing the town of the future, due for completion in 2020. Here 13,000 apartments as well as commerical buildings and schools will cater for a population of 20,000 people.The visionary planners began by building a train to the greenfield site which Duncan referred to as "the train to nowhere". This was essential in getting the buy-in from citizens and businesses and represents the kind of forward planning and joined-up thinking we have come to associate with Austria. 

One of the first completed buildings, the Aspern IQ, is the building of the future - a so-called "energy-negative" construction. This means that it generates electricity through extensive photovoltaic panels (used as a chic design element) and saves the output to the national grid. Aspern IQ uses a broad spectrum of energy-saving technology and acts as an inspiration to builders, architects and engineers.

From Aspern, it was on to the first passive house skyscraper in the world - the 20-storey Raiffeisen buidling to the east of the Danube where Christian Marintschnig of Vasko+Partner demonstrated sophisticated technology including the use of heat from the server room in the neighbouring building to heat/cool the building. This achieves a saving of over €300,000 per year.

The highest housing standards are reached in the provision of social housing in the "Sonnwend" quarter, an urban generation project south of the city centre near the elegant Belvedere. The City of Vienna is the largest facilities manager in Europe where half the population lives in local authority housing. Vienna has a long and successful tradtion of public housing dating back to the 1920s. In the buildings shown on Eco Eye, an incredible 10 kilowatts per square metre, per year in achieved. In other words they get an A+ rating on the BER certificate. Walkways, cycling lanes, bike sheds and community gardens are integral to planning.

Also filmed:
The Citizen's Solar Power Station. The local power providor, Wien Energie, offers everyone a chance to be part of the renewables revolution. You can invest in a section of photovoltaic solar panel for just €495 at 3.4% interest per year and a guarantee of your money back! Gudrun Senk explains the concept to Duncan.

The Concerto project in Mödling. This is part of a EU-funded scheme for the towns of Mödling, Dundalk (Ireland) and Neufchatal (Switzerland).  Michael Heidenreich leads the tour. This project is supported by SEAI in Ireland.

Green Purchasing (Ökokauf Wien). Eva-Maria Persy from the City of Vienna explained how to set up guidelines for public green procurement.

The Eco Tram: Light rail for the future using advanced sensors to monitor heating and cooling. Dominik Gries of Wiener Linien tells all.

The show will be aired between January and March 2014. Watch here for more updates.