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Eco-friendly concepts at home in smart Hamburg House

DR Stephan Hugo Winters (pictured right), state secretary of the Ministry of Urban Development and Environment in Hamburg, opened the eco-friendly "Hamburg House" to Expo visitors recently.

The Hamburg project showcases the Shanghai sister city's top-level energy-saving and eco-friendly technologies that set new standards for sustainable urban development and ecological construction.

As a "passive house," the ultra-low energy Hamburg House incorporates both living and working functions, offering residents safety and comfort. It can maintain a constant indoor temperature of 25 degrees Celsius all year around without consuming mains electricity and without the use of air-conditioners or heaters.

Dr Winters has devoted his career to the harmonious development of city and environment and is probably the best person to introduce such a concept to Expo visitors. A masters and doctoral graduate, he has worked in Hamburg's science research department since 2001 and was state secretary to the Ministry of Urban Development and Environment for three years.

Located in the Urban Best Practices Area, the 675-square-meter Hamburg House is Germany's only city pavilion at World Expo 2010. It is also the only permanent building contributed by Germany to the Expo.

Q: Why did your city want to showcase "Hamburg House" to Expo?

A: Expo Shanghai gives the world a very good concept, the "Urban Best Practices Area." And for city development in the future, I think energy-saving and environmental protection must be key terms. Hamburg House, as a very positive and live example, will help us demonstrate and introduce our advanced architectural design concept and environmental protection technologies to China and also prove how people can live in an industrial location but also benefit from a high quality of life.

Q: Was the idea of building the Hamburg House inspired by the success of reconstructing an old area in Hamburg?

A: Yes. Hamburg House depicts the further development of the "H2O" house, an ultra-low energy building in Hamburg's Hafen City district. "H2O" has two meanings. First, the building is constructed alongside the river; second, it means "Home to Office." As the largest city development project in Europe, it helped to enlarge 40 percent of Hamburg's capacity as well as maintaining a high standard of sustainable development. In the new port multi-functional city of Hafen, people can enjoy work, shopping, entertainment and art.

Q: What material and technology adjustments were needed to build a Hamburg House in Shanghai?

A: Considering Shanghai's hot and humid climate, we had to make some adjustments to let the passive building save more energy. For example, we decided to build the house facing the north instead of south to avoid Shanghai's high temperatures in the coming hot summer.

Q: Hamburg House is China's first passive house but in Germany there are over 5,000. How successful are they?

A: In Germany, the technology used in the passive house has been used widely as people get used to these eco-buildings. An office building's average energy consumption is about 360 kilowatts per square meter a year in Germany. In Hamburg House, the figure is just 50 kilowatts. It embodies the "hidden energies" of sustainable building culture. The passive house achieves massive energy savings through optimization of design, the building envelope and advanced energy technology.

Q: What else is Hamburg showing to Expo visitors?

A: The Revolverheld band, considered one of Germany's best, and German Salut Salon Quartet will amaze audiences on the UBPA City Square at the end of this month. During Expo, we will also hold a series of activities and forums on the topics of architecture and energy-saving technology both in Shanghai and Hamburg.


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