Lectures by Rolf Disch

4 April 2014, Lörrach
20th Company Anniversary Consolar
„Solar Architecture and Modern Solar-Integrated Heating Technology“



7 February 2014, Freiburg, Green City Hotel
Delegation Mitsubishi Electric
Presentation: „The Future of HVAC“

Ever since the accident at Fukushima, the energy-efficient house has become a much discussed topic also in Japan. Gradually minimum standards are being worked out by the authorities, and the development departments of Japanese HVAC suppliers have become extremely busy of late. Japan extends over 22 degrees of latitude, with almost "Siberian" winters in Hokkaido in the north and almost tropical summers in Okinawa in the south. So if you supply HVAC units for this market, you will have solutions for almost every climate in the world.

Mitsubishi Electric is such a "global player". A delegation of engineers from the Japanese headquarters visited Rolf Disch Solar Architecture to learn about the most advanced concepts of plus-energy houses and entire plus-energy settlements – and to find out how individual technical components from their product portfolio should be developed to fit into such innovative concepts.

It was three basic messages that Rolf Disch tried to get across:

  • First, the “best air conditioner” is the one that can be completely avoided by optimizing the building envelope.

  • Second, we never consider only a single technical device, but always the whole house – or even the whole settlement – as an energetic system, in which all the technical components have to be coordinated, nowadays also with intelligent "smart homes" technology.

  • Third, the individual devices must become more energy-efficient, and wherever possible they should be powered by renewable energy.




  • 20 January 2014, Freiburg, Heliotrope
    Visit Delegation Yong In University, South Korea
    „New Plusenergy Projects“



    09 November 2013, Freiburg
    Saturday Forum of University of Freiburg
    „Houses As Power Plants“



    Harry Lehmann (Federal Environmental Department) talking with Rolf Disch

    24 September 2013, Kassel
    5th Congress 100% Renewable Energies Regions
    „How Far Can We Decentralize Our Energy System”

    The idea of the panel discussion in Kassel was about technological issues, yet the most “decentral energy system” that has to be taken into account is the human individual. So Rolf Disch's contribution might have been a little surprising when he put the individual at the center of his argument - based on Harald Welzer's book on sustainability and "self-thinking" – before considering any social, political and technical issues. Almost anyone on the yearly conference in Kassel would agree anyway that it is better to have small scale regional energy supply structures instead of large-scale projects such as offshore wind from the North Sea with “electricity highway” transmission lines of hundreds of kilometers.

    Perhaps the annual “Kassel 100% Renewable Energy Regions” congresses have already had a greater effect than the international climate conferences over the last 20 years. However, even an all-embracing consensus on the most interesting conference with a lots of important findings does not bring about concrete results without individuals who "think for themselves" and start making a change in their own lifestyles. Eventually, Mr. Disch said, you have even to go beyond the enlightened self-empowerment for self-thinking: "It is about self-acting, starting projects yourself, forming partnerships with like-minded people, not waiting for politics or other people to do something, but taking yourself seriously, and taking the risks yourself. Don’t just talk, especially not in the subjunctive!"



    21 March 2013, Colmar
    TRION Climate Network
    "Energy Efficiency in Buildings – A Great Opportunity for the Entire Society"

    Not least because of the European Directive on energy efficiency in all new buildings, which must be implemented in all EU Member States as early as 2020, the market in our neighboring country of France has been set in motion. TRION, the tri-national network for sustainability in the Upper Rhine region, regularly brings together stakeholders from Germany, France and

    Rolf Disch with the President of the „General Councel of the Upper Rhine“, Mr. Charles Buttner.

    Switzerland for exchange ideas, know-how transfer and crossborder projects. After an opening address by the President of the Conseil Général du Haut-Rhin, Mr. Charles Buttner, and a keynote speech by Rolf Disch, the conference in Colmar dealt with three topics:

  • Instruments / support programs to promote energy-efficient buildings

  • Financial aspects of energy efficiency (limitation of additional costs)

  • Success factors of energy-efficient construction projects (from consulting of builders to user behaviour)

  • The conference program and all presentations can be found here.



    13 November 2012
    Kiwanis Germany
    „Regiotec, not Desertec – Hedaing for 100%-Renewables-Regions“



    Rolf Disch in the German Embassy in Vienna

    4 October 2012, Vienna, German Embassy
    Reception of Baden-Wuerttemberg on the Occasion of the Day of German Unity
    „Rolf Disch Solar Architecture“

    Every year, the state of Baden-Württemberg organizes a reception on the occasion of the Day of German Unity, each time in another German embassy. This year’s event was held in Vienna, and as always, innovative companies of the state were invited to present themselves with posters, products and presentations. But since it was the first such country reception of the new red-green government, the mixture of the companies was a little different than in previous years: Not only Bosch and Daimler, but especially companies with products and services from sustainable economy were to represent the country and show what can be designed and produced here. So Rolf Disch had the opportunity to present the plusenergy hous concept to Prime Minister Kretschmann, to the guests of the Embassy, and to the Viennese.

    Rolf Disch explains the “plusenergy principle” to Prime Minister Winfried Kretschmann.





    3 March 2012, Freiburg
    Trade Fair Exhibition Centre Freiburg
    Presentations Series of the Trade Fare „Buildings – Energy – Technology“ (GETEC)
    „From the Plusenergy House to Plusenergy Regions“



    2 February 2012, Freiburg
    Freiburg Green City Cluster
    „Energy Autonomy. Projects for a 100% Renewables Region“

    On behalf of the Freiburg economic development agency (FWTM), Rolf Disch Solar Architecture developed a package of measures for the Freiburg region in collaboration with stakeholders of the "Green City Cluster”. General concepts of energy efficiency and use of renewable energies must be transmitted into an action program for cities, municipalities and the regional economy. As Rolf Disch showed in his presentation, there are great economic opportunities for a variety of actors. The city of Freiburg continues assembling new ideas on their "Green City" pages and shows which projects were realized.

    - Please find the presentation in German language here for download.
    - The “marketplace” of ideas and projects of “Green City Freiburg” can be found here



    10 December 2011, Merzhausen
    Information Event of the Social Democratic Party
    „Climate Protection – Burden or Opportunity? From the Plusenergy House to Plusenergy Regions“



    14 May 2011, Freiburg
    Saturday Forum of the University of Freiburg
    „A Solar Initiative for Freiburg“



    Green Money

    11 May 2011, Stuttgart
    German Foundations Convention
    „Plusenergy. The New Building Standard – also for Foundations“

    There are around 20,000 unincorporated foundations in Germany. Charitable foundations do much good for society - funded by their portfolio yields. But what about their endowment funds from which the return must be earned? More and more foundations rigorously ensure that the investment is made ethically, socially and environmentally acceptable. For all charitable efforts can be undermined if one’s own capital works against one’s own purposes. On the “German Founders Day” Rolf Disch reported in the working group of municipal foundations about his experience with foundation capital in "green investments".

    Please find the complete conference program here.



    5 May 2011, Cologne-Guerzenich
    Forum Timber Construction
    „Constructing in Wood and Solar Architecture“



    11 April 2011, Freiburg
    Information Event of The Christian Democrat Party Freiburg
    „100% Renewable Energies - Plusenergy for Ebnet!“



    11 March 2011, Eckernfoerde
    14th Specialist Convention
    kPlus Ingenieurbüro
    "The Plusenergy House - Concept and Technology"



    17 February 2011, Aschaffenburg
    Aschaffenburg Energy Talks
    „Plusenergy House Projects: Heliotrope, Solar Settlement, Sun Ship“



    4 November 2010, Münster
    Information Event, id pool GmbH
    "How Will We Live Tomorrow"



    30 October 2010, Freiburg
    Saturday Forum of the University of Freiburg
    „Ten Years Solar Settlement“



    11 October 2010, Maastricht, Netherlands
    Presentation on the Sustainable Building 2010 Congress (SB10)
    “Towards Zero-Impact Buildings and Environments”

    The area of the Maas and the Rhine is a region of old European culture – with lots of first-class research institutes and innovative companies. Flanders and Wallonia, the Netherlands and the Aachen region are related to each other in manifold ways, and together they constitute one of those clusters that the “Europe of regions” is made up of and gets its momentum from.

    Institutions from all four parts of that cross-border region have come together to organise “SB 10”, the “Sustainable Building 2010” congress, and the United Nation Ecology Programme (UNEP) is on board, too. It will take place at four venues in Maastricht, Hasselt, Liège and Aachen.

    SB10 is all about creating a knowledge base for advanced developments and innovations in the field of environment achievements at various levels, namely at product level, building level, neighbourhood level, urban level and regional level. In addition to zero impact, the key word is ‘environmentally neutral’. SB10 wishes to be a podium for supervised research and for recent examples of the inevitable future for our constructed environment. Scientific solutions will be translated into practical applications for realising zero impact buildings and environments.

    Rolf Disch, too, will try to contribute to the idea of moving forward: from the Plusenergiehaus® over Plusenergy neighbourhoods to 100-Percent-Renewable regions.

    Please klick here for further information on the congress:www.sb10.nl



    Munich’s Mayor Dr. Christian Ude favours renewable energies.

    9 July 2010, München
    Presentation at the 9th Forum
    „Opportunities of Municipal Utilities with New Climate-Friendly Products”

    The city of Munich has ambitious plans. Munich is now perhaps the German city with the strongest impetus in terms of sustainability. Munich wants to apply for the 2018 Olympic Winter Games – with two Olympic villages in plusenergy standard. Munich has launched a PV roof program like no German city has ever implemented before, and the city is heading for a 100% renewable energy supply of through their municipal utilities company.

    The city administration, the public utilities, a well-established, active solar initiative, but also large engineering firms, technology companies and business consultancies are working together.

    The k.Group GmbH, a consulting firm in the energy sector, is involved in this process and stages, a high-profile event on 9 July: "Opportunities for public utilities by new climate-friendly products".

    The main points of the agenda are: decentralized power generation, efficiency solutions and "Smart City". Among the speakers is Prof. Albert Speer who has designed several major international sustainable urban planning projects. Rolf Disch is going to present concepts of urban planning and renewable energy supply.

    www.kgroup.de



    8 July 2010, Munich
    Forum Sustainability Solutions, kGroup Munich
    „Smart City. Houses and Cities as Power Plants“



    Kloster St. Marienthal

    22 June 2010, Ostritz - St. Marienthal
    16th Summer Academy of the German Federal Environmental Foundation (DBU)
    „Green Buildings“

    "Sustainable Investments - New Opportunities after the Financial Crisis," this issue was examined from many aspects on the DBU Summer Academy. Investments in real estate play a crucial role, and before the real estate investment can be sustainable, the building needs to be sustainably designed and built first. Rolf Disch argued as an expert not only for energy-efficient construction and renewable energies, but also as an initiator of six "solar" real estate funds.

    The program of the summer academy can be found here.



    12.June 2010, Freiburg, Sun Ship Building
    Information Event of the Social democratic Party Freiburg with Hermann Scheer
    „The Plusenergy House. Renewable Energies Concepts”


    One last time Hermann Scheer, winner of the Alternative Nobel Prize, founder of EUROSOLAR and IRENA, father of the Renewable Energy Law and a longtime member of the German Federal Parliament came to Freiburg.

    Hermann Scheer presented theses from his new book "The Energy Imperative": Why are the major international climate conferences a dead end? Why is the German Renewable Energy Act a global export hit? Why is there no smooth transition from the old to the new energy system, but a fight? And why renewable energies eventually win this fight? Part of his fascinating global approach is of course the supply of renewable energies for our buildings. Rolf Disch showed in his accompanying lecture, how this works.

    For what was conceived by Scheer in a global context and forged into national legislation , must be translated into concrete planning and projects. "100% now," was the subtitle of his book - and has always been a guiding principle for Rolf Disch. The two companions were unanimous: We must and we can accelerate

    Hermann Scheer

    the transformation of the energy system.

    Let us once more quote Hermann Scheer, who died on 14 October 2010: "Renewable energy technologies are instruments of acceleration ... Think of the many ways of using these technologies plus heat-insulating organic materials to design zero carbon homes which are powered solely by the natural ambience energy, and which from this source can fulfill all the energy needs from heating to cooling and even the needs of electric vehicles."


    Hermann Scheer’s books have been published at Routledge Publishers.



    Powerbox (Construction Sequence)

    5 May 2010, Stuttgart
    Bosch Group, Presentation on the Occasion of the Annual Press Conference
    „Plusenergy. The Future Building Standard“

    With photovoltaics, solar thermal, mini-CHPs, "smart home" technology, and many other possibilities of efficient supply, distribution and regulation of energy a little more technology gets installed in the house than before. Everything must be coordinated. All must be carefully installed and maintained. Many trades are involved. And so mistakes can happen. It is therefore an obvious idea to concentrate all building technology and install it in a prefabricated module - perhaps with a partner who has all the technical components in his product portfolio - because this way a high quality can be guaranteed. With the "power box" Rolf Disch has designed such a house concept, which he presented at the annual press conference of the Bosch Group in Stuttgart.

    Please find the PDF of the presentation here.



    April 28, 2010, Freiburg, Catholic Academy
    „Freiburg goes ahead – Measures for a 100% Renewable Energy Supply"

    The fascinating documentary film „Energy Autonomy. The Fourth Generation” has been running for five weeks now. Already well before the release, campaigning groups all had come together all over Germany, not only to call everybody’s attention to the film with their activities and events, but also to seize its suggestions and inspirations – and act on them.

    All Freiburg grassroots campaigners and “green” companies involved will now come together again in the lecture hall of the Catholic Academy to make suggestions how the Energy Autonomy movement should advance further. Everyone is invited to present his suggestions: What exactly will he or his initiative, his company, his association do? All this will be tied together to a package of concrete and coordinated measures.

    Rolf Disch, Solar Architects and chairman of the 100 % GmbH – the regional association for sustainable business – will present a catalogue of possible measures, expose the basic issues, suggest a framework for all the activities, and show some guidelines how to come up with concrete suggestions to the economy, politics, NGOs and the citizens.

    Starting from the Federal State Goverment political agenda, Disch will show how they could be realized on a local and regional level, aiming at no less than 100 percent renewable energy supply. And Freiburg must take a leading role …



    17 April 2010, Freiburg, Sun Ship Building
    Rotary Club Offenbach
    „The Plusenergy House“



    28 March 2010, Jadeberg
    2nd Jaderberg Housing Projects Days
    „The Plusenergy House



    19 February 2010, Berlin
    Expert Symposium Baden-Wuerttemberg
    Ecologic Institute gGmbH
    „Climate Neutral Regions“



    10 February 2010, Munich
    Solar Initiative Munich
    „Climate Neutral Municipalities“



    11 November 2009, Siegen
    Siegener Architekturfenster
    „Future Technology: Plusenergy“



    27 October 2009, Freising, Lindenkeller
    Information Event: Sonnenkraft Freising e.V.
    „Municipal Climate Protection“



    9 September 2009, Cologne Maternushaus, Convention Centre of the Archbishopric of Cologne
    Academy of the German Development Bank (KfW)
    „Investment into the Future - The Plusenergy House as a New Building Standard“

    The KfW is the most important financing institution for sustainable construction and renovation in Germany, where you can apply for state subsidies and where the building efficiency standards are set. Against the background of KfW loans and grants, Rolf Disch explained the concept of the plusenergy house from its technical, architectural, but especially from its economic side.

    Here you find the program of the KfW academy.



    6 July 2009, Freiburg, Sun Ship Building
    Information Event of the Trade Association of Industrial Enterprises in Baden (WVIB)
    „The Plusenergy House – Building Standard of the Future“



    May 25, 2009, Stuttgart/Nuertingen
    Green Roofs and Renewable Energies

    The International Green Roof Association (IGRA) organizes the 2nd International Green Roof Congress, under the patronage of Wolfgang Tiefensee, Federal Minister of Building. After the great success of the first congress which helped a lot to spread the green roof idea all over the world, it is now time for exchanging experiences again.

    In the centre of the presentations and discussions will be the current technical developments of recent years, spectacular green roof projects of renowned architects, as well as international green roof guidelines and regulations. In addition, there will be workshops and excursions to regional green roof projects.

    Rolf Disch’s presentation will show how roof landscapes can create extraordinary and beautiful living spaces. The following PDF gives you a first approach to the topic:

    Green Roofs and Renewable Energy (pdf, 8 Seiten, deutsch)



    23 April 2009, Rottweil
    Event Series of the Company Sto: Masterminds of a New Energy Era
    „The Plusenergy House – Building Standard of the Future“



    18 February 2009, Gengenbach
    Facades Seminar of the Company Esco
    „Optimal Energy Efficiency – The Plusenergy House“



    13 February 2009
    Company Ligno Trend, Erfa-Day
    „New Market Opportunities with Plusenergy Houses“



    8 December 2008, Weissach, City Council
    Concept New Housing Estate
    „Fit for the Future – with the Power of the Sun“

    Please find the presentation in German language here for download:



    28 November 2008, Berlin, House of the Church
    Congress Urban Planning and Energy
    „Plusenergy Housing Estates“




    Freiburg on the EXPO

    24 November 2008, Freiburg
    Economic Development Agency Freiburg (FWTM)
    Presentation Competition Concept
    Freiburg at EXPO 2010 Shanghai


    "Better City, Better Life" is the motto of the EXPO 2010 in Shanghai, and so it is that there will not only be national pavilions, but also some cities will present themselves, including Freiburg as a "Green City". Rolf Disch presented his competition concept of Freiburg's contribution to the World Exhibition: with a Heliotrope building as a pavilion and a magic exhibition stand.

    Please find the presentation in German language here for download:



    19 November 2008, Dresden
    Symposium of the Saxonian Energy Agency
    „The Future of Building Construction. From Low Energy to Plusenergy Houses“



    12 November 2008, Pforzheim
    Reuchlin House
    „From Climate Killer to Plusenergy House“



    6 November 2008, Bern
    BEA Congress
    „100% Regenerative“



    19 October 2008, Freiburg, Sun Ship Building
    Office Presentation Rolf Disch SolarArchitecture
    „The Plusenergy House“



    10 October 2008, Coburg
    University of Applied Sciences Coburg
    3rd Forum Wood Construction
    „Energy Efficient Buildings and Saving Resources. Does the Future Belong to Wood Construction?“



    9 October 2008, Amberg
    University of Applied Sciences Amberg
    „Solar Architecture – Building for the Future“



    8 October 2008, Schwarzenbruck
    Municipal Hall Schwarzenbruck
    „From Climate Killer to Plusenergy House“




    Rolf Disch talking about the Solar Settlement and the Sun Ship (5.20 Min.)

    ▲ to top ► www.rolfdisch.de



    Lectures by members of the office

    Workshop at the École nationale supérieure d´architecture de Versailles

    24 February 2014 – 28 February 2014
    énsa-v (École nationale supérieure d´architecture de Versailles)

    International Design Workshop by Bert Wasmer (Rolf Disch Solar Architecture):
    SOLAR BOX - a space for experiencing the sun with all senses

    In June and July 2014, the City of Versailles hosted the “Solar Decathlon Europe” in the park of Versailles castle. Founded by the US ministry of energy in 2002, the Solar Decathlon is an international competition between universities and institutes of applied science to design solar spaces for living. International teams from 16 different countries designed 20 prototypes, which were then constructed in the park of Versailles in order to demonstrate to the visitors the state of the art of energy and resource efficient construction in a diverse and interesting way.

    On the occasion of this event, the “École nationale supérieure d´architecture de Versailles“ had invited several visiting professors to hold workshops with the students. The design groups with 40 Architecture students each were run by Bob Sheil (Bartlett School of Architecture, London) Jonathan Thornhill (Loci Anima Architecture, Paris), Gilles Ebersolt  (G. E. Architectes, Paris) and Bert Wasmer (Rolf Disch SolarArchitektur, Freiburg).

    The topic of Bert Wasmer’s workshop was the “solar box“ – the sun was to be creatively incorporated into the design as a principal “building material”. The designs of the student teams were exhibited during the Solar Decathlon 2014. Two of the results of Wasmer’s workshop can be seen in these PFD files:

    - SolarBox der Studenten Clara Berthaud, Mathilde Bodilis, Damien Favale, Charlotte Linder, Justine Warembourg

    - SolarBox der Studenten Pierre-Alexandre Bardat, Sarah Clément, Esther Greslin, Émilie Kang, Pinto Pinto

    Und hier finden Sie den link zu der veranstaltenden École nationale supérieure.



    19 November 2013, Tel Aviv, Israel
    Conference: Energy Efficiency in Local Authorities and Public Buildings
    Export Initiative Energy Efficiency of the German Federal Ministry of Economy and Technology


    Presentation by Dr. Tobias Bube (Rolf Disch Solar Architecture)
    „From Plusenergy House to Plusenergy Community. Concepts for Energy Efficient Buildings, Communities and Energy Supply“

    Israel is an island. An energy island. For political reasons, the power grid of the country is completely isolated from those of the neighbors. And there is probably not a single issue of structural politics that could be addressed without regard to the very specific situation of the country.

    Dr. Tobias Bube

    Israel has a lot of sun. The entire national electricity demand could easily be supplied by solar power plants in the desert zones. But would such a central plant in the Negev desert not be an easy military target? So the country might as well go for decentralized PV solutions, at virtually any place in the entire country. However, a clear political decision has been made: in favour of centralized solutions. Lately, a natural gas field was discovered off the coast, the exploitation of which has already started. Bad news for solar projects: The sun in Israel – has been put on ice.

    All the more important, then, to think about a reduction in energy consumption. Especially at the local level things are already on the move. The Israeli "Tag Hasviva" initiative has worked out in-depth analyses with action plans for a large variety of cities and municipalities. The challenge now is to implement them. Against this background, the German-Israeli Chamber of Industry and Commerce had invited a number of German technology providers and energy experts to Tel Aviv. One emphasis was on efficient interior and exterior lighting, the other on energy efficiency measure for buildings, as well as for entire neighborhoods, entire communities and entire regions.

    The presentation by Rolf Disch Solar Architecture outlined the plus energy house as the most ambitious solution. But how do we transfer the concept to the different climatic zones in Israel? What should be considered in buildings and what in urban planning? The principles were then illustrated by two examples: the Quartier Vauban (with the Solar Settlement on Schlierberg) in Freiburg - and the current planning of the office in Grenzach-Wyhlen. As for scenarios for entire cities and regions, the presentation introduced a strategic study for the city of Lörrach written by Rolf Disch Solar Architecture in collaboration with Munich kGroup, Munich, followed by a scenario of the Freiburg region, written by Energieagentur Regio Freiburg.

    - The entire program of the conference
    - Please find all conference presentations for download here




    26th Oktober, 2013, Medellín, Columbia
    Academic Program „De país a país – Alemania 2013“
    University of Antioquia, Medellín


    Lecture by Dr. Tobias Bube (Rolf Disch Solar Architecture)
    „Renewable Energies in Germany“
    And: „Plusenergy Buildings in Germany and Columbia. Building to Suit the Different Climates“


    "But we already live in passive houses. If a passive house is a house without heating and air conditioning, then you will find only passive houses in Medellín", one of the young engineering students said, laughing. In fact, Medellín is a meteorological paradise, the average temperature being at a constant 21 degrees throughout the year. In the coastal regions, however, there is a very high cooling demand. There are underdeveloped regions without access to power grids, where decentralized island solutions with solar energy are an adequate means. Moreover, even in the eternal spring climate of the highland cities it is to be expected that the comfort demands will rise and that eventually there will be air-condition machines all over the place instead of constructing the buildings to suit the climate, so that – even on higher thermal comfort levels – there would still be no need for technical room conditioning.

    Engineering students from Columbia learn about plusenergy houses.

    The double lecture by Rolf Disch Solar Architecture at the University of Antioquia was meant for engineering students who had recently spent a year in Germany on a scholarship by the German Academic Exchange Service, partly at universities, partly in internships in various companies. The lectures were part of a two-week exchange program on all sorts of Germany-related topics.

    The first part presented the development of the “Energiewende” in Germany. What has been achieved so far? And how? And how can it go on? But also: Why does a country with a functioning power supply change this system? Just out of idealism? What are the interests lying behind it, who is opposing it? And what could possibly be transferred to Colombia?

    The young engineers were mainly interested in the possibilities offered by renewable energies – for obvious reasons, being so close to the equator, with high and constant solar radiation. Like many times before, the message of the second lecture had to be: First save energy, then think about how to supply the residual demand. And as for zoning, shading, insulation, window sizes and types, different solutions must be found in the different climatic zones of the country.

    Please find the entire program of the conference „De país en país" here.



    22 October, 2013, Sofia, Bulgaria
    Conference: Energy Efficiency in Buildings
    Export Initiative of the German Federal Ministry of Economy and Technology


    Presentation by Dr. Tobias Bube (Rolf Disch Solar Architecture)
    „From Plusenergy House to Plusenergy Region“

    After the end of socialism in Bulgaria, the immense public housing stock was privatized almost completely. In most cases, the tenants bought their flats, often in apartment buildings in large urban settlements of the 70s and 80s. These were already often in need of repair at the time of transfer in the 90s, and since then nothing much has happened. On the one hand, there are huge potential savings. And there is also an urgent need for the apartment owners, because energy prices are rising rapidly, while wages and pensions stagnate due to the difficult economic situation of Bulgaria. In many cases the cost of energy devours entire monthly pensions.

    So on the other hand, the situation is difficult: the ownership structure – with usually numerous parties per building – and the often low incomes of residents do not allow renovation. The EU has therefore provided substantial funds that have been so far increased by the Bulgarian state that only a small percentage needs to be added by the apartment owners. But even only 10% is too much in a country with an average income of just 350 euros.

    Against this background, the lectures on energy-efficient construction and renovation, which were presented by German and Bulgarian speakers, were mere theory rather than realistic. However, the experts from the architecture, science, building development and administration fields were paying close attention and were very interested in what could be done both in new projects and in renovation of single houses and entire settlements. In the lecture by Rolf Disch Solar Architecture these opportunities were presented – in relation to the different climatic conditions of the country: Orientation to the sun, distances between buildings, cubature, window area proportions in relation to opaque façade surface, shading, insulation and building technology all need different solutions, depending on whether the projects are situated in the Balkan Mountains, in the Danube plain or on the Black Sea coast.

    Unlike on a similar occasion in Russia many Bulgarian colleagues were already very well informed, for example about the passive house standard. The will is there – yet, the conditions are not. Also, there has been a distrust of the authorities for decades, which lead to vociferous arguments between industry representatives and architects on the one side and the representatives of the government and the state efficiency fund on the other side. It was, therefore, rather private sector companies with whom one could talk about possible projects.

    Please find the conference program and all presentations here for download.



    11 October 2013, Freiburg, Green City Hotel
    Delegation Rotary Club
    „Plusenergy“



    26 September 2013, Freiburg, Heliotrop
    Visit Delegation HFKM Kunming, China, (Building Development)
    „Plusenergy



    9 May 2013, Freiburg, Heliotrope
    Staff Workshop Viessmann
    Guided Tour and Presentation

    “Current Projects of Rolf Disch Solar Architecture”



    7 February 2013, Freiburg,
    Fehrenbach School
    “Energy Efficient Buildings – Efficient Energy Supply”



    17 August 2012, Manila, Philippines
    German-Philippine Chamber of Industry and Commerce, Renewable Energy Caucus
    Conference: Philippine Solar Summit


    Presentation by Tobias Bube (Rolf Disch Solar Architecture)
    “BIPV and Energy Efficiency”

    To supply 7,107 islands with electric power, is no easy task for the Filipinos . On many islands there is no power grid at all, but only small diesel generators, and even if there is a network the typical information you will get outside the major cities is: "We have about three hours of power per day electricity. We just do not know which hours." The Philippines are already threatened by earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and floods, and they are among the countries that are hardest hit by the effects of man-made climate change.

    A decentralized system of power seems an obvious solution, and with the high solar radiation (and falling module and rising electricity prices) photovoltaics can play a crucial role. Therefore, the government has recently adopted a system of feed-in and remuneration of PV power, and many companies are waiting in the wings. Very diverse aspects are at stake here such as first-time electrification of remote villages , large solar parks and - in the cities - building-integrated PV.

    On the "Solar Summit" euphoria prevailed. But a sustainable building takes more than the PV system on the roof, as our employee explained in his presentation. If in Metro Manila , a high- rise district after another is pulled high with glass facades , without moving or fixed shading , almost without opaque surfaces without double glazing and without sun protection glasses, then solar furnaces are built , the extremely heat up , and the PV on the roof will never be enough to only supply the cooling power. “There’s more fun in the Philippines”, as the slogan goes – and it was changed to “There’s more sun in the Philippines” on the conference. There are great chances of economic development ahead, but only if the new euphoria for solar power meets with just as much effort in efficiency.

    Please find the conference program here for download.



    23 to 27 April 2012, Mexico City, Mexico
    Conference: Energy Efficiency in Buildings
    Export Initiative of the German Federal Ministery of Economy and Technology


    Presentation by Tobias Bube (Rolf Disch Solar Architecture)
    „Houses as Power Plants“

    Already fourteen months ago, Rolf Disch Solar Architecture was present at a major conference on sustainable building construction in Mexico City – in order to learn about the situation in the country and to explore the market. To introduce the plusenergy house and present the urban planning concepts of the Solar Settlement and the Vauban district in Freiburg.
    At that time, so the impression of the speakers was, no matter how interesting the presentation, no matter how innovative the proposals, really only one thing was being discussed: Why is it that in Mexico it would not work. The climate, the political situation, the lack of expertise, low energy prices, the lack of awareness of the population, the inflexibility of market players, the situation as a developing country - the creativity in finding a thousand counter-arguments, the rhetorical fervor of the "it-will-not-work-out!" were striking.

    Conference: „Energy Efficiency in Buildings”, Hotel Marquis, Mexico City“ (23 - 27 April 2012)

    How completely the overall mood and attitude had changed now, fourteen months later! Sure, the counter-arguments persist, but suddenly more than a dozen architectural firms wanted to discuss with us about possible collaborations. They wanted to know exactly what we do and what of it could be transferred to Mexican conditions - into the very different climatic zones of the country, from tropical in the south, desert climate in the north and temperate highland climate in the central area around Mexico City.
    What had happened? Between the first and second visit, there was the World Climate Conference in Cancún. The Mexican state had organized and hosted this mega event. And while, again, the results in terms of globally binding resolutions may have been frustrating – there has, quite obviously, been an effect: towards the inside, into Mexico, this is where the conference has had an impact.

    Though energy prices are still kept low for the poor lower classes in the rural areas as well as in the rapidly growing cities, and kept at a moderate level for the middle class, the government is no longer willing to highly subsidize the cost of energy for the industry and thus to guarantee U.S. consumers cheap prices - since a considerable part of the production goes into the U.S. market. And whoever can afford a large apartment in the city, even a luxury condo or office in the posh neighborhoods of Polanco, Lomas de Chapultepec and La Condesa, now has to pay realistic market prices for electricity. Which are now almost at German level. Even with raising the price of petrol, the government dares to go up to the threshold of public anger.
    So all of a sudden, it pays off to invest into the energy efficiency of new and existing buildings. All of a sudden, a great state loan program for energy-efficient social housing is placed, the "hipoteca verde" - and the German Agency for International Development has done a fantastic job counseling. All of a sudden, the banks, insurance companies, hotels along the main avenues "Paseo de la Reforma" and "Insurgentes" pay special importance to LEED certification, preferably in gold or platinum - not least for reasons of image.

    Even the photovoltaic panels on the roof, until recently dismissed as uneconomical for the next few decades, suddenly become interesting, because if you buy only a little electricity from the grid, you slip right down several tariff levels, and that may be worth the investment, which might be recouped within only a few years.
    Accordingly, the German speakers and business representatives found an open and attentive audience. Accordingly, the meetings with potential partners were interesting enough, even exciting. Should the next government, which will be elected this year, continue this course, then the Mexican market could become very interesting. First, however, in the upscale segment: the luxurious residential complexes, the industrial and office buildings for international corporations, the major hotel chains. Last but not least Mexico is building up its tourist infrastructure - which brings in more money than the country's industry. Large projects are coming up, as on the Yucatan Peninsula. And here it would be most desirable that they are built carefully, without disturbing the delicate balances of tropical forests and traditional farming.

    Here you find information of the Mexican-German Chamber of Commerce CAMEXA about the conference in Mexico City, including all presentations.

    Here you find information of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology about the “Export Initiative Energy Efficiency”.



    06 December 2011, Houston, Texas, USA
    German Chamber of Commerce Houston (Export Initiative Energy Efficiency)
    Conference „The Future of Green Buildings“

    “The Plusenergy Concept. Buildings as Power Plants”

    Presentation by Tobias Bube (Rolf Disch Solar Architecture)
    „Houses as Power Plants“

    Texas has oil, as everyone knows. But did you know that Texas, despite the still substantial amounts of crude oil production, however, is a net importer of energy? And the building sector makes up for over 40% of the consumption. Because energy-efficient construction is not exactly common practice here. The buildings get cooled by conventional air condition – and even heated with them, if necessary. It is obvious that this has to change. Several German companies presented their products and services on the conference. Rolf Disch Solar Architecture presented the Plusenergy House, the world leading standard – as a goal for a necessary development, which in Texas, however, will still take a lot of time and effort.

    A major issue was the legal minimum standards – which are still far from German EnEV - and the various green labels such as LEED certification. Not only developers, but also the architects oppose any legal requirements, feel patronized and limited in their design options. They do not see that without legal pressure nothing much will be achieved. But maybe this is a German approach, because we have got used to a complex construction law with lots of paragraphs, which would be impossible in a more liberal culture, such as the U.S.

    Rather than opposing those standards and to fighting over petty things and regulation details, Rolf Disch Solar Architecture proposed that the architects should design buildings that go far beyond the statutory minimum goals. Let us set new standards for energy efficient architecture, far beyond of what the bureaucrats have ever dreamt of! Would not that be "an American approach"? To just do it, and set the limits further, rather than losing ourselves in petty discussions?

    Here you find information about the Export Initiative Energy Efficiency by the Federal Ministery of Economy and Technology.



    1 October 2011, Freiburg
    Visit Delegation German-Norwegian Chamber of Commerce
    „Sustainable Building Design. Architecture and Technology“



    Design of the first zero energy house in Trondheim (Norway)

    22 September 2011, Oslo, Norway
    Conference: Nullenergibygg – utopi eller snart standard? / Zero Energy building – Utopia oder the next standard?
    Grønn Byggallianse / Green Building Alliance


    Presentation by Tobias Bube (Rolf Disch Solar Architecture)
    „The Plusenergy Experience“

    Norway, so the common joke goes, is sheikdom strangely located up in the north. It is rich in oil. And rich because of oil. At the same time, water power is used, and as in all of Scandinavia, renewable energies are taken seriously.

    Although Norway is not part of the European Union, the conference of the "Green Building Alliance" dealt with the European Building Directive 2010: After 2020 all new buildings must reduce their energy consumption massively – probably in passive house manner. And additionally, most of the energy still consumed must be provided by regenerative sources, and by the building itself. The architects of the alliance have long known how to do it. The know-how is available. Norwegians never want to fall behind the rest of Europe. In fact, Norway is way ahead of many, probably most of the EU member states.

    The problems are obvious, however: less sunlight and higher heating demands than in the rest of Europe. And a construction boom, not only in Oslo, but also in other urban centers in the country, in which investors seek still far too little for a building adapted to the climate: the will and skill on the part of the planners, to do everything to mitigate climate change. But the immense building activities still is creating facts that conflict with the good intentions.



    9 September 2011, Kazan, Rep. Tatarstan, Russia
    Conference: Energy Efficiency
    Minitery of Energy, Tatarstan


    Presentation by Tobias Bube (Rolf Disch Solar Architecture)
    "The Plusenergy Experience“


    Kazan, the Tatar capital - since the invasion of the Golden Horde, a thousand years ago. This is still Europe, just west of the Urals, and 500 kilometers east of Moscow on the Volga. And even here, in one of the Russian centers for natural gas and petroleum, the authorities have started thinking about what may come after oil, and how to become more energy-efficient.

    The Energy Ministers of the Republic of Tatarstan had summoned the young engineer elite of the country. In order to discuss new developments in the technology of heat supply for buildings. Several papers grappled with the situation of centralized district heating networks – which are common throughout Russia. They date back to Soviet times, and if the lines were insulated at all, these materials are largely rotten. And the lines themselves, often conducted above ground, are all too often dilapidated as well.


    Many companies, including German firms, press on the market with solutions of decentral heat supply – quite unusual for Russia. They offer gas heaters for individual flats, and not necessarily of the most advanced technology. They offer it to those who can afford their own private supply system and who want to escape the crumbling central systems. Energy efficiency has little to do with it.

    Plusenergy, the idea was unheard of for the young engineers. They were listening, attentively, fascinated as to what in other parts of Europe is already possible. But does it also work here, in the Volga region? In the long, cold winters, where the ground freezes, down several meters? At relatively low intensity of solar radiation due to the almost permanent cloud cover in summer?

    The Minister of Energy in any case proved extremely interested, especially in entirely energy self-sufficient solutions, and over dinner discussed possible pilot projects.




    18 July 2011, Freiburg
    Delegation Universidade de Brasilia
    “The Plusenergy Experience”



    5 July 2011, Freiburg
    Bürgerinitiative “Pro Kulturhauptstadt Freiburg”
    “Culture and Sustainability – Culture of Sustainability”



    30 October 2010, Freiburg
    Open University “Regio Forum” Freiburg
    “New Building Construction and Renovation in Freiburg – What next?”



    22 October 2010, Pamplona, Spain
    CIBARQ10, the IV Conference of Architecture, Cities, and Energy

    Lecture by Bert Wasmer (Rolf Disch Solar Architecture)
    "Solar architecture as an answer to the global challenge - planning strategies and building design"

    “Energy is a vital resource, the raw material of human activity that is gradually becoming more important in society. At CENER (Centro Nacional de Energías Renovables) we are convinced that a sustainable future inevitably implies a balance between human activity and the capacity to regenerate the ecosystems that support this activity. This debate has a direct influence on the way we understand our cities and the way we live in them.

    CIBARQ10, the IV Conference of Architecture, Cities, and Energy, is being consolidated as an open and critical forum of reflection on this balance, which describes us the different connections between the elements that make up The City – public space, buildings, infrastructures, and people – and the need for its rearrangement in search of a more efficient, more human, and healthier model.”

    We agree with this manifest of CENER, and are we happy to be invited to hold a presentation on the CIBARQ10 conference: “Renewable Energy in urban areas. The Freiburg case”.

    And we are really inspired by the creative way of rethinking traffic on the conference homepage: Klick here www.cibarq.com – then click on the red TV screen. - Viva la Ciudad!



    16 October 2010, Freiburg
    Visit „British Academy of Urbanism“
    “Energy Efficiency and Solar Architecture”



    14 September 2010, Mexico City
    Stakeholder Meeting „Energieeffizientes Bauen“ GOPA & INFONAVIT
    „The Challenges of the Vauban Quarter, of Solar Architecture and of PV Community Schemes"




    The Mexican president Felipe Calderón supports sustainable housing through a state fund.

    10 September 2010, World Trade Centre, Mexico City
    Presentation on the Second International Forum for Sustainable Residential Construction (Segundo Foro Internacional de Vivienda Sustenable)

    Also in developing countries there are a lot of interesting approaches to sustainable building construction. Because there is a lot more building activity than in the saturated “Western” nations, and because there are great problems with urban growth, social upheaval, air pollution, waste, traffic and not least with the energy supply.

    The Instituto del Fondo Nacional de la Vivienda para los Trabajadores (Institute of the National Domestic Construction Fund for the Workers) – about 10 % of all Mexicans live in houses and flats financed by that fund – organize their second international sustainability conference – in this special year of the bicentennial of Mexico’s independence. The topic: “The return to the city quarter.”

    Rolf Disch SolarArchitecture have been invited to present architecture and urban planning of the Vauban quarter, and especially of the Solar Settlement in Freiburg. Following a second presentation for a number of building development companies, concrete possibilities of transfer, implementation and cooperation will be discussed.

    Please find the presentation for download here.

    Please see the address by the Mexican President at the First Sustainability Forum.





    28 July 2010, Freiburg
    Visit Delegation Building & Construction Authority, Singapore
    “Rolf Disch Solar Architecture”



    10 June 2010, Freiburg, Heliotrope
    Delegation Daikin Europe
    “The Plusenergy Experience”



    4 June 2010, Freiburg
    Delegation “Landsea China” (Building Developer)
    “Solar Architecture. Design, Technology, Financing, Marketing"



    17 – 19 May 2010, Dezhou, VR China
    Himin Solar, Workshop
    „Solar Architecture: Technology“
    „Solar Architecture: Design“
    “Solar architecture: Urban Planning”
    “Cooperation between Architects and Engineers/Consultants”
    “Sustainable Architecture and Marketing”
    “Sustainable Architecture, Politics, and Regulations in Germany



    29 March 2010, Beijing
    6th International Conference on Green and Energy-Efficient Building & New Technologies and Products Expo

    Presentation by Tobias Bube (Rolf Disch Solar Architecture)
    „Energy scenarios with 100 % regenerative energy - The Plus Energy house”

    On the occasion of the 6th International Conference for Green and Energy Efficient Building, hosted by the Minister of Building of the PR of China in the “International Convention Centre” (facing the spectacular, yet not altogether sustainable architecture of the Beijing Olympia “bird’s nest” stadium), there were no less than three completely “German” panels, arranged by the German Association for Technical Cooperation (GTZ), the Chamber of Foreign Commerce / Econet China, and the German Energy Agency (dena).

    German know-how is obviously highly esteemed in this area of engineering and commerce. And vice versa, cooperating with China and backing up its efforts to implement green technologies is top-ranking for German political institutions, as the undersecretary of state (BMVBS), Jan Muecke, expressed and as Stephan Kohler, president of dena, enthusiastically reaffirmed. The mutual interest is obvious enough – gaining know-how here, selling know-how there.

    Congress "Energy Efficiency in Building - Quality Made in Germany" in Beijing

    Yet, such occasions are worth the money invested into hotel bills and gala dinners, only if the know-how-transfer finds its strange and hidden ways also into contacts among those companies and individuals who really want to engage into the actual give-and-take. Conferences, if you attend them, are strange occasions. Be prepared to meet strange people, and uninteresting people, and to meet the best people where you do not expect them. Be prepared to go to a Beijing Sanlitun Soho club after the reception at the German embassy, and find out, as a businessman (or a politician), who among those businessmen (and politicians) is really serious not only about business – fair enough! – but also about going for the best solution, going to take the risk and share the great chances of moving a great step forward together, for the sake of the economic AND the ecological value of it all.

    Rolf Disch Solar Architecture were invited to give a presentation on some of our past and ongoing projects and concepts. It was interesting to listen to the presentations about feasibility studies of what can technically be done in China now (for example by the CEO of “MUDI”, a German-Chinese architectural office based in Shanghai, specializing as a cross-cultural partner and at the same time in trend-setting sustainability issues). And about what is actually being realized, like the reconstruction of a school building in Mianyang – in the earthquake area in western China –, supported by “dena”.

    All in all, so it seems, China is as yet far away from high efficiency standards – but this is so with most German new developments, too. The interest is there, and it is immense. Expectations as to high residential thermal comfort are rising, setting off in the rapidly growing middle class. The Chinese Minister of Building pleaded for keeping those expectations low, rightly pointing at the consequences: Chinese utilities companies cannot possibly supply the demand. And if they tried to, that would mean a gigantic increase in environmental damage. So the building skins must improve along with the energy efficiency of the building equipment instalments. China has the biggest players for PV and solar thermal collectors manufacturing in the world. But the building industry lacks basic skills in planning and – even more severely – in construction execution.

    Dr. Tobias Bube from "Rolf Disch SolarArchitektur" in Beijing

    The Minister will most probably not succeed in preventing the growing class of potential owners of inefficient air-con to just buy it, install it and use precious electricity for heating and cooling. Unless energy efficiency in the building skin reduces the consumption. At the present stage, it is extremely important to have pilot projects. Nothing fancy, but also not small scale single homes projects, since what is typically being built is high rise large scale developments with several hundred flats at a time.

    German architectural know-how at its best could make a contribution in terms of energetic design at all phases, starting from relating the pre-design phase to an overall energy or even broader sustainability concept; then optimising facades and floor plans from the scratch; then carrying the energy efficiency impetus through all design phases into detail planning – an absolutely crucial issue. After that, engineers and craftsmen are needed on the spot to supervise the works. And talking about 1000 flats plus X, sustainable urban planning is another issue that remained largely disregarded, not only on this Beijing conference.

    All this is, of course, completely out of the financial reach for the usual Chinese building project. And German architects would ruin their business in China, if they were to insist. Yet – and this is quite like at home in Germany – if a large private or a semi-private half municipal developer takes the task seriously and wants to secure the survival not only of the planet but also of his business in the long run, by acquiring some avant-garde knowledge and by being just a few years ahead of his competitors, it might prove to be a good investment to go all the way.

    The Beijing conference made clear enough that any really ambitious and promising project might well find substantial support by our government or by the European Union. It also made clear enough that there are more than just a few Chinese companies exactly on the verge, on the jump.

    It is, so it seems, a question of weeks and months rather than of years and decades. Quite obviously, both sides are hungry to make sustainable business together. Let’s add just a little more readiness to take the risk on both sides. Let’s also add a little more pressure on energy prices. And let’s add a little more entrepreneurial responsibility for the planet we share. We are just a second away from the most fruitful wedding of the most dynamic building market with the most advanced engineering know-how.

    Please find below the Beijing power-point-presentation in Chinese and English.

    Chinese Power-Point-Presentation
    (pdf, 40 pages, Chinese)


    English Power-Point-Presentation
    (pdf, 40 pages, English)




    14 March 2010, Shanghai
    Goethe Institute / General Consulate Shanghai
    Seminar Urban Academy EXPO 2010

    „Sustainable Architecture and Urban Planning“
    „The Plusenergy House“



    3 December 2009, Palhoça, Brasil
    Pedra Branca Project Architect
    “Plusenergy in Brazil?”



    2 December 2009, Florianopolis, Brasil
    Konferenz-Workshop
    “What could be done in German-Brazilian Cooperations?”



    1 December 2009, Florianopolis, Brasil
    Conference Universidad Federal de Santa Catarina
    „Energia Solar Fotovoltaica Integrada à Edificação”

    “Plusenergy and BIPV from a Design Perspective”



    19 June 2009, Beirut, Lebanon
    Lebanon Council for Energy Conservation
    „Sustainability Week“
    „Energy Plus Buildings. The Rolf Disch Experience“
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    Booking lectures

    The interest in measures against the impacts of climate change is consistently growing. Of course it isn’t easy to filter out the true, established technical information from the thicket of daily information.

    For policy and management, for professional organizations, lobby groups and for all other interested groups, Rolf Disch Solar Architecture offers lectures that deal with ecological building.


    Possible Lecture Topics

    - Rolf Disch Solar Architecture – report on our projects
    - Building with the sun
    - Energy scenarios– 100 % regenerative energy
    - The Plusenergiehaus® - concept and technology
    - PlusEnergy -Projects: Heliotrope, Solar Settlement, Sun Ship
    - Capital rerouting – future investments in sustainability
    - Ecology and economy – costs / uses
    - Financing concepts for sustainable building
    - Marketing concepts for ecological real estate
    - The Plusenergiehaus® in every community
    - Sustainable housing community concepts
    - PlusEnergy-Cities – PlusEnergy-Regions
    - Solar commercial and administrative building
    - Transportation concepts – Zero Emission Mobility
    - Modular building
    - Sustainable buildings with wood
    - Using healthier building materials
    - “Green-roofing”
    - Water management with residential community building
    - Vacuum-insulation
    - Latent heat storage system (PCM device)
    - Multigenerational-living
    - Living and working


    Further topics can be arranged. The lectures can be given in our architecture office lecture rooms (up to 100 people) or at your international location. Lectures can be given either by Mr. Disch himself or his colleagues.

    Honorarium available by request


    For booking information please inquire at:

    vortraege@rolfdisch.de
    or call at: 0761 / 459 44 36


    Rolf Disch talking about the Solar Settlement and the Sun Ship (5.20 Min.)