Good Practice > Buildings > Renovation primary school Mähdle, Wolfurt

Renovation primary school Mähdle, Wolfurt

Region: Vorarlberg, Austria
Implemented on: Local level
Target group: Building stakeholders


After 35 years of use the elementary school Mähdle in Wolfurt, Austria was redesigned and renovate in 2009 to meet current and future demands of everyday school life. The renovation included wide-ranged thermal energy improvements to the building envelope aimed at bringing it up to passive house standards, and an increase in the building`s compactness, something normally difficult to achieve with an existing building. Adhering to passive house standards as closely as possible is a requirement for the building-related zero energy balance. The hot water and heating energy demands of the school were reduced by about one quarter thanks to a large area of solar thermal collectors, while a ground source heat pump covers the remaining energy requirements. In the annual balance, a photovoltaic array on the roof of the school building offsets the electricity consumption of the heat pumps and other technical plants and of a neighbouring fire station for the town of Wolfurt, erected at the same time as the renovation of the school. (Text. Detail, Green books “Net Zero Energy Buildings” Karsten Voss, Eike Musall)


  • Contributing to energy, climate and environmental targets;
  • Realising a building with high energy performance and a healthy indoor climate;
  • Taking the lead as municipality in innovative energy efficient building processes.


  • Total cost: The total building cost were 3,8 Mil. €, 936€/m³ BRI
  • Financing: local authority and the land.


  • A building with an energy demand of 15 kWh/(m²a);
  • The targets of the ecological program were met;
  • Published in “Zero energy building” of University of Wuppertal

Lessons learnt:

  • A good cooperation between architect and mayor in an ambitious community were the basis for success;
  • The building is a very good example for a passive house standard in renovation combined with PV plant.