Good Practice > Strategies > Sustainable Buildings for Communities

Advisory service package “Sustainable Buildings for Communities”

Region: Vorarlberg
Implemented on: Regional level
Target group: Local authorities, planners and craftsmen


Since 2006, the Umweltverband Vorarlberg runs together with the partners Energy Institute Vorarlberg and Spektrum GmbH the advisory service “Nachhaltig:Bauen in der Gemeinde” (sustainable construction in municipalities). The Umweltverband Vorarlberg is a public authority held by all 96 municipalities in the Province of Vorarlberg. Contents of the advisory service:  Coaching of public building owners, planners and craftsmen during the whole planning and building process of energy efficient and ecological public buildings.


  • Reducing heat demand in new and renovated public buildings to passive house level;
  • Reducing primary energy to passive house level;
  • Supporting the use of renewable energy for heating and the implementation of solar plants to produce energy;
  • Construct buildings with less embedded energy, avoid poisonous materials and to strengthen the use of local, renewable products.


  • The community pays about 1% of the building costs for the coaching service;
  • The builder pays the worked hours of the 3 partners;
  • Each public building is accompanied by an expert for public procurement, an architect or building service engineer specialized on energy efficiency and a building physicist specialized on ecological materials..


  • 46 public buildings, half new constructed, half renovated in or close to passive house standard and measured air quality;

Lessons learnt:

  • The service has not been not properly evaluated, so since 2011 an evaluation tool is connected with the funding;
  • Pollution levels in conventional new buildings or refurbishments is up to 10 times higher than for ecological optimized buildings;
  • In a new building with ecological materials the generated additional costs are only about 1-2% higher. The additional costs of increased energy efficiency pay for themselves.