The Heliotrope is an environmentally friendly house designed by the German architect Rolf Disch who also designed the Sonnenschiff (Sun Ship). Three such houses exist in Germany, the first experimental version having been built in 1994 as the architect's home in Freiburg im Breisgau, while the other two are used as exhibition buildings for the Hansgrohe company in Offenburg and a dentist's lab in Hilpoltstein in Bavaria. The Heliotrope in Freiburg was the first building in the world to create more energy than it uses, of which is entirely renewable, emissions free and CO2 neutral. The structure physically rotates to track the sun, which allows it to harness the maximum natural sunlight and warmth possible. Several different energy generation modules are used in the building including a 603 sq ft (56.0 m2) dual-axis solar photovoltaic tracking panel, a geothermal heat exchanger, a combined heat and power unit (CHP) and solar-thermal balcony railings to provide heat and warm water. These innovations in combination with the superior insulation of the residence allow the Heliotrope to produce anywhere between four to six times its energy usage depending on the time of year. The Heliotrope is also fitted with a grey-water cleansing system and built-in natural waste composting.
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Freiburg im Breisgau