I spend all day in Gelting at the Fairhaus. Stephan explained me how they try to make the accommodation as sustainable as possible. I was quite impressed.
Energy, heat, water and food are the most important things when it comes to housing. When they started this project in 2002 they already tried to make all those aspects as sustainable as possible. And it was a big challenge as it was an old farm with poor isolation.
They produce energy with 110M2 solar panels and 20M2 solar thermal collectors. They have a big battery of 42KWh to store energy where 21KWh is used effectively to not damage the battery. An intelligent energy system makes a balance of when to give back energy to the grid and when to take energy from it. Last year the Fairhouse needed 25.336KWh. With the solar panels they produce 13.000 KWh annually, 27.000KWh is produced by the two heat and power plants. In total 41.080 KWh was produced last year. 20.000 KWh was provided back to the grid and they only took 4.838 KWh from it, which is quite impressive considering the size of the accommodation.
The Fairhause’s car fleet consists of three electric cars: a Zoe, a Think City and what they call the ‘E-Wolf’: an converted Fiat Panda. The cars can be charged with type 2, CEE 32A and 16A on 43KWh max and is free for customers.
The water in the Fairhouse has four life cycles, fresh from the shower is collected into a drain where the solid water is naturally cleaned by wastewater treatment plants and becoming liquid. The liquid water then goes to a wetland where it slowly drops into the ground and as it goes through sand and plants it gets clean to the level of bathing water. The 2nd lifecycle is used to flush the toilets, the third for the washing machine and the fourth and final lifecycle for gardening. It takes two years for the solid water to get a clean, the cycle of liquid water only a day. This way around 50% of the water is reused. Sometimes water from the regular system is used as back-up, last year it was not necessary, in 2014 only one week.
The food served at breakfast is organic and locally produced. The owner Uta makes her own jams and bread. The breakfast is well portioned and rather refilled on request instead of thrown away. Plastic won’t be found as they only use glass bottles which are re-used. Coffee waste is used as a barrier to keep snails away from the garden.
The many necessities used throughout the apartments are recycled or upcycled. Old towels are recycled to bathmaths, old sheets to roll bags.
Janbeck’s Fairhouse has been very interesting for me as this was really the first time that I saw that it’s possible to reduce the carbon footprint to nearby 0. I thought it was hard for a normal house but for a accommodation of this size I couldn’t even imagine being it this impressive. It really is an eyeopener and a great example of how sustainability in the recreation sector can be applied.