SAT.1 reports how a revolutionary zero-carbon, “sustainable” green home went from being an example for the future of green home architecture, to a hazardous waste site in just a matter of months.
2.4 million euro dream
The “unique” self-reliant house located in Lippstadt, Germany, was constructed entirely of “organic materials”, costing 2.4 million euros ($2.6 million). Building began in 2014. However during 2015 the house became completely infested with dangerous mold — and has since been condemned and now will need to be gutted out.
Initially the house had been the dream of its owners, Lars and Antje Rühe. Today, having put the family’s wealth into the house, the Rühe’s now find themselves on the brink of financial and marital ruin, SAT.1 reports.
Rain soaked during construction
The house is equipped with its own water supply, solar power, and a battery storage system costing over 100,000 euros and is capable of storing power for months. During the course of construction, the organic wood-based material used for insulating the house in place of traditional fiberglass got soaked with rainwater and quickly became a hotbed for mold.
Now a hazardous material site
The mold and its spores spread through the entire building and contaminated the insulation, which now has to be removed piece by piece and disposed of as hazardous material. So toxic did the house become that it had to be fenced off to keep the public off limits. Two million spores were measured in the air of the house – the limit is only 200.
Things got far worse: In order to keep the dangerous spores from making the neighbors ill, it is now deemed necessary to build an airtight, vacuum enclosure structure around the entire house – all equipped with an air filtering system. That alone, according to SAT.1, will run another half a million euros.
To be demolished, handled as hazardous waste
It’s not even sure if the house can be salvaged at all. According to the engineer who designed the home’s energy system, “every part will need to be packed and sealed, and then disposed of as hazardous waste“.
Germany’s No.1 daily Bild writes here that the house will in fact need to be demolished, which will cost 50,000 euros.
Next comes the legal battle to determine exactly who is responsible for the debacle. Apparently the building crew covered the house with a large tarp during its construction, but according to SAT.1, it leaked and the organic insulation soaked the water up “like a sponge“.