Up-scaling and mainstreaming sustainable building practices in western China
Up-scaling and mainstreaming sustainable building practices in western China 

The recyclable building










West elevation of the R128 House

Source: UT Solar Decathlon 2009 Werner Sobek.

An example of a fully recyclable building is that of the R128 House in Germany. Located in the southern city of Stuttgart it was designed and built in 2000 by the German architect and engineer Werner Sobek. This building was designed pertaining to the „Triple Zero‟ concept of Werner Sobek’s. This is a fully sustainable concept with the buildings built to be a Zero Energy, Zero Emission and Zero Waste.


Built on a small and steep piece of land, it is completely glazed and has no interior walls giving the user the impression that they are living in nature. The building also demonstrates re-source light construction through the choice and use of materials as well as the innovative design needed to develop resource-efficient buildings. The building was built using an innovative modular design and a prefabricated construction. This allowed it not only to be built quickly but allows for a complete recycling. Columns and beams were bolted on-site and the floors were prefabricated plastic covered wood panels, placed between the beams without screws or bolts making the recyclability easier. The primary structure rests on 12 bolted steel columns linked by rails in two directions. The secondary structure is that of the triple-glazed windows of the façade. This system allowed for a reduction of materials used. All elements, load bearing and non-loading bearing as well as the façade are constructed either through screws or bolts and if not through other easy to separate connections. There was no plastering use and also no composite materials. This allows a complete deconstruction to the single elements. Designed to cleverly use passive solar gains the building is a zero-energy house generating all the energy it needs producing zero CO2 emissions. Electricity is provided by photovoltaic cells.