Select your language

Learn more!


International university competition Solar Decathlon Europe

esb boards are made of fresh wood, you can smell the
difference (Photo: Johannes Riedel)

Included: the healthy and sustainable esb-PLUS panels from elka


Sustainable housing and living in the city - this is the motto under which the renowned university competition will be held in Germany for the first time in the summer of 2022. The city of Wuppertal will host the grand finale and from June 10 to 26, 2022, the visionary ideas of the 18 teams from 11 countries can be admired. The designs of the universities will be presented as functional prototypes - and four of the 18 teams will be using esb-PLUS panels from elka-Holzwerke in Rhineland-Palatinate.

Wuppertal/Morbach. Living in urban environments is becoming more and more popular, and with less and less free space. In this area of tension, ideas are in demand; even the smallest gaps between buildings can be creatively used as living space, or existing townhouses can multiply their living space by adding storeys in a light timber construction. The materials used are of decisive importance here. They must be lightweight, meet structural requirements, be as free as possible from pollutants, and be easily recyclable. At the end of the day, the building's carbon footprint should be as small as possible to take climate change into account. With the esb-PLUS board, Elka-Holzwerke from Morbach in Rhineland-Palatinate have developed a product that perfectly meets the requirements for healthy and sustainable construction. The innovative in-house development is pressed only from regional fresh wood, most of which is produced in the local sawmill. The family-owned company is known in the industry as an eco-pioneer and so four of the 18 teams decided to use esb-PLUS boards in their prototypes.

The X4S team at Biberach University of Applied Sciences

"Extension for Sustainability" is the motto of the interdisciplinary team from the courses of study architecture, project management, timber construction, civil and energy engineering of the University of Applied Sciences Biberach from Upper Swabia, which is highly renowned for construction professions. "Team X4S" is thus written on the shirts of the students, because "stocking up for more sustainability" is their mission. In June, they will face the jury in ten disciplines: architecture, building technology and building physics, energy performance, feasibility and socio-economic context, communication and education, sustainability, comfort, function, urban mobility and innovation are their criteria, which the jurors will put through their paces.
Their object is Café Ada, a multicultural meeting place in the Mirke district of Wuppertal. The project, which the team developed step by step in two Corona years under difficult conditions, is ambitious: Using timber construction, they plan to add four stories to the two-story flat-roofed building and turn its grounds into a model for sustainable urban living and working. From contemporary architecture to sustainable building materials, effective fire protection, solid statics, innovative insulation, smart energy supply and the flat roof that acts as a retention basin in the event of heavy rain, the project has been thought through in detail.

The team's contribution takes up the urban development trend of reconciling social issues with technical and urban development issues in neighborhoods: Using, expanding and adding on to existing buildings, as well as creating more living space on sites through redensification. For example, the team from Biberach University of Applied Sciences envisions less living space per person and, on the other hand, more communal areas such as co-working zones or a roof garden. A mobility hub on the 1000-square-meter site will enable sustainable intermodal mobility with sharing models or charging stations.


Team X4S uses the esb panels for the enclosure of the technology module (photo above Team X4S, photo left Johannes Riedel)

The quasi-zero emissions and environmental certifications of elka products immediately convinced immediately convinced the team at Biberach University

The technical-structural details of the planning are also impressive: "PV modules on the roof and on the facades, the simultaneous use of direct and alternating current, wood fiber insulation in the walls, split in the floor as insulation for heat and impact sound, and much more give the new Café Ada passive house standard," explains Professor Andreas Gerber from the energy engineers, who advises the team.
The trip to Wuppertal will be time-consuming. This is because the competition task for the team is to present one floor of the project in Wuppertal in working order. In recent months, the students have therefore been doing more work than research: they have prefabricated the floor so that walls, floors, ceilings, building services and recycled furniture can arrive in modules on several trucks in the Bergisches Land region before the end of May, where they can be assembled and installed and then inspected by the jury in June.

"The best thing is that we are building everything ourselves - from the bed to the walls to the roof waterproofing," says project leader, master's student Lena Frühschütz, and speaks of an "enormous team spirit and experience" that unites the various courses of study under the roof of the new Café Ada. However, the team cannot manage this mammoth task entirely without outside support. It has also sought sponsors: elka-Holzwerke has contributed its esb PLUS panels for the enclosures of the technical modules, as well as its vita natural wood panels for ladder beams. The team was immediately convinced by the quasi-zero emissions and environmental certifications of the elka products: "They are also thin and therefore lighter, because every kilogram and every centimeter counts during transport," says Frühschütz. The cooperation worked perfectly, she adds: "The contact was totally uncomplicated and friendly, the deliveries came quickly and always in line with our processes." So anticipation and excitement are now high among the team. The award ceremony on June 24 will show whether this design with value from the students from Biberach can also become a design with a prize.


The competition design by Team X4S of Biberach University of Applied Sciences: Café Ada is a multicultural meeting place in the Mirke district of Wuppertal. (Animation Team X4S)

The following teams were equipped with esb-PLUS panels from elka:
Biberach University of Applied Sciences | Team X4S
Rosenheim University of Applied Sciences | Team LevelUp
Stuttgart University of Applied Sciences | Team ColLab
Aachen University of Applied Sciences | Team Local +


Further information about esb PLUS can be found >>here<<


All information about the Solar Decathlon competition can be found >>here<<

Sawn timber and wood-based materials
in perfection - since 1906


Subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on social media!




© 2024 · elka-Holzwerke GmbH · D-54497 Morbach