OPENLY builds first house with its net-zero construction system

An apartment building is being built in Widnau in the canton of St.Gallen that is not only CO2-neutral, but also climate positive in operation. This achievement is thanks to the OPENLY construction system. OPENLY developed in-house any building materials and components that were not yet available.

An apartment building is being built in Widnau using the OPENLY construction system. Image credit: OPENLY
An apartment building is being built in Widnau using the OPENLY construction system. Image credit: OPENLY

OPENLY says it is setting several records with its first construction project. The company, which is part of Dade Design Holding, is currently completing a 19-apartment building in Widnau using its OPENLY construction system. According to a statement, the construction is net-zero. Thanks to building software developed in-house, the structure will even be climate positive during operation. For example, it will produce more energy than it consumes, thereby saving 300 tons of CO2.

Any building materials and parts that are not yet available on the market – such as the automatic ventilation flaps in the windows – were developed in-house. A total of 400 cubic meters of hempcrete and 2,600 square meters of hemp bricks were used, as well as 1,000 cubic meters of OPENLY’s own plant-based carbon concrete. Twelve tons of steel girders came from a demolished building, and the reinforcing steel is also 100 per cent recycled.

The 400 tons of clay fill in the ceilings form natural heat reservoirs, and the specially developed kitchens are also CO2-neutral. Thanks to proprietary building software, the use of energy in the building is intelligently automated. As OPENLY founder and CEO Andy Keel explains, OPENLY is developing “a bionic building system based on the intelligence of nature” that will be used by property developers and architects. At the same time, according to Keel, “we advise and support companies and investment funds on the path to ESG-compliant construction projects that not only make bad things better, but also have a genuinely positive impact on the climate."

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