Bahnstadt District

Urban Development and the Passive House Standard

Bahnstadt is the world’s largest passive house settlement: 
From apartments and laboratories to shops, daycare facilities and schools, even the fire station and cinema – everything is built in compliance with the climate-friendly passive house design. Covering 116 hectares in total, the district is almost as big as Hamburg’s HafenCity. Project term: 2008 to 2022

100% sustainable:
All power and heat is supplied entirely from renewable energies.

Revitalized brownfield site: 
Bahnstadt is built on the site of a former freight and marshaling depot and on land formerly used by the US Army in the southwest of central Heidelberg.

In terms of sustainability, Bahnstadt is pursuing an ambitious concept. Heidelberg’s newest district is home to nothing less than the world’s largest passive house settlement. All buildings in the new district are constructed in compliance with the strict “passive house” energy efficiency standard. The energy requirements for properties designed in this way are 50-80% lower than with conventional types of residential buildings. Energy monitoring in Bahnstadt by the Passive House Institute in Darmstadt shows that targets are being met. The residential buildings studied require on average just 54 kilowatt hours per square meter per year of district heating for all applications (heating, hot water, distribution and storage losses) – a very respectable carbon footprint.

Wood-powered CHP plant supplies renewable energy

Any remaining heat and power requirements are covered through environmentally responsible means. A wood-powered CHP plant in the neighboring district of Pfaffengrund supplies Bahnstadt with district heating from 100% renewable energy. That benefits not only the environment. It means passive house residents are also largely immune to fluctuations in energy prices. In a survey, Bahnstadt residents declared themselves very satisfied with living in passive houses, with the air quality, and with the ambient temperatures in winter.

“Smart” electricity meters keep energy consumption transparent

Bahnstadt households are also all equipped with smart electricity meters to improve energy efficiency; these provide constant updates on energy consumption and costs arising. The city of Heidelberg has also developed a power saving concept to improve energy efficiency in the district for all Bahnstadt residents, investors, and planners. The concept is designed for construction planning as well as for subsequent use.

A further component of energy efficiency and sustainability is the street lighting concept in the new district. LED lamps and a telemanagement system, which enables lighting to be adapted to actual requirements, ensure comparatively low energy usage in this area too.

Integrated public transport network

The public transport network in Heidelberg is closely integrated. There are numerous buses and trams linking individual districts with each other and with the city center. A new 2.2-km stretch of track with three barrier-free tram stops connects Bahnstadt to the Heidelberg tram network.

Getting around by bicycle

The bicycle is the vehicle of choice among Heidelbergers. That’s why the city is rapidly expanding the existing 120 kilometers of cycleways – including in Bahnstadt, where 3.5 kilometers of cycle paths are to be created. There are already numerous cycleways and footpaths linking the new district with other parts of the city, and cyclists can get to the city center in around ten minutes. By the end of 2019, the Gneisenaubrücke bridge will provide cyclists and pedestrians with a new crossing over the railway tracks to Bergheim. The bridge is a central component in the key cycle path route linking southern districts of the city with Neuenheimer Feld.