A wooden house with remote control

On the outside the architect Alexandra Schmitz’ two-story home looks surprisingly unspectacular. The dark wood façade, for which Douglas fir was used, the spacious wooden terrace, and the classic saddle roof blend in effortlessly with the rural surroundings. But there is something that at first sight visitors would never guess: The architect’s residence is full of technical sophistication, is networked throughout and as a KfW Efficiency House 55 is a winner in terms of energy consumption – thanks to solar panels on the roof, well insulated walls, and networked building communication by Gira.

Schmitz built the two-story wooden house, which boasts a terrace, garden and swimming pool, according to her own design on a 536-square-meter plot of land. Wood defines not only the façade, but also the spacious rooms on the inside. Oak parquet flooring on both levels and wooden furniture make the bright and, for the most part, open areas on the ground floor feel warm and cozy. The building services engineering is operated out of sight in the background and features all manner of comforts for the residents: The wall-mounted “Gira G1 touch sensor” for KNX systems can be used to switch the lighting in the house on or off at the tap of a finger, likewise the sockets for stand-by appliances and audio systems.

Thanks to the clear status display on the operating device, the architect has a handle on control of the blinds, the ambient temperature, and the door communication system. If, for example, it is showing that a window in the house is still open, she can close it using a smartphone or tablet, even when she is on the move. Yet she intended her home to be not only comfortable, but primarily sustainable. The energy generated by the solar panels can be used to heat the floor, domestic water, and the pool. A thermostat measures the temperatures and distributes the heat as required, such that no energy is wasted. Furthermore, on particularly hot summer days automatic shading of the windows keeps the rooms cool. The “Gira HomeServer”, the brain behind the entire building services engineering, handles all the data; the perfect interplay between all the components gives Schmitz solar and internal gains of 47,7 kWh/m²a per year. (sb)


Wood on the outside, smart on the inside: The home of architect Alexandra Schmitz in Oberbergisches Land is based on an extremely energy-efficient and cost-conscious design. Wood as a natural construction wood predominates in the interior: oak parquet and wooden furniture create a homely, warm mood here.
All photos © Ulrich Beuttenmüller for Gira
The ground-floor living quarters are primarily open in plan and the spacious windows thus suffuse the interior with daylight.
Gira in-wall radios provide the entertainment in the kitchen and bathroom – along with the docking station for the iPhone.
A KNX system inter-connects all the facilities technology components. Using the “Gira G1 Touchdisplay” you can, for example control the lights and blinds. Adjust the room temperature or operate the door intercom and lock.
The architect designed the slender bathroom window such as to offer a view out over marvelous green fields but to ward off inquisitive eyes.
On the upper floor, the dark wood paneling references the façade design. “In energy terms, wood is a good choice, and you also don’t need to wait for the concrete to set as would otherwise be the case,” the architect comments.
Thanks to solar panels on the roof and intelligent controls, the floor, the hot water and the pool are heated as required and efficiently.
Everything at a glance: The “Gira HomeServer App” enables you to operate the house controls when on the road. Inhabitants can thus check whether a window has been left open or the lights on.
Left: Schmitz had motion detectors put in the ceiling. Together with the window and door contacts and interconnected by the “Gira HomeServer” they form part of the alarm system. Right: Gira "TX_44" switches with an enhanced aluminum-color finish that is proof against all types of weather.
All electricity-consuming devices throughout the house can be off’d with the touch of a finger – either by floor or for the entire building.
Did you leave the ceiling light on in the living room, forget to let the blinds down, or turn on the stand-by settings at the power sockets? All building functions are displayed such as to be readily visible.