Get to the top sparingly
The first zero-energy high-rise in the world stands on the shores of Lake Constance: In idyllic Radolfzell architect Norman Räffle has converted the former water tower into an energy-efficient design hotel. The “AquaTurm Hotel plus Energie” produces electricity completely independently as it relies exclusively on regenerative energy sources. During the eight years required for the conversion, the project received support from the Federal Ministry of the Environment as a demonstration plant.
Guests reach the 20 rooms with their panorama view are reached using a Schindler 5500 elevator. The cabin design reflects the tower’s techy outside appearance: It consists entirely of stainless steel, with futuristic ceilings and energy-saving LEDs, emphasizing not only a sense of security but of aesthetic appeal, too. As regards efficiency and eco-awareness, the elevator is certainly a match for the building: The weight of the drives and suspension media has been reduced by 50 percent compared to customary plant using steel cables, thus minimizing the energy consumption. To this end, the elevator relies on energy recovery to transform braking energy into power. Thanks to this technology, it requires 30 percent less energy than conventional elevators. Yet at up to three meters a second, you get even to the 11th floor super-quickly. Where the terrace and lounge, open all day, give you a grand view out over nearby Lake Constance. (am)