The Building Association Kyoto

3D-tegning af 1½ plans hus
Plan of a house(foto:

The building association Kyoto is a non-profit association which wishes to build a modern cohabitation consisting of 25 owner-occupied homes and a common house. According to the website, Kyoto have by 15th of December 2006 taken over the building plot called “Græsmarken” of 14.022 m2 in Borup, Koge municipality. Here they are building modern 1½-plan houses of high quality. There is a focus on environment and sustainability, for example with the construction of Denmark’s 3rd largest photovoltaic plant of 600 m2. It will provide a large portion of the energy to the heat recovery systems/heat pumps needed to heat the houses.

The Buildings

Houses are standard houses/wooden houses in low-energy class with geothermal heat and photovoltaic cells. The standard house solution was chosen because they did not to include extra costs for architects. Moreover, risks are minimized in the construction process and houses are bought at a fixed price. The houses are from Lindboe & Jørgensen A/S, who buy the houses in Sweden. They are responsible for the foundation, various connections and for the transportation of the houses and that houses comply with the requirements. In short a package solution. Lone Samuelsen was the consultant in the process (process consultant). She helped with the preparation of a contract, financial issues with the bank and practical issues with statutes relating to the community, etc. The site development is project designed and managed by the consulting engineering firm Dines Jørgensen & Co.

Photovoltaic Cells

The photovoltaic cells was also a package solution. The cells are supplied by Dong Energy, in cooperation with Copenhagen Energy. Heat pumps are from Vølund A/S, who also manages the setup and connection, etc. of the photovoltaic installations and heat pumps. “It’s been easy. It’s just one phone call. And then there’s also a guarantee. In this way, it is quite easy. It is a sort of “shake-n-bake” concept.” (Statement from a resident). The photovoltaic cells are connected to the electricity grid so that they “loan out” electricity to the grid during the summer, and in return receive the equivalent from the grid in winter without charges. Photovoltaic cells cannot function as an independent unit because it produces energy in the summer, while the energy is consumed during the winter.

From an economic viewpoint the photovoltaic cells have been installed in a long term perspective. They pay around 800 DKK per month, but that is only a heating cost until the plant has been repaid. Then the cost is 0 DKK. Unlike wind turbines, there are no mechanical parts and therefore very few (or no) expenses for maintenance. And there was a production guarantee from Dong Energy. There are 8 Photovoltaic panels, approx. 24 m2 per house. That amount of space is not available on south-facing roofs. It would be too large if it was to cover the electricity consumption of domestic electrical appliances and lights. 

The Concept

“The houses will have facades made of bricks and black tile roof with a roof pitch of 38 degrees. The houses have 108 m2 on the ground floor and an unutilized 1st floor of 75 m2. All houses will have their own garden. The plot sizes will be about 350 m2. The expected price is around 2.4 million DKK per house. Included in the price is also a large communal house with cafe, recreation room, kitchen and playground. In addition to this comes 150.000 DKK for the photovoltaic installations, but then they also cover all heating costs.” (From the website)

By March 2008, 16 houses were ready and many have moved in. The settlement is expected to be completed by spring 2008 and there are some vacant dwellings. The Kyoto-houses have a uniform appearance and is built of modern materials as an overall turnkey development.

The association wishes to see the project as a sustainable integrated part of society. “Our way to build can be used in most constructions throughout the country. We will benefit from the common sound solutions that society offers - such as functioning sewage treatment plants - but also spearhead the development, where we can see that society needs examples showing that the technology actually works.” (From the website)


Af Jesper Holm, Inger Stauning og Bent Søndergård, RUC, 2008

This web-site is edited by Roskilde University in cooperation with Technical University of Denmark, Danish Building Research Institute, Technological Institute, PP-consult, Syd-tek and Bjørn Axelsen ApS. Coordinator: Inger Stauning, RUC, is (a) ruc .dk