Giraffe house at Zoo Schönbrunn

Heritage renovation

  • Building Type : Other building
  • Construction Year : 2015
  • Delivery year : 2017
  • Address 1 - street : Maxingstraße 13b 1130 VIENNA, Austria
  • Climate zone : [Dfb] Humid Continental Mild Summer, Wet All Year

  • Net Floor Area : 440 m2
  • Construction/refurbishment cost : 7 000 000 €
  • Number of none : 1 none
  • Cost/m2 : 15909.09 €/m2

Proposed by :

  • Primary energy need
    42 kWhpe/m2.year
    (Calculation method : Other )
Energy consumption
Economical buildingBuilding
< 50A
51 à 90B
91 à 150C
151 à 230D
231 à 330E
331 à 450F
> 450G
Energy-intensive building

Renovating the giraffe house at the world's oldest zoo - UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site

From 2015 to 2017, extensive renovations took place at Schönbrunn Zoo’s Giraffe House (located in Vienna, Austria), which was originally built in 1828. The old building was gutted, refurbished, and rebuilt, with a large number of innovative measures. This includes the installation of glass-integrated photovoltaics as well as the installation of photovoltaic panels on the flat roof of the visitor entrance. Furthermore, the intermediate storage of thermal energy now takes place in a gravel store. The new indoor area for the giraffes was connected as a winter garden-like building with a photovoltaic roof with modules from ertex solar.

The conservatory is a steel/glass construction. The roof is supported by a substructure that is modeled on a look-a-like umbrella acacia, a typical tree in the habitat of giraffes. Towards the top, the trunk branches out into a total of around 237m² of glass surfaces, in which the photovoltaic cells are distributed and act as insulation from outside temperatures and as a source of shade.

Behind the entire construction is a comprehensive concept, which saves about 8,287kg of CO2 annually and generates about 20,000 kWh of electricity, 100% of which is used to run the zoo. With the glass-integrated photovoltaics (16 kWp) and the flat panels (4 kWp), a total of 20 kWp is available, so that 18,000 - 20,000 kWh of electricity can be produced per year. A 62m³ gravel tank was also installed under the conservatory. With a filling of 122t marble quarry, it is used to dissipate heat on very hot days and to heat on very cool days. With the help of the gravel tank as buffer storage, about 17,000 kWh of heating energy is saved annually by district heating.

See more details about this project

Photo credit

ertex solartechnik GmbH


Construction Manager


Building users opinion

The giraffes are liking their new environment very much and visitors from all around the world are enjoying their visit at the giraffe house in Zoo Schönbrunn.

Energy consumption

  • 42,00 kWhpe/m2.year
  • 1,00 kWhpe/m2.year
  • Other


    • Others
    • Electric radiator
    • Electric heater
    • Electric floor heating
    • Other hot water system
    • Others
    • Natural ventilation
    • Solar photovoltaic

    For heating purposes, a gravel tank was built.

Urban environment

    Zoo Schönbrunn is trying to become sustainable and energy-efficient in all their animal housings and buildings. These principles are written down in their own environment policy. Since 2015 the Zoo is certified according to ISO 14001.

    The Zoo is conscious of their responsibility for animals, humans and nature, therefore there is a whole environment team working at the Zoo. An important focus of their environmentally conscious activities is the area of energy management. For animals from tropical to polar climates, heating, cooling and water treatment are often very expensive. Through the use of new technologies, alternative concepts and constant monitoring, the Zoo keeps the required energy and raw material input as low as possible.

    When procuring feed and feed materials, priority is given to organic products and products of regional origin when possible. This environmental philosophy of the zoo can also be found in the gastronomic offer. Organic products are used as much as possible in the kitchens of the Zoo restaurants.

    Waste avoidance and waste separation are a matter of course internally, but the Zoo also tries to make it easier for zoo visitors to follow these principles.

    A dedicated team ensures environmental compatibility in all construction projects in planning, construction, and operation and will push for the corresponding implementation.

    The Giraffe house has been awarded with the environmental award of Vienna in 2016.


    semi-transparent photovoltaic module

    ertex solartechnik GmbH

    +43 7472 28 260 610

    Finishing work / Electrical systems - Low and high current

    The installed panels are custom-made insulated glass-glass modules from the Austrian company ertex solar. The whole outside roof area of the giraffe home has been clad with the panels, which amounts to a total of 237m² glass surface. The solar cells with an individual size of 125 x 125 mm have been arranged individually by ertex solar inside the glass panels. With a range of two to sixty-three solar cells per module, this results in a variable degree of transparency between 41 and 91 %. In this way the leaves of an umbrella acacia can be simulated – with an additional view of the real sky.

Construction and exploitation costs

  • 7 000 000
  • Other information relating to costs are not available to ertex solar.

Reasons for participating in the competition(s)

The estimated electricity consumption of the zoo is approx. 18,700 kWh per year. With the glass-integrated photovoltaic (16 kWp) and the flat panels (4 kWp), a total of 20 kWp is available, enabling 18,000 – 20,000 kWh of electricity to be generated per year. By using a gravel storage tank as a buffer tank for the heating of the conservatory a minimum of 17,000 kWh of heating energy can be saved. In total, CO2 emissions are increased by approx. 8,287 kg of CO2 per year during the operation of the new giraffe home.

Building candidate in the category

Energy & Temperate Climates

Energy & Temperate Climates

Green Solutions Awards 2020-2021
 bipv solar architecture Vienna solar buildings energy renewables photovoltaic heating

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Author of the page
Michaela Fink

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Green Solutions Awards 2020-2021