BERLIN Dec 7 Chancellor Angela Merkel on
Wednesday took the wraps off a three-bedroom house that will
produce twice as much energy as it needs, a project she said
will serve as a showcase for renewable energy and climate
The passive-energy house, built in front of a federal
building near a Berlin rail station, will produce more than
16,000 kilowatt hours of electricity each year with photovoltaic
panels on its roof and south-facing wall.
The surplus electricity will be used to power electric cars
parked in front of the house, with the four-person family
getting enough battery power to travel about 30,000 km a year.
Merkel said the two-storey house, a cube with one wall made
of glass to allow the public to inspect its clean-tech
equipment, should serve as a model for German houses of the
"This house is an excellent example of how innovative
advances can be linked to what people need in everyday life one
step at a time," Merkel said at the opening of the thickly
"There's a lot of potential in this area. I think this is an
example of how people will be living in the future."
Germany is a global leader in renewable energy, getting more
than 20 percent of its electricity from renewable sources such
as wind and solar power.
It has also cut its CO2 emissions by 25 percent since 1990
and aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by
A family of four will soon move in to the house for a
rent-free 15-month period, chronicling their experiences. They
will have some private areas and a private terrace on the west
"The idea behind this is that 'my house is my filling
station'," said Construction Minister Peter Ramsauer, who said
132 four-person families had applied to live in the house on a
busy boulevard in the heart of west Berlin.
All the equipment in the house, which cost 2.2 million euros
($3 million), is currently available, officials said. It will be
taken down in three years and either recycled or rebuilt at
"I hope the family that moves in here will have a great
experience learning to practice energy efficiency," Merkel said.
(Reporting By Erik Kirschbaum)