AMSEL – Self-Sufficient Micro Settlement for an Energy-Conscious Lifestyle

© Rico Ulbricht
Layout of the Mittweida university campus including the AMSEL and TELEWERK project buildings.

The tiny house movement has been gaining increasing importance throughout Germany. Reduced costs are not the only factor that turn tiny houses into prime examples of sustainable living. Other factors include a focus on necessities, being able to settle in rural regions, the use of natural buliding materials and an associated lifestyle that focuses on nature and the environment. However, supplying tiny houses with electricity, heat and water is challenging, especially in remote areas. Their compact shape reduces options for installing solar equipment and storage units for regenerative utilities supply.

Within the scope of the AMSEL project, a small settlement in Mittweida consisting of a tiny house, a co-working space developed within the partnering TELEWERK project, and an existing building is operated as an independent experimental platform. Its integrated, shared and networked settlement storage system offers a demands-based and self-sufficient heat and power supply infrastrucure. A central building equipped with home technology increases supply reliability. An intelligent control system is responsible for distributing energy in a needs-based way through usage-dependent load balancing between the networked buildings. Through the establishment of this pioneering, largely self-sufficient settlement supplied with regenerative main utilities, the revitalization of rural settlement areas will be supported in the long-term. As a result, more conscious ways of thinking and living will be fostered and dedicated technological solutions will be developed that in turn will increase the attractiveness of living and working in the countryside, especially for the well-educated younger generations. In the process, tiny house settlements could prove to be a successful migration path for the current renaissance of timber construction in Saxony.

Key research topics

  • comprehensive control system for largely self-sufficient utilities supply with high solar efficiency
  • robust telecommunication networking und automated load management system
  • using functionally integrated utilities equipment in the tiny houses' architectural and building physics design
  • production and manufacturing engineering for modular timber micro buildings with cubatures optimized for solar yield

New environments for working and living in energy-conscious functional buildings

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The tiny house settlement designed within the AMSEL-Projekt is currently developed in Mittweida at the Werkbank32 site. At the same site, a functional building with a minimum carbon footprint and and a structured energy and load management system is build within the scope of the TELEWERK project. Its building technology eqipment is networked with that of the tiny house.

In the video, Prof. Dr. Volker Tolkmitt of Hochschule Mittweida and Prof. Dr. Matthias Klinger, Fraunhofer IVI institute director, and others talk about their vision and the execution of their project.

(In German only; source: Saxon State Ministry of Regional Development)

This project is co-funded from tax revenues on the basis of the budget adopted by the Saxon State Parliament. The Saxon State Ministry of Regional Development (SMR) promotes the project within the scope of its simul+ future initiative.