Simply submit online and let the street facade of your house flourish for free: residents, owners and property managers in the district of Favoriten now have this opportunity – because the first 50 prototypes of the newly developed Viennese green façade module “BeRTA” are being awarded for research purposes free of charge. Submission is possible online at 50gh.at. The greening prevents urban heat islands and improves the microclimate. The central claim of the project is the multiplicability so that a broad roll-out is possible in the future.

In Vienna and other cities various forms of planting greenery on buildings are already known. Nevertheless, there is currently no cost-effective, easily implementable all-in-one solution for greening the road-side facade of existing real estate. This is the gap the project 50 green houses wants to fill: in an interdisciplinary team and together with the city administration and other stakeholders, a comprehensive all-in-one solution was developed, which is now being tested!


According to climate forecasts, Vienna is expected to experience more heat during summer in the future – in some years there will be up to 100 days with temperatures above 30°C, which would be an increase of 550% compared to the average for the years 1981-2010. Green buildings or facades reduce the perceived temperature by up to 13°C and thus counteract “urban heat islands”. Especially along pavements and in ground floor zones, greening has a positive effect on the microclimate. Building greenery has many more advantages: it improves the air quality and ensures a more natural, healthier environment in the city.

All-in-one solution and process innovation

There is currently no widely applicable, reasonably priced all-in-one solution for the implementation of green facades on existing buildings. The “retrofitting” of existing facades is also hampered by lengthy processing and approval processes within building communities and the administration. On average, the necessary approval procedure of the City of Vienna currently takes more than a year.

As part of the research project “50 green houses”, funded by the BMVIT (Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology) in the “City of the Future” program, an integrated solution is being developed for the first time – in coordination with the City of Vienna – consisting of the newly developed “Vienna Green Facade Module”, an innovative web-based participation instrument (www.50gh.at/einreichung), as well as practice-oriented care concepts.

The Vienna Green Facade Module

The Vienna Green Facade Module is a simple, cost-effective, widely implementable plant trough solution for street-side facade greening. It consists of plant troughs, substrate (soil), climbing plants and trellises. What makes these troughs special is, that all elements are coordinated with each other, developed specifically to work on existing buildings and contain all the components needed to green existing facades.

The relevant authorities of the municipality are involved in the development of the module in order to contribute their professional input, thus making the future approval process transparent and rapid. The development takes into account a variety of requirements, such as the use of durable and ecological materials or a suitable dimensioning that leaves enough space on the sidewalk. Site-specific plant selection and the development of suitable care concepts are also part of the project. The findings of about 100 interviews with owners and residents show the high demand for greenery in the city and are also incorporated into the development of the Vienna Green Facade Modules.

Test run in Favoriten: free allocation of the first 50 modules

The innovation will be tested in 2019 in a co-creation process with 50 demo buildings in the district of Favoriten – the target area of the innovation laboratory GrünStattGrau, in which the phenomenon of “urban heat islands” occurs particularly often. In the spring of 2019, the prototypes for the Green Facade Modules will be presented to the public. Owners and residents of the target area are currently invited to apply for the modules. As part of the research project 50 modules will then be awarded free of charge to houses in the target area. The website guides interested parties step by step through the submission and asks applicants to submit all the necessary data in a simple way. The information provided helps the experts of the team of “50 Green Houses” to choose the individual module configuration for their respective location: Depending on the location and nature of the facades, suitable plants and, if necessary, a climbing aid are provided.

First implementation and broad roll-out

Up to 50 selected buildings from the district of Favoriten will receive a BeRTA green façade module, including delivery, installation and training, free of charge this year. The 50 green façade modules are assigned exclusively on the street side and placed in public space. The installation of the modules is carried out by specialists. The willingness to personally take care of the plants is judged to be particularly positive during the selection of the demo houses. Those committed to care receive a free enrollment by the team of “50 Green Houses”. The module is designed so that the ongoing care effort is limited: Thanks to the integrated water reservoir in the vessel, it must be watered only once or twice a week using a watering can or hose, even in hot weather. A professional pruning is recommended at least once a year. The costs for the ongoing care and maintenance are about 25 euros per month per module and are distributed between the residents through the operating costs of the building. Automated irrigation systems can be optionally requested as a chargeable option at submission. By means of monitoring, the measurable social and (vegetation) technical effects of greening of buildings in the target area of Favoriten are continuously surveyed and thus provide scientifically verifiable data for decision-makers, builders, planners and property developers.

Based on the findings from the project, a basic, multipliable business model is developed that can be transferred to other urban areas and cities. From autumn 2019, the Vienna Green Facade Modules are to be available all over Austria for a comparatively low cost of a maximum of € 2,000.

Project partners

  • tatwort Nachhaltige Projekte GmbH (lead management)
  • Muncipal Department 22 for Environmental Protection
  • Die Wiener Volkshochschulen GmbH – DIE UMWELTBERATUNG
  • GrünStattGrau Forschungs- und Innovations GmbH
  • University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU), Department of Civil Engineering and Natural Hazards, Institute of Soil Bioengineering and Landscape Construction (IBLB)

The project is realised as part of the “City of the Future” program. “City of the Future” is a research and technology program of the Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology (BMVIT).


Mag. (FH) Victoria Hala, MSc

tatwort Nachhaltige Projekte GmbH

E-Mail: victoria.hala@tatwort.at

Website: www.50gruenehaeuser.at

This post is also available in: German