Petra Jebens-Zirkel / Spain
Exemplary achievements in the field of building biology
Dipl.-Ing. Petra Jebens-Zirkel
Instituto Español de Baubiologie
22338 Oncins (Huesca)
Petra Jebens-Zirkel moved from Germany to Spain 24 years ago to work as a freelance architect in the Pyrenees. Since then she has worked together with her husband and a small group of employees in the field of building biology. In the meantime, her practice has erected 91 buildings according to the principles of sustainability and building biology. The majority of them are detached houses, but public buildings such as the CIRCE university building in Zaragoza have also been built. With a total surface area of nearly 2,000 m2, this building impressively demonstrates that an ecological method of construction is possible even with large projects. The annual energy consumption is less than 30 kWh/m2, much lower than the usual values in Spain. That is why the building is a national reference for sustainable architecture. Numerous talks, the organisation of topic-specific seminars as well as the publication of articles are all part of her personal commitment to promote solar architecture. Since 1999, she has taught a postgraduate course on renewables at the University of Zaragoza and, as of a little later, in Madrid, too. In 2009, she founded the Instituto Español de Baubiologie, which has offered a master's degree in bio-construction through the University of Lerida since then. Petra Jebens-Zirkel's work shows in an exemplary way that the comfort and cost-effectiveness of buildings can easily go hand in hand with an environmentally friendly way of construction and use of local energy sources. This represents a pioneering achievement - not only in Spain.