Catella and Elithis launch first energy-positive residential towers

The French cities of Dijon and Saint-Etienne have become the first cities to approve the development of  'energy-positive’ residential towers, under a €2 bn pan-European investment programme launched by Berlin-based Catella Residential Investment Management (CRIM) and French building engineering design company Elithis.

The new building permits clear the way for the construction of the two residential towers to start in 2020, with five new schemes planned by the Catella/Elithis joint venture for cities elsewhere in France later next year.

According to the firms, the towers will offer apartments at affordable rents, through the supply of surplus power back to national grids, which allows substantial savings on tenants’ energy bills.

Thierry Bievre, CEO Elithis, said: 'The green light to build in Dijon and Saint-Etienne means we are on track, together with our joint venture partner Catella, to develop the first of a new generation of energy-positive residential towers that will produce more power than they consume.'

The new tower in Elithis’ home market Dijon will have a total surface area of approximately 5,000 m2, as will the new tower in Saint-Etienne. Both buildings will be located near public transport and fast-train links. The towers are expected to allow an average French family to save around €1,600 per year thanks to techology including photovoltaic panels and a bioclimatic design.

Michael Fink, managing director CRIM, said: 'Our first two developments in Dijon and Saint-Etienne are the start of a European residential investment proposition that is unprecedented in its scale, as well as its ambitions in sustainability and social responsibility, in the sector.

'The towers will also be built in such a way that they can easily be converted for other functions than residential use, should this be necessary.

'Clearly the coronavirus pandemic will very likely result in disruptions and delays to construction, but Catella and Elithis are still keen to proceed. We are convinced this type of building is the way forward, especially in these times of crisis when household incomes are coming under pressure.'

The two partners said they had already identified more than 30 additional sites for development in France, with a total of 50 projects planned in major urban centres throughout the country. Other European cities will follow in 2021 as part of a strategy to build a further 50 energy-positive residential towers across European markets over the next decade.

Elithis built its first office tower incorporating this technology in Dijon in 2009, while the Danube Tower, its first energy-positive residential building, launched in the French city of Strasbourg in 2018.

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