On a visit to the estate, it’s the small-scale, homey layout, offering plenty of greenery, that stands out. This little patch of the East Berlin district of Niederschönhausen has always been green: the estate was planned and built on the site of a former plant nursery. The planners’ job was to combine as many eco-friendly components as possible on one estate near the city. This includes, for instance, the materials used in construction, the usage of solar energy and the design concept for rainwater runoff. The eco-house is in some ways the concept’s crowning glory. At first glance the eco-house does not differ from the other apartment blocks in the estate. Yet still the eco-house is special. The heating is built into the walls with clay plaster. Two gas condensing boilers in the basement of Heinrich-Böll-Straße 28 heat the building. Water consumption is reduced through efficient toilet flushing – to give just one example.
Today, the estate is home to happy tenants, some of whom have their own gardens. The estate also has playgrounds and some accessible apartments. In essence the Heinrich Böll Estate is a dear green place for everyone.