Environmentally sustainable European Patent Office building renovated with ECOPact and ECOCycle®

Standing close to Vienna’s iconic Belvedere Palace in the city’s historic center, the European Patent Office (EPO) building is undergoing a complete renovation. 

Stunning new office spaces will be characterized by transparency and openness, with generous use of glass providing bright, lively rooms and visual connections with the outside space. 

Yet the renovation of the 50-year-old building goes beyond aesthetics: it is designed to be environmentally sustainable, marking a significant milestone in sustainable construction practices. 

In addition to boosting the building’s energy-efficiency and using renewable energy sources, the project is using only ECOPact low-carbon concrete with ECOCycle® inside to bring down construction-related emissions and drive circular construction.

ECOPact used in 100% of project’s new concrete elements, reducing CO2 emissions by 38%

26% of ECOCycle® recycled materials


Setting new standards for sustainability by becoming

The Challenge 

Given a rapidly changing social and economic landscape that impacts the way we all live and work, the EPO decided to ensure that everyone using the building would benefit from modern sustainability standards and norms, to guarantee the well-being of people and the environment. 

It’s located in Vienna’s third district, close to the Belvedere Palace, Salesian Monastery and the university Botanical Garden. As such, the design of the renovated building needed to seamlessly blend in with the city’s rich architectural traditions. 

With 80% of Europe's building stock projected to still be in use by 2050, repairing and renovating buildings with green retrofit systems is one of the priorities for reaching the European Union’s net-zero targets.

The Solution 


Taking on the renovation, PORR construction group gutted the existing 50-year-old, five-storey building down to its concrete skeleton. In its place, a visually stunning and environmentally sustainable building will stand based on the plans of ATP architekten ingenieure

To help achieve the project’s sustainability goals, PORR chose Holcim’s innovative and low-carbon ECOPact concrete, which offers a minimum of 30% lower CO2 emissions compared to standard concrete. With approximately 1,500 cubic meters of concrete used for all concrete elements of the project, ECOPact mixes account for 100% of the total volume of concrete used. 

In addition, the ECOPact mix developed for the renovation of the EPO office contains Holcim’s proprietary ECOCycle® circular technology. Using this we recycle construction demolition materials – from cement and aggregates to concrete – into new building solutions.

Photo credit: ATP architekten ingenieure

Photo credit: ATP architekten ingenieure

Photo credit: European Patent Office (EPO)

We are pleased to create a spacious and, above all, sustainable home here in Vienna for the European Patent Office. Once renovations are complete, the EPO will fulfill the criteria of the BREEAM ‘Outstanding’ certification. Using low-carbon building materials is one of the ways in which these goals can be achieved

Karl-Heinz Strauss| CEO at PORR Group

The Result 


By using ECOPact to renovate the building, the embodied carbon of the concrete is expected to be 38% less than traditional concrete, minimizing the project’s carbon footprint. 

This particular ECOPact mix incorporated 26% of recycled construction demolition materials, made possible by our proprietary ECOCycle® circular technology platform, to drive circular construction and build new from old. 

When the renovation is complete, the building is anticipated to produce more energy than it consumes to deliver its basic functions (heating, cooling, ventilation, lighting, hot water), serving as a best-practice example of a sustainable approach to existing buildings. The office will achieve this status by harnessing the power of renewable energy. 

The environmentally sustainable building will use a geothermal system with 20 geothermal probes feeding a heat pump. Energy demand will be met by a large-scale photovoltaic system and storage batteries. BREEAM ‘Outstanding’ certification is planned for the renovation project.

I'm proud of Holcim's contribution to the renovation of the European Patent Office. Built with ECOPact and ECOCycle®, we are once again showing that building sustainably means building without any compromise in performance.

Christof Kunesch| Managing Director, Holcim Beton Austria

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