CHH, BBM and the question of ecology

The MIVA headquarters, the ChristophorusHouse built according to all the rules of energy-saving building is 15 years old. The BBM the “procurement company of MIVA” is twice as old, so it has now been around for 30 years. But not only mathematics connects the two. One can rather say that the BBM is the father of the ChristophorusHouse.



Old friends and companions of MIVA have long known how to understand this. As MIVA managing director Franz X. Kumpfmüller (ret.) and the then MIVA board of directors founded BBM as a 100 per cent subsidiary of MIVA, it soon became clear that the BBM would not only be responsible for the delivery and procurement of vehicles and other relief goods. Rather, it should also offer technical help in the countries of operation, in the most ecological way possible.

Since the BBM also offered its services to other aid organisations, very successful collaborations with NGOs and experts, such as the Vienna University of Natural resources and Applied Life Sciences, came about quickly. So, complex projects could be started. In this way, the BBM – above all the tireless technician Norbert Demmelbauer, who spends weeks and months in the countries of operation – was not only able to apply knowledge of ecology, but also to fain a lot of experience in the concrete implementation. Photovoltaic systems, hot water from solar energy, wastewater treatment plants or the use of process water soon became part of the repertoire of BBM.



When the final decision to build the ChristophorusHouse was made and Franz X. Kumpfmüller planned the project with architects and trades, it was clear from the start that the house in Stadl-Paura should not lag behind the ecological standard of the BBM projects. On the contrary: A building was built according to the well-known standards of ecological building every year. A showcase project that will not only serve its purpose, but also set a good example.

That’s why the passive house, which generates most of the energy it, consumes. That’s why the geothermal energy, the timber construction, the grey water system, the plant-based sewage treatment plant and the many small and large individual measures that actually make the house a “highly active passive house”. The ambitious projects, for which, incidentally not a single euro was donated, received numerous prizes and was recognized as the “Best LIFE Project” by the European Union.



The ChristophorusHouse is still regularly visited by many interested people. Even 15 years after its completion, it is still ground-breaking in many areas. It is particularly gratifying that the house is not just an ecological showcase project. However, has proven itself every day as a pleasant, well-tempered and functional workplace.
Since the founding of the BBM and the establishment of the ChristophorusHouse, the urgency of consistent protection of creation has become even greater. MIVA has demonstrated vision with both.

Watersupply for St. Mary’s Hospital in Isingiro (120 beds)


Country: Isingiro, Tansania
Task: Spring preparation and gravity-fed water supply
Scope: Turnkey (planning, delivery, construction) beginning with supply network, including pipelines, reinforced concrete tanks, (domestic) connections
Project Partner: BSI Innsbruck
Duration: February 2010 to February 2011


St. Mary’s Hospital is now supplied with drinking water from Isingiro via a pipeline of about two and a half kilometres. The project followed an ecological rehabilitation strategy with work commencing in early 2010. First of all, a spring had to be located and made accessible; this was achieved by digging horizontally into the mountain at the spring outlet. A shaft consisting of three chambers is used to purify the water. The steep decline required the construction of an intermediate tank about 150 metres below the spring in order to reduce the pressure within the pipeline. Along the pipeline two additional control shafts were created which are used for inspection and maintenance.

The water is collected in two newly created tanks of reinforced concrete with a capacity of about 200 cubic metres. Beginning from there, about 800 metres of plastic pipes were installed to provide the separate buildings – as well as the flats of the employees – with drinking water. At the hospital itself, ten water taps were installed for patients and their relatives.

St. Clare Children’s home


Location: Aber, Uganda (Lira Diocese)
Task: Planning and construction of three major buildings and three outbuildings, planning and implementation of infrastructure (water, sewage, energy)
Duration January 2009 to November 2011
Project partner: Seraphisches Liebeswerk (SLW) of the Capuchin and Lira Diocese


BBM was commissioned by SLW with the planning, the coordination of construction and installation of all technical equipment. A BBM staff member from Uganda was responsible for supervising the local construction and the on-site coordination of companies. BBM experts from Austria supervised the progress of work via regular business trips to the project.

First, the relevant plot of land was purchased, cleared and fenced-off. Additionally, an access road to the building site had to be created. Next, a well was dug, feeding a 20,000-litre water tank via a solar-powered pump. Three main buildings were constructed: the accommodations for girls and boys, each with 108 beds and a central service building with assembly hall, kitchen and offices. There were three outbuildings: a sisters’ house and two guest houses for short-term or long-term guests. All rooms were furnished and included complete plumbing and electrical installations. BBM were also responsible for landscape development and the creation of access roads.

Ecological Concept

The complex of buildings in St. Clare was constructed according to an overall ecological concept. Greywater from hand washbasins, showers and sinks is treated in a horizontal soil filter and reused in water-efficient flush toilets. Rainwater is collected in two 20-foot containers and used amongst others for laundry. Blackwater is collected in a three-chamber plant, pre-cleaned and fed via a solar pump to a two-tiered constructed wetland, at which the second soil filter (size: approximately 100sqm) is fed by a mechanical lifting mechanism entirely without the use of electricity. The treated wastewater is collected in a tank and used for the irrigation of the plantations and green spaces.

Sensor lights with integrated motion detectors and energy-saving lamps reduce energy consumption. Various photovoltaic systems provide the electricity for all three pumps, the emergency lights within the buildings, the street lamps and three freezers. Twelve solar heating systems with a 300-liter tank provide hot water for showers, sinks and washing.



Ecological energy supply for Jesuits

Feedback from the project partner:

“All the people are fascinated by the system since they have never seen such a big system and it works well. Everybody is very happy and I think they are thinking of other places since power in Tanzania is very erratic. Someone told me that it was a blessing because after the installation power rationing started.”


Project overview:

Country: Tanzania


Ecological energy supply for

  • Jesuit Noviciate Arusha (16kW)
  • Radio Kwizera Ngara (15,5kW)
  • Detail Planning
  • Procurement and Delivery of equipment (PV, batteries, inverter, cables) from Europe
  • Installation of electrical / PV equipment, together with local experts.
  • Commissioning
  • Training
Project Partner:


Duration: October 2014 – October 2015


For more information, please contact the project manager Michael Dornetshuber:


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