Christian Joistgen wanted to live as ecologically as possible and built the first passive house in Rhineland-Palatinate. Now, of all things, the flood has destroyed his climate-friendly home. By Hannah Möller The flood unhooked Christian Joistgen’s house and moved it several meters. Before the flood, it was the first passive house in Rhineland-Palatinate, and it was on Mörikestrasse in Bad Neuenahr until Wednesday night. Joistgen, computer scientist and father of two daughters wanted to make a contribution to the environment. ‘If we are already building, then it will be climate-friendly’, he thought at the time. Now he says: ‘All in vain.’ When the flood came, his girls, nine and twelve years old, himself and his partner were upstairs. ‘I didn’t think we’d get out alive,’ says Joistgen. The masses of water washed around the house, detached it from the floor slab; at some point the walls began to move. Chancellor in debt
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‘We tried to calm the children down. We made plans how we could best get out of the house, ‘says Joistgen, recalling the dramatic moments. They asked themselves: Will we somehow get onto the neighbors’ canopy where we can hold on? Or on the balcony of the grandparents who live next door? Before everything collapsed, the awning wedged itself into a small annex behind the house and prevented anything worse. The water came so quickly, within 20 minutes it was up to the ceiling, says Christian Joistgen’s father. His house was also ransacked. Ten years ago he divided his property so that his son could build ecologically on one half. Daily energy consumption costs just one euro. Good for the wallet, good for the environment.
‘The whole thing has to be demolished’
For two days now, Joistgen has been taking everything out of the house that can be saved. The flat screen is still hanging on the wall, otherwise the room is no longer recognizable as a living room. Centimeter-thick mud on the floor. Broken glass here and there. The daughters are staying with his ex-wife. ‘Both are completely traumatized,’ says Joistgen. They would call their father every day and ask if he was okay. To keep tidying up, to shovel away the mud, none of that makes sense. ‘The whole thing has to be torn down,’ says Joistgen, visibly touched. ‘I estimate the damage to be around 100,000 euros. You try to do something about climate change and then something like that happens. ‘ He hopes that Finance Minister Olaf Scholz will implement his promise to compensate the victims. Joistgen is grateful that he and his family survived. One street down, an elderly couple who had clung to the outside of the house for hours were swept away by the floods. Their bodies were later recovered.