Pipelife Supports Self-Sufficient Housing with Rainwater Reuse System

April 8th, 2021 | 4 min read

Pipelife Austria and non-profit organization VinziRast have joined forces for an exciting development project outside Vienna. A former hotel is being converted into a self-sufficient rehousing facility on a 2.7-hectare piece of land that will also be used for cultivating fruits and vegetables using permaculture techniques. Once finalized, this project will provide accommodation and meaningful work for around 35 homeless people. To support this initiative Pipelife Austria has donated all Pipelife components necessary for a rainwater harvest and reuse system to irrigate the surrounding fields.


Helping homeless people get back on their feet with self-reliant skills

Nestled in the middle of meadows, forests, and large ground ideal for cultivation, VinziRast has secured a former hotel not far from Vienna, which provides the perfect infrastructure for a new shelter project. The house will accommodate around 35 homeless people and will provide them with employment, daily structure, security, and social support.

Through diligent skill development, manual work, and organic cultivation methods, residents will learn how to grow fruits and vegetables, run workshops, practice animal husbandry and manage the rental accommodation for guests. 

“Growing fruit and vegetables according to organic principles and manufacturing refined products and workpieces will provide valuable daily structure and skills to residents at VinziRast am Land. With such proximity to nature, we are confident that this will greatly strengthen self-esteem, help discover and develop new skills and create new perspectives”

Claudia Edelmayer-Murri, Project Manager VinziRast.

Claudia Edelmayer Murri Project Manager VinziRast

supporting Self-Sufficiency

Plans for the shelter are to make it self-sustaining in the long-term through the sale of eggs and vegetable boxes, as well as catering for the VinziRast Restaurant “Mittendrin” in Vienna, room bookings, 2 rooms for seminars, and a small café. Around 80 types of vegetables will be grown according to the principles of permaculture on a 3,500 m² plot of land and in the greenhouse, in order to promote soil fertility and create a healthy ecosystem.

Self-sufficiency and autonomy are capitalized regarding irrigation. To save on valuable resources and maintain a natural water cycle, the water for irrigating VinziRast’s 10 fields during dry periods will come from a cleverly designed rainwater harvest and reuse system from Pipelife Austria.

Rainwater Harvest, Reuse and Infiltration System

As for all clients, Pipelife provides the design and necessary calculations for the complete rainwater management setup:

The rainwater from the hotel’s roof surfaces, the chicken coop, and the greenhouse are collected in two underground Pipelife Rainwater Cisterns, each with a usable volume of 40 m³. Collected rainwater is then pumped into smaller, above-ground reservoirs in order to temper the water for irrigation during growth season. The pumps will be supplied with a photovoltaic island system, so that irrigation for the cultivated areas can operate as a self-sufficient system. Excess water from the two underground cisterns runs via an overflow system into the infiltration system implemented with Pipelife Raineo Stormboxes, from where the water is slowly released into the soil.

We are delighted to partner with VinziRast on this new shelter project. We’re not just happy to be supporting a good cause. It’s great to have the opportunity to put in place a truly sustainable solution that helps protect the environment and saves on drinking water”, says Florian Liebentritt, Application Engineer Infrastructure, Pipelife Austria, proudly.

Construction of greenhouse and rainwater harvesting area | Pipelife International
Adaptations and extensions on the former hotel have been designed by the architects lrike Schartner and Alexander Hagner (gaupenraub+/-,

Preparation and Calculation of the Rainwater Infiltration System

While it will take a bit more than another year to complete the works on VinziRast am Land, the rainwater management system will probably be completed this year. Soil and infiltration tests will be made in spring to calculate the exact necessary number of Raineo Stormboxes. This is important to avoid backflows into the cisterns even during heavier and longer downpours. The handling of the entire system will be simple, user-friendly and ensures that the little maintenance that needs to be done is just as easy.  

Mitigating Water Shortages with Rainwater Reuse

Efficient rainwater management can help mitigate an array of water-related problems. Rainwater harvesting and storage for reuse as well as infiltration are only a few of the possibilities Raineo Rainwater Management Systems offer. The system’s modular setup allows tailoring the design to specified requirements, in terms of function, shape, size, and soil conditions.

“It is good to see that people are becoming more and more aware of the available solutions for managing stormwater efficiently. We can see this trend by the continuously growing demand for our Raineo Stormwater Management Systems across Europe ever since we have introduced them in 2008. Most of the systems are still applied for flood protection measures and surface drainage to prevent sewage overflows and damage. Rainwater reuse for irrigation but also household use will hopefully take the same curve upward in the coming years”, states Harald Schwarzmayr, CEO Pipelife Group.      

Residents of VinziRast assemble an outbuilding | Pipelife International
Volunteers are busy setting up a chicken-coop.

About VinziRast

VinziRast is an independent, charitable organization that has been working with the homeless for 18 years. Through 8 different projects including an emergency overnight accommodation in Vienna 1120 and various shared housing, VinziRast accompanies and attends to people living on the edge of society. VinziRast establishments are financed entirely by donations, without public funding.

Read more:


Frequently Downloaded

Find here the most popular downloads

Download Center
Did you not find what you are looking for?

Find a country near you

Get in Touch with our Team

Please choose which way you want to get in contact with us. We will contact you as soon as possible.


Call back service
We will get in touch with you by phone
E-Mail service
We will get in touch with you by e-mail