Renovating an office building that’s been standing empty for years is not the kind of decision you make lightly, especially if you’re a property developer. But this is precisely what happened in the Westend district of Frankfurt, and now the project is a shining example to others. The people who made this a reality are now the proud owners of a DGNB Certificate in Platinum – confirmation that the renovation achieved the very highest standards of sustainability. This was followed by a DGNB Diamond, testifying to the high architectural standards of the development.
There’s not much time left to meet the climate targets, and the building sector in particular needs to pick up a lot of momentum. Reason enough for Dr Christine Lemaitre (DGNB) to join Dr Anna Braune (DGNB), Jürgen Reimann (EDGE Technologies) and Jan Zak (ikl) at the DGNB Annual Congress 2023 and once again call for a climate protection reset. Indeed, there are effective ways to do something now, even with projects already underway or existing buildings – assuming the will is there.
The DGNB has been appointed to the steering committee of the recently founded Davos Baukultur Alliance. The appointment was announced at the Second Conference of European Ministers of Culture. The platform brings together representatives of business, the public sector and civil society with the aim of jointly safeguarding high-quality Baukultur in Europe. This is a good opportunity to take a closer look at the importance of Baukultur at the DGNB.
Nothing ventured, nothing gained. A wise old saying, and one that proved to be totally true for the developer Edge. When Edge first started planning the Edge Suedkreuz office complex in 2019, the hybrid timber construction it plumped for was still new territory and an area few had detailed experience in. Fast forward to October 2022 and the project has been officially confirmed as the highest-scoring development ever certified by the DGNB. Based on their feedback, the users of the office complex can attest to this – on all fronts. The bold undertaking was certainly worth it.
For architects, working on existing buildings can be exciting, but it can also be quite challenging. Apart from technical imponderables, it’s important to ensure ideas brought to the table work in harmony with things already in place. Reichel Architects have succeeded in bringing buildings owned by the Evangelical Bank in Kassel in tune with modern times – not only in terms of design, but also when it comes to energy use.
Sustainable construction is booming in Germany. So how are things going for our neighbours? How is sustainable building faring in other European countries and where does Germany stand in comparison? DGNB CEO Dr Christine Lemaitre seized the opportunity offered by our 2022 annual congress to exchange notes with our friends and partners working for the Green Building Council in other European countries.
In Germany, the community of volunteer firefighters plays a key role in dealing with fires, floods and other major incidents. Recently, a new working facility was built for the special community of volunteers in the Hessian town of Caldern. Now, when an emergency call comes in, the firefighters burst out of a sustainable building that is even the proud owner of a DGNB Gold Certificate. It’s also worth mentioning that it was the first time in the history of the DGNB that a firefighting organisation has been through the certification process.
Established office setups have been shaken from top to bottom since coronavirus arrived nearly two years ago. In response, more flexible working arrangements have been required. At Axel Springer, a change in thinking was already underway before the pandemic. In 2013, an architecture project was put out to tender for a new building offering ultimate flexibility in terms of work structures. The new Axel Springer building entered use in 2020 and is now open for business to more than 3000 employees. As well as receiving DGNB certification in gold for high standards of sustainability in new construction, the building also received DGNB certification in diamond to underscore its high architectural quality.
As well as shaping our environment, buildings preserve the memory of times long past. Achieving climate targets also means it’s important to look after existing buildings, as was the case in Berlin recently with the refurbishment of a residential building more than 130 years old. The project has underscored that it is possible to carry out renovations in keeping with preservation orders and sustainability needs.
The new biology and chemistry block at Schubart Grammar School in Aalen – what better place for students and teachers to experience at first hand the interplay between construction excellence and science. Developed by Liebel Architekten BDA in collaboration with Transsolar, the science wing makes groundbreaking use of three environmentally friendly forms of energy: light, thermal energy, and geothermal energy. It’s a pleasant place to learn science. And now it proudly sports a DGNB Climate Positive award.