certification, Sustainable Building
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Sustainable alchemism

The 5000th certification was a real milestone for the DGNB. And what kind of project was awarded under this special premise? A rare but special scheme: a laboratory. Reason enough to take a closer look at sustainable laboratories.

The DGNB scheme for laboratories was designed by the DGNB and the Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Affairs. A special feature of laboratory buildings is, for example, the high proportion of process energy required. A well thought-out supply concept is therefore an important basis for certification.

Beyond this, a safety and waste concept must be submitted as a mandatory requirement. This ensures that no dangerous substances can escape unprotected into the environment.

Laboratories between Berlin and Shanghai

DGNB certified laboratories exist worldwide between Berlin and Shanghai. The types of laboratories range from centers for photovoltaics to research facilities of large chemical companies. The German Aerospace Center (DLR) has built a very special laboratory: SpaceLIFT on the Bremen university campus. This is where compact satellites and other space equipment are built. Germany is an important partner in the exploration of the Earth from space; around 2,200 active satellites in Earth orbit provide data. “Without this data, we would not understand climate and other environmental changes today nearly as well as we do today,” says Jörn Hoffmann, Project Manager at DLR Space Operations.

Attractive interior design: The SpaceLIFT is open to visitors. © Yohan Zerdoun

The building is also ambitious from an architectural point of view: similar to a heat shield of space shuttles, the façade was given a shell of specially developed ceramic tiles, which were attached to the heat-insulating shell using a specially designed laying system.

A shell like a space shuttle: the SpaceLIFT in Bremen. © Yohan Zerdoun

Diversity in the sustainable laboratory

DGNB certification for sustainable laboratories generally focuses on the building and its organisation. However, the equipment and working methods are also of great importance for sustainable laboratory research. And since laboratory technology is characterised by DIN and EN standards, but the corresponding standards and labels often hardly address sustainability, it is worth taking a special look here.

With about 8,000 square meters of floor space, plenty of room for research: the Center for Photovoltaics in Berlin. © WISTA-MANAGEMENT GMBH

The European Society for Sustainable Laboratory Technologies (EGNATON) dedicates its commitment entirely to sustainable laboratory technology. Managing Director Egbert Dittrich: “Without a sustainable environment, scientists can hardly conduct sustainable research. Although there are trends in the economy, equipment manufacturers have increasingly focused on energy-saving design in recent years, it requires an independent view in order to grasp and classify all parameters”. EGNATON offers its own certification, which, in contrast to the DGNB system, deals less with the building but with the equipment and working methods.

Very good performance: The BASF laboratory in Ludwigshafen was certified in Gold. © BASF SE

The SpaceLIFT also shows how many spheres can come together in a laboratory, i.e. how complex the evaluation is: areas with clean room technology (i.e. rooms in which the concentration of airborne particles is very low), exploration laboratories for research in the context of dust pollution and a cryo laboratory for research into cryogenic liquids (i.e. liquids with extremely low temperatures) had to be located in a building with an exhibition and visitor areas.

Sustainable laboratories are therefore, not only in the case of SpaceLIFT, like small universes of their own.

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