Smart Cities: Siemens’ New Headquarters
Smart Cities: Siemens’ New Headquarters
Siemens’ new headquarters complex in the heart of Munich will use 90 percent less electricity, 75 percent less water, and generate 90 percent less CO2 than its predecessor. What’s more, it is already one of the most modern and sustainable office complexes in the world.
The key requirements for Siemens’ new corporate headquarters in the heart of Munich were that it be more open, more innovative, and more energy efficient than the buildings it replaced. With its over 45,000 square meters of floor space, the building complex was meant to be more than just a replacement for the previous complex, which after years of acquisitions had become a sprawling conglomeration of disparate buildings that would have been impractical to modernize. Rather, it was meant to create a healthier and more flexible environment for employees while helping to revitalize downtown Munich. In addition, the complex was designed with openness in mind. Thus, rather than creating a barrier, it was to be an attractive space that would be open to the public and a pedestrian link to the arts district. Above all, the new headquarters was designed to be largely energy self-sufficient. Sustainability and an optimally energy-efficient design were therefore crucial criteria from the very beginning.
Putting Geothermal Energy and Rainwater to Work
The result is truly impressive. The new building uses 90 percent less electricity, 75 percent less water, and produces 90 percent less CO2 emissions than the previous headquarters. These values make the new corporate headquarters a stellar example of energy efficiency. The building will be certified with the Platinum label, according to both the international standard Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) and its German counterpart, the German Sustainable Building Council. The complex was designed, insulated, und shaded in such a way as to minimize energy demand.
The use of geothermal energy, for example, is an important part of the building’s climate control system. About 100,000 liters of water per hour are pumped through 70 kilometers of pipes in the foundation slab and continuously circulated throughout the building, thus heating or cooling the building depending on the season. An efficient ceiling-mounted heating and cooling system ensures pleasant indoor temperatures. Enlarged pipes reduce flow resistance, thus helping to save even more energy.
All the facades facing the interior courtyards feature generously sized windows and are sloped by approximately 5 percent, allowing considerable daylight into interior rooms and courtyards. A maximum of approximately 1.5 million liters of rainwater can be collected on the roof of the new headquarters and used to flush toilets, among other uses. The outdoor areas are also irrigated with rainwater as needed. If more rainwater than needed is collected, the surplus trickles into the groundwater through a system of underground trenches. The complex’s ultramodern rooftop photovoltaic system can generate up to nearly one third of the headquarters’ electricity.
Energy-Saving Technologies from Siemens
Naturally, Siemens’ own technologies will provide a big slice of the headquarters’ energy savings. For instance, the Desigo building management platform from Siemens Building Technologies will collect and analyze data generated by the primary heating, ventilation, and cooling systems distributed throughout the complex and automatically optimize their functions.
The Desigo platform and its Total Room Automation (TRA) system also controls lighting and shading. In addition, it automatically detects unnecessary energy use and announces it by means of a “green leaf” display on each room’s energy management interface. By simply pressing on the control console, the user can automatically change the room control to energy-optimized operation.
The complex’s partially indirect LED lighting from Osram also plays an important role in terms of minimizing energy demand. The lighting adapts to changing levels of daylight in the rooms, while the use of LEDs instead of conventional lamps is expected to cut electricity demand nearly in half. A smart control system combined with daylight sensors and presence detectors generates additional electricity savings.
Far-Sighted Energy Goals
“A key aspect of the overall energy concept in the new headquarters complex is not only to consume much less energy than before, but also to satisfy the remaining electricity demand with electricity from renewable sources to the greatest extent possible,” says Jesper Friis, the responsible for the complex’s building systems in the Siemens Real Estate's team. “This will help Siemens meet its ambitious CO2 goals.” The company wants to become the world’s first large industrial enterprise to have a neutral CO2 footprint by 2030. In fact, it plans to cut its carbon dioxide emissions in half by 2020.
As an ultra-low energy building, the new Siemens headquarters is a stellar example of resource efficiency. In addition to the use of geothermal heat, photovoltaic’s, rainwater, and advanced building automation systems, this success can also be credited to indirect factors such as the use of materials with a high level of recycling content (more than 250 tons in all). Moreover, many regional building materials were used, including, for example, more than 23,000 natural stone slabs from the Altmühltal Nature Park just outside Munich and certified wood and wood materials produced from sustainable forestry practices. Instead of wood preservatives, the company opted to use products bearing an environmental protection product declaration and biologically-based products. “The LEED certification is usually only associated with energy efficiency,” Friis says. “To attain this certificate, however, a company must also meet ecological criteria such as the avoidance of harmful emissions, the use of regional, low-polluting, and environmentally friendly materials such as floor coverings, wall paneling, paints, adhesives, and FSC-certified wood, for example. This way, natural resources are conserved.”
From Communications to a Reduced CO2 Footprint
The company’s thinking with regard to its new headquarters’ CO2 footprint did not end at the complex’s perimeter. One of the company’s goals was to minimize employees’ need to travel by investing in the best possible communications. Thus, in the auditorium, presentations from around the world can appear on a full HD-LED video screen measuring 13 square meters. Two million LEDs produce a brilliant picture under all lighting conditions. One hundred high-end loudspeakers rated at roughly 30,000 watts produce excellent sound. Similarly high-quality media technology can also be found in the numerous conference rooms and lounges throughout the new headquarters.
Siemens products from Energy Management are also used for the entire energy system. “Switchgear, transformers, busbar systems, and emergency generators ensure optimal energy distribution throughout the building,” explains Siemens Energy Management Project Manager Klaus Hürttlen. “Furthermore, our rooftop PV system reduces energy purchases and allows for a minimal energy footprint, which is important in a modern office building.” The Siemens headquarters complex also features 21 parking spaces equipped with e-car charging poles and charging stations for roughly 20 electric bicycles. All in all, Siemens has created a future-oriented building to satisfy its needs while also contributing to a more livable city.