An analysis carried out by BNP Paribas Real Estate on developments in the area of green buildings reveals that certified sustainable buildings accounted for one quarter of the total investment volume in commercial real estate in 2021. The certification of buildings – by the German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB) or according to the LEED programme, for example – represents an important instrument in the pursuit of climate protection goals. Office buildings are no exception here. Various fascinating options are available in this field of construction: Recycled building materials can be used, or facades with greenery can be incorporated into the planning. We have come across three sustainable office developments featuring striking approaches to sustainability which also give rise to impressive architecture.
Innovative hybrid timber construction: the “i8” in Munich
The iCampus in Munich’s Werksviertel district is currently the city’s largest continuous development site for office buildings. Construction work on the i8, a flexible office complex, is due to begin soon. The building has been designed by Danish architecture firm C.F. Møller. What sets i8 apart is that it will be a hybrid timber construction with a facade made of of recycled anodised aluminium. Apart from providing for a good environmental life cycle assessment, this will also have positive effects on the people who work at i8. Whether used on its own or in hybrid constructions, wood is a building material which releases virtually no hazardous substances into the environment and which provides a well-balanced indoor climate in terms of humidity and temperature. In addition, wood demonstrably improves people’s health and well-being. Studies show that wood as a visible and palpable building material reduces stress and can even boost productivity. And the i8 has plenty of other benefits in store for its users besides: High room heights and varying room depths allow maximum levels of light into the building. The layout plan is designed for flexibility and diverse uses - as individual or team offices or in any combinations of different types of rooms. This versatility will pay off over the building’s long service life by enabling it to adapt to changing requirements - a further addition to i8’s sustainability credentials.
A holistic approach: The “grasblau” In Berlin
The “grasblau” – an office building with 13.350 m² of floor space – is currently under construction in the heart of Berlin, in the direct vicinity of Potsdamer Platz. It is being developed as a green building, according to a holistic sustainability concept. The building has been designed by Berlin architecture firm HPP Architekten. The flexible layout plan will allow users to design their rented premises according to their needs – as individual offices, combined solutions or open-space environments. The developers are aiming to secure Gold certification from the German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB). The holistic concept brings together various sustainability aspects. The systematic use of digital technology is central to this concept – to ensure optimum operation of the cutting-edge heating and cooling systems while also recuperating energy, for example. By virtue of these measures, the building’s primary energy consumption is already well below the reference levels which will apply in future on the basis of the German energy act for buildings (GEG). Only environment-friendly materials which pose no health risks are being used for the building and composites are being fully avoided. The property will also facilitate green mobility for its users, with e-charging stations, covered bicycle parking stands and showers for commuting cyclists. The grasblau proclaims itself to be “our capital’s first tomorrow-proof building” – the sustainable and digital building concept means that tenants will be well set to cope with any changes in the future.
Green office tower: “Nion” in Frankfurt
The UN Studio architecture firm from Amsterdam came up with the winning design in a competition for the Nion. The striking office tower makes its mark in the cityscape in masterly fashion. It also points the way in terms of climate protection and ecology. Parts of the adjoining base building and the tower feature greenery. A green recess running up the outside of the tower continues into the building, offering users a special quality setting inside. The greenery also establishes a link with the park which is to be developed nearby. The energy concept draws on geothermal sources, which are to cover 70 per cent of heating needs and 30 per cent of cooling requirements. Solar cells in the facade are to supply ten per cent of the required electricity. The office tower is scheduled for completion at the beginning of 2026.