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Being able to design a remarkable, intelligent house is one thing; receiving the highest accolade from an expert authority for this kind of project is something else. Hager Group’s research and application centre in Blieskastel has managed just that: the new building, which was completed in 2013, ranks among Germany’s 100 “Excellent Places” in 2015, selected by the nationwide initiative “Germany – Land of Ideas”. The certificate, which is signed by the federal president, will be presented to Hager Group on 12th October.
“Germany – Land of Ideas” is a joint national initiative which brings together politics and business. It was founded by the federal government and the Federation of German Industries (BDI) in 2005 with the aim of making Germany visible and recognisable with its strength in innovation and creative presence – both at home and abroad. Since then, projects have been initiated with various partners to illustrate Germany’s inventiveness in the best way possible.
A building which automatically learns more and more about itself
The research and application centre in Blieskastel undoubtedly counts among these projects. The idea behind it stems from the first Hager Group Innovation Day, an idea contest launched by the group with its German and French roots, which saw members of staff taking part from across all departments and countries. The office building covers an area of 3,000 square metres and is designed as a kind of green power plant: at least two-thirds of the building’s energy requirement is self-generated all year round. On the roof, solar panels produce electricity from the power of the sun, while a highly efficient combined heat and power plant converts gas into heat and electricity in the basement. Energy generated is either stored in a 100 kWh buffer tank or used immediately, depending on requirements.
The heart and brain of the building is, however, an innovative energy management system which, on the one hand, coordinates three energy sources at once with its photovoltaic installation, combined heat and power plant and the public power grid, while weather forecasts and the building’s energy use are recorded on the other. Around 5,000 data points spread around the entire building register the energy use of each individual consumer in real time and integrate this information into the management system’s calculation model, which Hager Group developed together with industry partners. Self-learning and foresighted, the building develops strategies in this way to ensure more intelligent storage and efficient use of energy. A similar energy storage system is currently being operated by Hager Group in the German Pavilion at Expo Milano 2015. (More information can be found here.)
Top-class panel opts for Blieskastel
With these characteristics, the building won over the “Land of Ideas” expert panel, made up of scientists, business managers, journalists and politicians, which selects the best of numerous projects and ideas. Members of the panel include energy expert Professor Claudia Kemfert, Andrej Kupetz, managing director of the German Design Council, and Professor Hans-Jörg Bullinger, member of the Fraunhofer Senate. Chairing the panel are Professor Martin Roth, director of London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, and Professor Martin Hüther, director of the Cologne Institute for Economic Research.
The contest title is in fact attributed to former federal president Horst Köhler. In his inaugural speech on 23rd May 2004, he declared, “Germany – a land of ideas: in my eyes, this means curiosity and experimentation. Showing courage, creativity and a desire for the new without excluding the old, in all areas of life.” Precisely this spirit of discovery is reflected in the now distinguished building par excellence.
Interview with Johannes Hauck, Corporate Strategy and Business Development, on the topic "Germany – Land of Ideas" (German)
Press release : Land of ideas 2015 (DOC, 374 KB)
Pictures : Land of Ideas 2015 (ZIP, 21,6 MB)