Learning in nature, green building and sustainable action

Green building – GIZ’s Campus Kottenforst in Bonn wins award for its sustainable construction methods.

Sustainability has many facets, one of which is building and construction. In Germany, the German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB) assesses buildings in six different areas of sustainability and certifies them according to how well these are fulfilled. It recently awarded its gold rating to Campus Kottenforst, a building complex in Bonn-Röttgen owned by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH. Assessments involve evaluating not only economic, environmental and sociocultural aspects but also technology, processes and location. To achieve the gold rating, a building must score higher than 65% in DGNB’s assessment system, which comprises 37 criteria. GIZ’s campus building achieved more than 74% overall, and in some areas such as economic efficiency, it scored almost 90%. Campus Kottenforst opened in March 2018. It houses the training centre of the Academy for International Cooperation (AIZ), which provides courses for GIZ staff and other participants in the field of international cooperation. 

A closer look at the new building reveals what sustainable construction means in detail. One aspect is responsible handling and use of resources. The training centre generates 35% less CO2 than traditionally constructed buildings. Minimising energy consumption is also important:  a heat pump used in the building enables geothermal energy to be used for heating. In the summer, the pump conveys heat back into the ground – this cools the building in a way that is better for people’s health, as the harmful coolants used in traditional air-conditioning systems are not required. 

The two-storey timber and glass building has also been designed with economic and social standards in mind. Care has been taken wherever possible to use locally sourced, durable building materials and to ensure that Campus Kottenforst will be more cost-efficient to run and maintain than a traditional building. The new-build’s multi-purpose training rooms can be converted easily into offices. This flexibility will help to avoid any vacancies and is further evidence that the project has been carefully thought out in multiple aspects. The Campus buildings also have barrier-free entrances, and one of the guest apartments has been equipped for participants with physical disabilities. On the new campus, learning, living and leisure all take place in close proximity – after all, the aim is to ensure that people enjoy their time at the new academy.

By building sustainably, GIZ is implementing climate change mitigation within the company itself, in keeping with its aim of becoming climate neutral by 2020. The Meander Building in Bonn, which opened in 2015, also received a gold rating from the DGNB. The new campus building in Bonn, which is scheduled to open at the end of this year, also complies with state-of-the-art standards for sustainable construction.

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