Working in an award-winning building

Global Product Strategy – Initiative for the safe handling of chemicals

Anyone who designs a new building today should think about tomorrow. Saving at the wrong end can quickly lead to a need for renovation due to higher energy costs or a poor building structure. But a lack of energy efficiency is not only detrimental in economic terms; it also has an adverse effect on the ecobalance. Sustainable, resource-efficient construction is gaining in importance worldwide, as “green” building saves energy and protects the environment.

The BYK division in Wesel faced this challenge with its new laboratory building. And passed the test with flying colors. The building, which was occupied in  2012, was planned and built in such an environmentally friendly way that it became the first building in Germany to receive the LEED Platinum label from the U.S. Green Building Council. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification is the standard for high-quality ecological buildings. The award was given not only for the building’s energy efficiency, but also for factors pertaining to ecological construction, e.g. the building material, the room climate, and the comfort of users.

30 percent energy savings

During a construction period of two years, BYK created 9,000 square meters of laboratory space for around 130 workplaces distributed on five levels. “This state-of-the-art laboratory building is a further component of our comprehensive Greenability concept,” says Albert von Hebel, BYK’s Managing Director Finance. “We not only develop additives enabling our clients to bring environment-friendlier products onto the market, but we are looking for ways of acting in a more environmentally aware way right here at our home base. This Platinum status gives us excellent confirmation and spurs us on to continue down this path.” Even in the planning stage, the architects attached special importance to efficient use of energy. Thanks to geothermal energy, heat pumps, and heat recovery, the primary energy consumption is 30 percent lower than that of standard buildings. In addition, sufficient daylight in the building was ensured by the targeted use of transparent partition walls. As a result, less artificial light and thus cooling capacity is needed. The construction materials used consist partly of renewable raw materials or can be recycled easily. The thermal insulation and the entire ventilation system also meet the stringent energy requirements of the Green Building Council.

ELANTAS Beck India’s new administrative building is another new building that ALTANA erected according to environmentally friendly principles. The employees, who had previously worked in downtown Pune, moved to the grounds of the production site in the suburb of Pimpri. This change alone has brought lasting advantages. First, the time-consuming drives between production and administration are no longer necessary. And second, internal work processes and communication were accelerated. Work at the Pimpri site has since become much more efficient.

Natural ventilation supports the air-conditioning

The energy consumption of the new property was also improved. The overall concept is so sophisticated and comprehensive that the architects, who specialize in environmentally conscious building, received the AESA (Architects Engineers Surveyors Association) Award 2013. The V-shaped building is made of recycled concrete. And the air-conditioning, including the speed-controlled ventilators, which keep the room temperature at about 24 degrees Celsius via a presence sensor, is supported by natural cooling, the so-called Venturi effect, through an open roof over a glazed atrium and roof overhangs providing shade.

The ponds that enclose three sides of the building make a key contribution to the cool microclimate. The water for these bodies of water comes from the plant’s own sewage system. Rotatable blinds also prevent the interior from heating up too much. They let in sufficient daylight, reducing the need for artificial light. Dr. Matthias L. Wolfgruber, the CEO of ALTANA, was enthusiastic about the advanced building at the opening ceremony. He congratulated the staff on their new workspace and encouraged them to derive inspiration from the refreshing green environment.