The term ‘sustainability’ is often used excessively; however, the Kreissparkasse [district savings bank] in Göppingen has impressively revitalized it over the course of their construction project. The environment, employees, and customers all profit from the results of the new construction plus renovation, which combine energy efficiency with comfort. The German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB) awarded the new construction with a gold medal for systematic execution of a green building design. The renovated building, constructed in 1974, received silver. In addition to design and architecture, the intelligent climate-control technology, using state of the art WAGO controllers, is a key component in the dapper building complex. One novelty is the comprehensive academic support for the optimized, energy-efficient construction.
The renovation and construction of the Kreissparkasse was a complex undertaking and represents a milestone for the city of the Hohenstaufens. For many years, the bank’s employees had been scattered across five locations. Today, they work in one location that spans an entire city block; the old building, constructed in 1974, was combined in a modern way with the new wing. The double facades of the new ensemble, located on the Marktstraße, appear timelessly modern and functional. The office and conference rooms are open and configured to facilitate communication; numerous gathering points and so-called multi-purpose areas foster discussions among the employees. The customer center conveys a friendly and service-oriented atmosphere. An especially surprising eye-catcher is Fritz Schwegler’s over-sized “Hirsch mit dem roten Schal” [deer with the red scarf], which has pride of place in the interior courtyard.
Researchers on Site
Benjamin Krockenberger is quite at home in “his” Kreissparkasse. He has been well acquainted with the building’s technology for years. While he is currently the Staff Engineer for Building and Energy Technology at the Kreissparkasse, he got to know the interior of the rambling complex as a research assistant to Prof. Markus Tritschler. Tritschler, who holds a PhD in engineering and teaches at the Esslingen University of Applied Science, applied his research skills to support the energy-efficient construction of the Kreissparkasse in Esslingen between 2012 and 2014. The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy provided the university with research funds due to the importance of energy-efficient construction for environmental protection. The goal of the research project in Göppingen was to monitor the building technology installations and to optimize their operations with regard to ecological and economical values, and thus create a comfortable indoor climate for employees and customers.
Far more than the usual amount of data were collected for the academic research side of the project. Around 2000 measured values flowed into a data base every minute. “Temperature, consumption, valve settings, pump run times, and much more was recorded and then evaluated,” explains Krockenberger. It is highly unusual that academic researchers were involved this early and at this level in testing a renovation and new construction for energy efficiency. Professor Tritschler and his team also broke new ground in their techniques. “Energy-Optimized Construction: Monitoring and Optimizing Operations at the Kreissparkasse Göppingen” was the title of Krockenberger’s research project. Using statistic process control methods, he monitored the building’s heating and control technology for several years. Over the course of this, he measured his recorded values against a defined reference process, and was able to provide early interventions against deviations by reconfiguring the building technology. Even before construction began, a series of tests were executed in the laboratory, the heating energy consumption was monitored on site, and the components of the HVAC systems were individually tuned. “It was already quite unusual that we measured, evaluated, and optimized individual modules at this level of intensity,” reports the researcher, a professor of engineering from the Esslingen University Department of Building Services, Energy, and Environmental Engineering. After concluding the research project in 2014, the academics continued with their support activities, in that they recorded data and monitored the operational optimization.
Communication on the Highest Level
The measurement and control technology in Göppingen’s new town landmark relies in many areas on WAGO solutions, like BACnet/IP Controllers and the associated configurators. The integrated interfaces ensure excellent communication in the heating and cooling systems in the building. This is not a trivial undertaking in a building that claims to meet the highest demands of modern building automation. “With the intelligent WAGO modules, an optimal level of exchange is achieved for all of the important information, which must be communicated within an integrated building automation system,” explains Bernd Landmann, Department Manager for Building Automation at Heldele, the company based in Salach that was responsible for the design and installation of the modern control technology in the building.
Cool in the Summer, Warm in the Winter
The energy design is certainly convincing: the temperature in the office spaces is controlled using thermally-activated components. So-called edge strip elements, which are mounted under the ceilings near the windows, transport heat in the winter and cooling in the summer. Even though most temperature control is provided by the building’s concrete core, the individual needs of the employees are also supported. Krockenberger explains, “The employees can change the temperature, and other aspects of climate control in the building, by using a PC interface.” Heat management in the building is regulated by the control center to be environmentally friendly. This is ensured by two modern pellet boilers that each have an output of 300 kW. A heat exchanger that draws from the effluent lines adds to the efficiency of the heating and cooling. Essential concepts for individual rooms and offices include a sophisticated ventilation system and lighting that mimics daylight, while also allowing individualized control. The intelligent combination of several technical systems is key to the building automation design, which is systematically based on ecological sustainability. Bernd Landmann knows what type of qualifications are necessary for adjusting building automation components to function optimally with each other. “It was very important to us that the components be freely programmable.”
That is why he decided on technology from WAGO for many hardware and software components in the building. This enabled constant optimization of operations during the process, which was in turn based on the insights gained from the academic research. Rainer Knodel, WAGO Systems Advisor for Building Automation, adds, “This corresponds to our philosophy of providing users with the flexibility to use our products according to their needs. In addition, our new libraries and macros facilitate their individualized use, as programming on site is no longer necessary and they only require parameterization based on readymade macros.” The HVAC libraries, which enable implementation of even highly complex HVAC applications without a large expenditure, are one of the reasons that WAGO solutions were selected for the project, according to Landmann.
“The HVAC libraries provided us with a comprehensive database at no additional charge, and we have received extensive support from WAGO as we individually configure the libraries to our needs.” The standardization of the libraries and the scope of the available macros save time and money during installation. Knodel explains, “Whenever we develop an individual customer solution, we reflect this process by adding it to our libraries.” This allows WAGO to continuously develop their applications and to consistently adapt them to current market conditions. The employees in the Kreissparkasse in Göppingen are already benefiting from the many intelligent solutions that provide them with an optimal work environment.
Text: Klaus Ebbigmann, WAGO
Photo: Volker Wiciok/vor-ort-foto.de