New GEO I Institute building at University of Münster: Climate-wise research and teaching

The Building and Infrastructure Service NRW (BLB NRW) and the Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität (WWU) Münster have created a Green Building for the new Institute of Geosciences (GEO I). To meet the high Green Building specifications, the planners had to analyse the life cycle costs over the building’s whole useful life. The result was a building which substantially exceeds the requirements of the EnEV 2009 (German Energy Saving Ordinance).

In 2008, the Building and Infrastructure Service NRW (Münster branch) launched a general contractor competition for a new building to house the Institute of Geosciences (GEO I) at the Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster (University of Münster – WWU). The objective was the construction of a Green Building. In order to meet the high requirements of this specification, the planners had to tackle the project in a holistic and interdisciplinary way; the life cycle costs over the building’s whole useful life had to be analysed so as to find the best solutions from the ecological, economic and architectural perspectives. In 2011, the ground was broken for the two-year construction phase of the climate-friendly faculty building.

Engine for progress:

  • Reducing CO2 emissions by 215 tonnes of per year
  • Whole life cycle costs taken into consideration
  • Building materials carefully chosen to avoid harmful substances
  • Model for sustainable construction in the public sector

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Photo: agn niederberghaus & partner gmbh / Jörg Albano Müller

On completion, the building received a gold award in the educational buildings category based on the criteria of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Nachhaltiges Bauen (DGNB German Sustainable Building Council). It was also recognised as a Green Building by the Green Building Programme of the EU Commission.

Concrete core activation, green electricity and solar thermal energy, rainwater toilet flushing

The new institute significantly exceeds the requirements of the EnEV 2009 (German Energy Saving Ordinance) – thanks to its compact design and optimised insulation.

Concrete core activation provides energy-efficient heating and cooling of the rooms. Piping was also built into ceiling and wall spaces, which can be used to circulate fluid. The large heat transfer surfaces mean that even low flow temperatures can supply the rooms with adequate heat in winter.

A solar thermal appliance with an output of 35 kilowatts and a district heating connection serve to supply hot water and heating. Additionally, clean electricity is provided by a photovoltaic system on the roof and a green electricity supplier. Even mains water usage is reduced by using rainwater to flush the toilets.

Photo: Bau- und Liegenschaftsbetrieb NRW

“With the building of the new Geosciences Institute in Münster, we succeeded in minimising the building’s energy requirements and, at the same time, maximising the use of renewable energies. We are proud to have created with this building a model for future buildings in North Rhine-Westphalia.”

Markus Vieth, Head of the Münster branch of the Building and Infrastructure Service NRW (BLB NRW

Partners and sponsors

  • Bau- und Liegenschaftsbetrieb NRW, Niederlassung Münster
  • Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität
  • Öko-Zentrum NRW GmbH
  • Landesregierung NRW

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