The NEW-Blauhaus: Blue is the new green

In 2015, a 4,000-square metre, modern energy-efficiency centre was developed on the Hochschule Niederrhein University of Applied Sciences campus in Mönchengladbach. The "NEW-Blauhaus" is a cooperation between the NEW energy and water utility company and Hochschule Niederrhein University of Applied Sciences. Built to passive house standard, it is used to present innovative developments in the energy sector.

The energy balance and technology of the building are impressive. 77 PV modules on the facade and 230 modules on the roof provide so much electricity that the total energy requirement of the building (192,800 kilowatt-hours per year) is covered, thus saving 110 tonnes of CO2 per year.

Engine for progress:

  • zero-emission building to passive house standard
  • 110 tonnes of CO2 are saved every year
  • research into the efficient use of heat from waste water
  • the special facade boosts the efficiency of PV use
  • the energy centre is visible to passers-by
  • advice for citizensOffices are, among others things, rented to start-ups in the energy sector

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Photo: NEW AG

The special façade of the NEW-Blauhaus consists of blue shimmering glass and photovoltaic elements that are inclined toward each other. The angle of inclination is based on the direction the façade is facing and the incidence angle of the sun.

In addition, a 175-cubic metre ice bank is used to heat the building in winter and cool it in summer. In winter, the water in the ice bank releases a lot of energy/heat when freezing. The building is heated by a brine/water heat pump in combination with an ice bank. The waste heat from the offices is made usable with the aid of the concrete core temperature control system. In addition, a 15-kW CHP unit and a condensing boiler can be activated and a fuel cell can be used.

Supporting, trying out and making it possible to experience new solutions

The five-sided building has a special facade, made of blue shimmering glass and photovoltaic elements that are inclined toward each other. The different angles of inclination were determined according to the incidence of sunlight. A window facing the forecourt provides passers-by with a view of the energy centre of the zero-emission building.

Inside the building, the focus is also on energy and energy efficiency issues. In addition to energy consulting rooms, the NEW-Blauhaus is also home to various teaching and administrative units of the Hochschule Niederrhein University of Applied Sciences, the university library and offices for start-up companies. Two electric cars are also available to employees and students. In the course of a pilot project, these vehicles can be hired for a fee on an hourly or daily basis for both business trips and private journeys.

The NEW-Blauhaus is the EnergieAgentur.NRW project of the month for February 2016.

Photo: NEW AG

"The NEW-Blauhaus symbolises not just the good cooperation between NEW as a regional commercial enterprise and Hochschule Niederrhein University of Applied Sciences, but is also emblematic of the responsible handling of energy as a resource, and will in future be the location for bundling innovative projects and NEW business fields."

Armin Marx, CEO of NEW AG, Project Manager for the NEW-Blauhaus

Partners and sponsors

  • NEW Energie und Wasser AG
  • kadawittfeldarchitektur GmbH
  • Hochschule Niederrhein
Counselling centers:
  • EnergieAgentur.NRW