BOB Aachen: Sustainable office building as master plan

What does an office building look like when it is particularly energy efficient and can be managed economically? This is the question BOB efficiency design AG asked – and then came up with the answer: the Balanced Office Building (BOB), with an optimised life-cycle, was built in the Aachen-Laurensberg solar development. It is recognised internationally as a model project for sustainable commercial building and serves as a prototype for an office building series.

With the Aachen prototype of the Balanced Office Building (BOB), the developers have combined tradition with innovation. BOB takes heat and cold from a near-surface geothermal source, and successfully achieves 100 per cent regenerative cooling, which is normally energy-intensive, using underground low temperatures.

Engine for progress:

  • efficiency and life cycle optimisation are priorities
  • lowest independently verified final energy use for an office building in Germany
  • master plan as basis for sustainable commercial building
  • simple technical systems in continuing evolution

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Photo: Jörg Hempel

The Balanced Office Building Aachen is the prototype of an efficient office building series and is cooled entirely based on geothermal energy. All systems and components are life cycle optimised.

Appropriate building physics and concrete core temperature control, which ensures a high degree of comfort, complete the concept. The ‘BOB.i’ balance control with weather forecast technology is a particular development, which opens up new paths in control technology. For it uses meteorological data to interlink the building services systems for heating, cooling and ventilation. Intelligent light management, with daylight controlled venetian blinds, heat and moisture recovery, and many other technical innovations enable the building environmental costs to be kept extremely low (27 kWh/m2 and year for heating, cooling, ventilation and light, constantly monitored). In comparison with traditional newly built office buildings of comparable size this represents a reduction of 40 tonnes of CO2 per year and allows BOB to claim the lowest, independently verified final energy consumption for heating, cooling, ventilation and lighting of any office building in Germany.

Series production of office buildings: climate-friendly, economical, easily achievable

BOB is configured in such a way that its climate-friendly design can easily be replicated in any situation and is particularly suitable for medium-sized businesses. In a series of buildings, individually designed and of different sizes but with an identical technical base concept, the innovative, sustainable technology becomes economic. But elements of the concept can also be retrofitted into existing office building layouts. Up to now, projects have been carried out in the Netherlands and the German cities of Dresden and Hanover. Throughout NRW and the whole Federal Republic, other office buildings are being planned by the BOB network. And the BOB concept will also be exported to other countries.
The sustainability of BOB does not end with energy use. At the heart of the concept are the comfort and quality of the working environment for the office workers. This also includes solutions for the digitisation of the workplace, environment-friendly mobility, health in the workplace, integrated childcare and consideration of the consequences of demographic change. So clients can choose for example a special day care unit with equipment, which will enable women to make an early return to work. Work stations have the right dimensions for the integration of age-appropriate healthy standing desks, and equipment for electric vehicles and E-bikes is already provided in the utility room.

Photo: Thomas Giesen

“The product concept is still completely unknown in the building industry. But using it enables high-quality sustainable buildings to be built at competitive prices. Our office building product is an important step in this direction – a particularly attractive, sustainable and climate-friendly start.”

Dr. Bernhard Frohn, Board Member, BOB AG

Partners and sponsors

  • BOB efficiency design AG
  • Hahn Helten + Assoziierte Architekten GmbH
  • B. Walter Ingenieurgesellschaft mbH
  • Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Energie (BMWi)