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Sustainable technologies at ECB

The concept of “ecological construction” is applied in various areas: A space saving construction style contributes to the protection of soil and vegetation as does the layout of biotopes and green spaces. This allows the opportunity to avoid the soil sealing over and supports the collection and infiltration of precipitation throughout the grounds.

Strains on the water supply are reduced through the use of rain water. Rain water from approximately 2 000 m2 of roof surface area is collected in two rain water tanks and, after a mechanical purification process, is used for flushing toilets, watering plants, for cleaning duties and as a coolant for an adsorption refrigeration system.

Criteria relevant to the environment came into play in the selection of construction and other materials, such as the primary energy efficiency, the overall energy balance of the products during manufacturing, the pollution emissions and the availability and recyclability of the materials.

The energy and heating supply which neutralises CO2 is provided to ECB through a local heating network fed by the biomass cogeneration plant in Neubruecke, which is located in the immediate vicinity of the campus, in the “Oekompark” industrial and commercial area.

The woodchip burning facility uses renewable materials such as used and scrap wood as fuel, as well as forestry waste, production waste from the woodworking industry and cuttings from the agricultural sector. The two cogeneration plants use biogas from the nearby fermentation facility for communal biowaste from households in the administrative districts of Birkenfeld and Bad Kreuznach to generate electricity and heat. The fermentation remains are processed into high-quality compost.

Due to the fact that the volume of electricity generated greatly exceeds the annual consumption by ECB, and the fact that the site can theoretically cover its entire heating and power demands with renewable energy, the campus has been classified as a “Zero Emission University”.

Several photovoltaic units provide additional contributions towards energy generation. Both multi and polycrystalline as well as amorphous cells offering an overall generative power of 19 kWp were installed on a total surface area of 370 m2. The modules are primarily integrated into the facade of the glass building and help guard the adjoining connecting corridors from excessive glare and overheating in the summer months.

The campus’ electricity consumption is reduced through the use of rooftop light shafts, known as sky lights, since these reduce the amount of time during which artifical lighting is required.

Various efficient technologies are combined for the air condition of the buildings.
The ventilation system for the new main building comes through three intake pipes with fresh ambient air. First of all, the supply of air streams through earth collectors which are 55 m long and buried 3.75 m into the ground. Given the practically constant 12°C temperature of the earth at this depth, the temperature of the air flow can be raised or lowered by up to 6°C throughout the year. A heat exchanger and solid absorber for heat retrieval from the used exhaust air also contribute to pre-warming the fresh air.

Through this pre-cooling or pre-warming of the supply air, the individually adjustable room temperatures can be achieved with a substantially low expenditure of energy. Transparent heat insulating elements were installed in front of various solid walls to act as a solar wall heater, reducing heat loss and contributing to the conversion of radiation energy into heat energy.

The adsorption refrigeration machine uses heat from the solar thermal unit and district heating as the driving temperature. A silica gel adsorption agent flows through a tower cooled with rain water in order to produce cool air.

This environmentally friendly building engineering system is controlled and optimised using a computer-controlled building automation system. The system controls both natural and artificial lighting, heating and cooling of the building as well as the opening and closing of windows. The fresh air supply in the reading room is managed by CO2 sensors.

In future, the campus’ zero emissions concept will be extended to water.

Preparations for an innovative and sustainable water management system for the site are currently being designed under the leadership of IfaS as part of the teaching curriculum and scientific work.

Alongside the usage of rain water which has already been implemented, separation of the water into grey, brown or yellow water will take place, in order to regain the contained nutrients. The remaining waste water will be channelled into a constructed wetland.