New UBA building serves as a model for sustainable construction

German Environment Agency opens climate-neutral extension in Dessau

When in operation, the building will be entirely self-sufficient in renewable energy – through photovoltaics and a heat pump.Click to enlarge
UBA's second office building at the agency's headquarters in Dessau-Roßlau

On Monday 4 September 2023, the German Environment Agency (UBA) inaugurated its second office building at its headquarters in Dessau-Roßlau. When in operation, the building will be entirely self-sufficient in renewable energy – through photovoltaics and a heat pump. In addition, environmentally compatible building materials such as recycled concrete and insulation with renewable raw materials were used. The building can therefore serve as a model for other federal buildings.

On the occasion of the inauguration of the new building, UBA ⁠President Dirk Messner said: "Today is a good day – and not only for the German Environment Agency. We finally have enough office and conference space so that our employees in Dessau-Roßlau can work under the most modern and sustainable conditions. At the same time, with the new building we have shown how public buildings of the future can be constructed, namely 100 per cent climate-neutral while conserving resources."

Innovative energy-plus building

The building, which cost around 13.5 million euros, sets innovative standards in sustainable construction. The energy-plus building is designed not only to completely cover its own energy needs, but also to generate additional energy as far as possible.

This goal is accomplished by a photovoltaic system covering almost 830 m² on the façade as well as on the roof. On the façade, the photovoltaic units alternate with the windows and are positioned at a 75-degree angle in order to achieve a higher yield of solar energy.  Additional energy is generated by a 54 kW heat pump connected to 32 geothermal probes.  

111 new jobs

The construction of the building had become necessary in order to be able to provide sufficient workspaces for UBA employees. Due to new tasks in research and law enforcement, the number of employees at the Dessau-Roßlau site has risen from about 750 to around 1,150 over the past 20 or so years.

The new office building now provides space for 111 employees. Like the main building, it is designed for sharing individual workstations (desk sharing, combined with mobile working), so that even with a possible further increase in staff, no additional extensions will be necessary in the foreseeable future.

Delay due to building defects

Construction of the new UBA building began in 2016. As early as the end of 2017, defective work on the façade was discovered, in particular in the area of insulation work and windows. Construction work was then halted to clarify the issues so that the defects would not be built over. In May 2022, construction activities on the façade were allowed to resume. A judicial clarification of who is responsible for the defects and thus has to bear the costs for their remediation is still pending.

Umweltbundesamt Headquarters

Wörlitzer Platz 1
06844 Dessau-Roßlau

Printer-friendly version
 German Environment Agency  Dessau  building  heat pumps  building integrated photovoltaics