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Energy Efficient Lab Renovation: A Demonstration Project that Contributes to a Sustainable Campus Development

Manfred Kleemann, Research Centre Juelich, STE

The German Helmholtz society is an association of 15 national research centres, which are active in the fields of energy, earth and environment, health, key technologies, structure of matter, transport and space. One of these centres is the Research Centre Juelich, which has 4,400 employees, of whom about 1,100 are scientists. The campus covers an area of one square mile and consists of about 80 buildings. The building stock includes research labs, offices, lecture halls, a large library and utility buildings. Most of the buildings were erected in the early seventies and do not meet current energy efficiency standards. There is a considerable potential for energy savings, therefore, a demonstration project has been initiated with the objective of renovating an existing lab in order to reduce energy consumption by 60%. The project serves as a demonstration project for further lab renovations of the Helmholtz society.

The renovated lab was built in 1973 and served as a chemistry research building. The total floor space area amounted to 35,300 square feet. After the renovation the lab is used for botanical research. Additionally a large greenhouse has been erected outside. The energy efficient renovation included a significant improvement to the thermal insulation of the whole building envelope, modernisation of lighting systems and a renewal of HVAC systems. A comprehensive thermal measuring and evaluation programme will be carried out during the next two years to optimise the whole system. Based on the experiences of this project, a research laboratory renovation guidebook is under preparation.

Labs21 Connection:

The lab renovation described here shares commonalties with the Labs21 Approach, which among other things is related to minimizing environmental impacts and optimizing whole-building efficiency. In particular, this project illustrates significant energy savings.


Manfred Kleemann has received his diploma in mechanical engineering from the Aachen University in Germany. He has written a dissertation on compact heat exchangers. Since 1973 he works as scientist and project manager in the Research Centre Juelich. His research activities focussed on energy and environment studies and on the assessment of new energy technologies. Since 1996 he is head of the research group "Energy Supply for Buildings and Renewable Energies". He gave lessons at the Aachen University in "Optimisation of Energy Systems" and became in 1998 honorary professor.


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