Transparent purpose

German company Deutsche Bahn designs prefabricated climate-neutral stations that are as environmentally friendly as they are comfortable for passengers. Where light and glass play a decisive role.

It all began in 2009 under the ambitious working title “Station of the Future”. StationGreen in Kerpen-Horrem, in West Germany, opened its doors in summer 2014. Since then, the German company has continued its efforts to make its stations greener. In addition to the sustainable medium-sized stations in Lutherstadt Wittenberg and Horrem, which have already been completed, the company is now focusing on smaller stations that accommodate up to roughly 5,000 passengers per day.

These new small green stations include five features that allow for simplified construction. First of all, they are made of wood and thus constructed sustainably. The new station buildings are prefabricated and just have to be assembled on site. All station buildings are based on the same elements, meaning they can be mass-produced and then customised. The design is simple and is aimed at minimising the complexity of facility management. At the pilot station in Zorneding (near Munich), being completed, Deutsche Bahn is installing a photovoltaic system on the station roof that will supply both the building and the transport infrastructure using an electricity storage system. Deutsche Bahn has committed to reaching an ambitious goal in climate protection, aiming to be completely climate neutral by 2040.

StationGreen in Kerpen-Horrem, in West Germany, is Europe’s first climate-neutral station.

“We asked ourselves: what will the station of the future look like?”,  Oliver Hasenkamp, Director Object Development and Architectural Planning said. “We were interested not only in developing the railways as an environmentally friendly system of mobility that conserves resources and minimises its CO2 emissions. We also wanted to focus on convenience and comfort for future passengers. We designed the StationGreen so that the station takes advantage of natural resources such as solar energy using both solar cells and large facade windows. We believe that environmental issues are directly connected to greater comfort and convenience”. StationGreen combines architectural transparency with a consistent environmental approach, intermodal function, digital facilities and barrier-free access.

A station is always a meeting point. And that made it important to bring as much light into the building as possible. Light is life and StationGreen is all about natural light. At StationGreen, resource-saving energy generation starts right from the top. The roof structure is a ribbed construction of laminated veneer lumber, a renewable natural resource. The StationGreen model in Horrem supports a photovoltaic installation covering 340 m2 with a total energy production of approximately 31,000 kWh p.a., which is fed into the public power grid.

StationGreen takes advantage of natural resources such as solar energy using both solar cells and large facade windows. photovoltaic installation generates electricity and reduces carbon emissions.

Solar collectors are used to generate hot water for facilities inside the building. Roof-mounted solar thermal system. Underground geothermal system. Here, the carbon-neutral station also provides energy – using a heatpump system with geothermal probes that allow water to circulate and then carry warmth to radiators and underfloor heating. A brine/water heat pump achieves maximum effectiveness.

Green roof and rainwater management. A biotope right above the tracks? For StationGreen, mobility and environmental protection is not a contradiction in terms. Planted with grasses and herbs, StationGreen’s rooftop not only generates solar energy, but also collects rainwater for use in the building’s sanitary facilities. Water percolation and evaporation on roof surfaces and the surrounding land creates a slight cooling effect in the building and adjoining areas. As well as improving the microclimate, the green roof and soil boosts insulation. StationGreen is also a digital station, beginning at the ticket desk. Passengers can talk to customer service staff around the clock by videoconference. This cuts costs and offers convenient added value for customers.

DomusAir n. 8. Cover
DomusAir n. 8. Cover

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