Consulting from Müller-BBM turns the over 100 years old Victoria House in Berlin-Dahlem into an energy-efficiency model building

Reopening of the 100 years old, heritage listed and internationally renowned greenhouse in Berlin

The Victoria House, over 100 years old and a heritage listed building, is one of the most fascinating greenhouses in the Botanical Garden in Berlin-Dahlem as well as a scientific institution of international renown.

© Dirk Altenkirch, Victoria House roof

With temperatures above 30 degrees Celsius and a humidity of 85 %, hundreds of tropical marsh and water plants grow in the basins as well as the famous tropical giant waterlily Victoria amazonica – with flowers growing up to 30 centimeters in diameter and spectacular leaves of up to two meters. In the basement, which also serves as the representative main entrance to 14 greenhouses, about 50 aquaria and paludaria – including 19 show tanks with coral reefs and rice fields – house one of the major collections of underwater plants worldwide.

© Chr. Hillmann-Huber, Botanical Garden and Botanical Museum Berlin – giant waterlily Victoria amazonica

During the past 12 years, the two-storied Victoria House building was extensively refurbished as a listed building and with respect to energy efficiency while preserving the historic structure and significantly reducing the energy consumption, energy expenses as well as CO2 emissions for the purpose of an effective climate protection. On the basis of the German Energy Saving Ordinance EnEV 2009 and within the framework of an ERDF funding initiative (European Regional Development Fund), Müller-BBM evaluated three refurbishment concepts that were agreed upon with all planning parties and compared them to the current situation for then being able to define potential energy savings.

For determining the process energy consumption, the usual energy consumption for conditioning the building as well as the additional and special energy consumption for a greenhouse were taken into account, e. g. for adjusting the environment (by means of additional lighting), for cooling the aquaria as well as for heating the irrigation water and the water basin. Moreover, the glazing was optimized which, on the one hand, has to meet the plants' needs and, on the other hand, has a lasting effect on the building's energy consumption. Due to this refurbishment and the connection to the local heating network, the Botanical Garden Berlin will consume 930,000 kWh less primary energy per year, i.e. it will cut its carbon dioxide emissions by more than 245 tons annually.

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