Coca Cola’s bright red Berlin HQ is actually pretty green, thanks to energy-saving design

nps tchoban voss
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You can’t miss Coca Cola's Berlin Headquarters, standing out in signature red tiles on the northern bank of the River Spree. But what you can’t see is the several green energy-saving features that helped the building achieve LEED gold certification. Inhabitat spoke to architects nps tchoban voss to find out how they achieved the coveted award.

Located a short stroll from the popular East Side Gallery and connected to the city via S and U Bahn at Warschauer strasse, the seven storey building fits into the typology of the Osthafen development. The new building reuses a brownfield site and aligns with existing structures such as the nhow hotel and renovated industrial buildings. Three sides of the building are wrapped in colorful coca cola brand red tiles. These permanent ceramic facades are easy to clean and don’t need to be repainted or cleaned. Additionally, they can be easily recycled, should the building require dismantling or remodeling in the future.

The building opens up with a glazed facade facing south to the river. A clever passive solar design allows low sun to warm the interior in winter, but protects from the heat of the overhead sun in summer. This ‘summer insulation’ effect is achieved via protruding horizontal elements at irregular intervals, offering inhabitants views over the river and a regulated internal temperature. Viewed from the side the elements form an elegant S-shaped profile.

Heat comes from the city’s co-generation system, with a proportion provided from renewables. Key ventilation systems above suspended ceilings are confined to the building’s core zone. The peripheral open-plan areas are conditioned by concrete core thermal activation, enabling full-height ceilings. Thermal insulation conforms to EnEv 2009 guidelines, meaning the annual primary energy demand of the building is 155,5 kWh/m²/annum. This figure is almost 10 percent below the maximum Energiesparverordnung (EnEV), Germany´s Energy Saving Regulation. To mitigate the urban heat island effect, the technology and gravel on the roof were painted white to reflect the sun’s energy.

Outside and in the parking garage are roof-covered spaces for bicycles. Showers and changing rooms located on the 1st underground floor make it easy for employees to cycle to work. The open plan work spaces were designed with special attention to acoustic comfort, with effective absorption elements built in. All wood used in the building is approved by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), and office workers enjoy plenty of natural light in this enviable riverside workspace.

Coca Cola’s bright red Berlin HQ is actually pretty green, thanks to energy-saving design

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