Climate neutral development: Brucklyn in Erlangen
The living and working spaces under construction at the Brucklyn complex in the university and research city of Erlangen are primarily aimed at start-ups, students and young professionals. The project is a perfect example of how a modern campus atmosphere with a wide range of on-site services can be combined with the trend for student-oriented micro-living and co-working. The result is a complex that brings together living, working and leisure facilities at a single location.
Creating a new neighbourhood
The new campus offers 21,000 sq m of rental space and comprises six building units. The largest building on the site is “The Brucklyn”, consisting of 300 fully equipped student apartments across some 7,200 sq m of space, plus a coffee lounge. Future Brucklyners can also choose between accommodation in the Living building, which offers 1,600 sq m of space and also houses a number of restaurants, and the Lifestyle building, whose 120 apartments cover total floor space of approximately 4,600 sq m. Smart home applications from Gira ensure a high level of convenience for users. The neighbouring Brucklyn Park car park provides 310 parking spaces and includes an innovative e-mobility station, where residents can make flexible use of e-cars and e-bikes that are recharged with energy from renewable sources. Reservations are made using the complex’s app, which optimises the recharging process. The app is intended to function as an exchange and service platform, in particular by promoting the community concept of Brucklyn and providing other sharing services.
Space for start-ups and co-working
Workspace is offered in the Factory building, which has total floor space of 2,000 sq m. This unit combines laboratories and offices and is thus primarily aimed at start-ups associated with the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg. The neighbouring Brucklyn Hall building also offers a total of 2,000 sq m of office space, which is divided into co-working spaces. The same building houses amenities for the whole complex across some 1,800 sq m. Further services, including childcare and medical care facilities, are also provided on-site.
Interconnected energy systems for heating, cooling and electricity
1. Combined heat and power plants
In addition to systematic, state-of-the-art implementation of a campus vision, Brucklyn also scores highly with its sustainable energy concept, which garnered it the Handelsblatt Energy Award 2017. The concept focuses on connecting various energy systems, each of which can be expanded as needed. The overall system enables energy to be generated, stored and distributed on the campus itself. Three compact heat and power plants are located on the site, which generate electricity and also use the associated waste heat for heating and cooling. The power plants have a high level of electrical efficiency and can also be operated with hydrogen. The primary energy efficiency level is around 140 per cent, which helps to improve the carbon footprint of the complex. Brucklyn is the first real estate development in the world to feature a chemical hydrogen storage system. The hydrogen system allows high-density storage of the electricity generated. Additional batteries will be used to smooth out peaks in demand, thereby ensuring the energy system functions as efficiently as possible.
Photovoltaic panels are also used throughout the campus – installed on all roofs and sometimes also in the building façade. They are so powerful that on sunny days they supply the bulk of the energy required by Brucklyn’s residents. Surpluses are stored in batteries and the hydrogen storage system. This ensures that energy can also be provided at night and on cloudy days.
3. Geothermal power
Another special technical feature of the campus is the use of geothermal energy in the form of a near-surface geothermal array. To set up the array, 24 probes were drilled 80 metres into the ground. A heat pump provides geothermal power to the properties; this is used as a heat source and for heating water. In summer, the probe field can be cooled down to -4 degrees Celsius and used for cooling the residential and working spaces.
Smart energy concept continues indoors
Brucklyn’s intelligent energy concept continues inside the buildings thanks to smart home technology. Residents can control lights, shutters, heating, ventilation, air conditioning and security technology via an app, which has the added benefit of helping to raise their awareness of sustainable building use. The app also enables them to continuously monitor their individual energy use, and energy costs can be calculated with just a few clicks. A technical highlight of the interiors is concrete core activation, an innovative method of cooling and heating buildings. This involves embedding prefabricated pipe systems in the concrete ceilings. Water circulates around this system and, depending on the temperature required, heat is taken from the ceiling, thereby cooling the room, or heat is transferred to the ceiling to heat the room. The large transfer surface of the ceiling helps to create a very comfortable indoor climate.
A template for 2050
The entire Brucklyn campus development is an example of how innovative technical energy systems can be combined with the potential offered by digitisation in a modern, multifunctional complex to enable sustainable use of buildings. Upon completion in 2020, the campus will have already achieved the climate protection targets set for 2050 – well ahead of its time.
An article by:
Jürgen Jost, founder and owner of the Jost Group