A Quarter as Pioneer in Outstanding Sustainability

Star architects Renzo Piano and Christoph Kohlbecker set a new standard in sustainability with their giant project “Potsdamer Platz”. Thanks to the use of healthy, environmentally responsible building materials, passive cooling methods, rainwater for the water supply, and recycling through a central waste separation system, Potsdamer Platz was the first city quarter to be awarded the DGNB Certificate in Silver for Sustainable and Green Building.

Numerous steps were taken during the construction phase to ensure environmentally-friendly building maintenance. Efficient ventilation and façade systems reduce primary energy consumption by circa 50 %. Rainwater collected over the roofs is used for toilet flushing and irrigating surrounding green areas, saving around 20 million litres of drinking water per year. The underground supply and disposal centre keeps the quarter free from delivery traffic. These measures reduce carbon dioxide emissions by close to 70 % compared with conventional methods. In addition, the area has urban water in the form of a lake – designed as a biotope with an area of circa 1.3 hectares, in which a large number of organisms and waterbirds already have settled.

On 5th October 2011, Potsdamer Platz quarter became one of the first city districts in DGNB history to be awarded the DGNB Certificate of the German Sustainable Building Council. This quarter received the Certificate in Silver for sustainable city quarters at the Expo Real 2011 in Munich.

The quarter, completed in 1998, met all the sustainability criteria currently required of newly built urban districts. Potsdamer Platz was evaluated according to the profile “New Urban District Mixed Use, Version 2011”. In addition to criteria such as sustainable water supply and drainage, soil protection and environmentally-friendly infrastructure, sociocultural requirements like the quality of outdoor spaces and noise levels were taken into consideration. The quarter also passed assessments on economic quality, such as life cycle cost, space efficiency and commercial viability.


Photo credit: Vincent Mosch