Self-sufficient energy supply and quality of life: A concept for the future

BE-U | Behrens-Ufer is to become a sustainable, liveable urban quarter with an international benchmark. The consistently sustainable concept – both as a commercial location and as a space for community – focuses on the needs of people and on sustainable energy solutions and comprehensive recycling management. By bringing together science and entrepreneurship, education and innovation in a human-centred, culture-enhancing place, Behrens-Ufer will meet the socio-ecological challenges of the future.

“What could the workplace and neighbourhood look like in reality in an urban setting where people are the focus? We want to be a role model and contribute to global solutions with our vision.”

Courtney Phillips, CEO of UrbanVolution, on the vision for the BE-U developed together with DIEAG.

Haus A2.2 Visualisierung

Urban development:
A dynamic neighbour­hood for Berlin 2030

The overall urban development concept, which has already been agreed upon in collaboration with the district of Treptow-Köpenick, envisages a mixture of listed existing buildings and modern new construction with individual striking high points, new passageways and public squares, as well as the creation of a continuous riverbank promenade along the Spree.

The area is being transformed from a former industrial site into a new social, cultural and infrastructurally complementary living environment for Oberschöneweide. The BE-U is to be accessible to the public at all times. In the design of the quarter, the opening of the visual axes to the Spree and the wide promenade directly on the Spree emphasise the open, inviting concept.

As self-sufficient as possible

Using the latest technologies and in close partnership with GASAG Solution Plus, innovative solutions are being developed at BE-U for the energy supply of the future. Energy is generated directly on the site in consistently sustainable production. The BE-U will thus offer the greatest possible energy self-sufficiency and security of supply for production, research and development in the future.

This sustainable energy supply is also made possible by the highly efficient construction of the BE-U buildings. In addition to smart building technology, technologies such as water-bearing clay ceilings in sustainable timber constructions will be used.

Recycling economy:
everywhere possible

At all levels of the BE-U | Behrens-Ufer, the aim is to be as self-sufficient as possible. This is to be achieved through various closed-loop systems that produce, use and recycle resources and valuable materials generated during production on site.

Examples of this are food production in vertical farming systems, rainwater storage and utilisation or thermal recycling.

The raw material cycles of the resident companies are harmonised for mutual benefit and in the sense of regenerative and sustainable economic activity. A stringent orientation of the tenants and concepts for gastronomy and leisure to implement this district-wide circular economy is ensured from the very beginning.

Focus on

After more than 100 years, residents and visitors will now for the first time have a valuable living environment here directly on the Spree. At BE-U | Behrens-Ufer, a new social hub is being created in Oberschöne­weide – for everyone.

A variety of catering concepts and offers for leisure, recreation and health are being created on the entire site and especially along the wide riverside promenade. The roof gardens and green open spaces of the BE-U are freely accessible to the public.

Social facilities such as a school and kindergarten on the site and the neighbourhood’s further educational opportunities underline the BE-U’s people-centred vision.

Finding and imple­menting the solutions for tomorrow together

The ambitious vision of the BE-U | Behrens-Ufer requires expert knowledge in many different areas. Therefore, working groups on the various topics of the concept are active at the BE-U, which, staffed with international experts among others, find innovative and sensible solutions and guarantee the constant further development of existing systems in the future.

These working groups will be successively expanded in the coming years and, in addition to energy and construction topics, will also deal with social and cultural issues.

As a first meeting place for the public, the BE-U information centre will open on the site in early 2023.

Heroimage Behrens-Ufer Uferpromenade

The BE-U vision

In close partnership with Züblin and GASAG Solution Plus, DIEAG is developing a unique, sustainable urban quarter for the future. With a total investment volume of more than EUR 1.1 billion, a newly designed world for work, research, high-tech production and education is being created, accompanied by comprehensive social offerings for culture, leisure and gastronomy.

A world that focuses on people.

A world that focuses on people, with all their desires, possibilities and needs. The human-centred vision will turn BE-U |Behrens-Ufer into an innovative, synergetically networked location with a dynamic community. Here, companies research, develop, invent and produce, creative people and visionaries find space to develop – autonomously and sustainably. 

Different, interconnected energy generation systems are used: Hydropower, deep geothermal energy, photovoltaics, among others. Intelligent storage and circulation systems round off the system.

The BE-U
as a real laboratory
of the future

The BE-U | Behrens-Ufer is Berlin’s largest privately funded commercial quarter project and will bring a development boost to the entire district. A total of 234,000m² of commercial rental space and a new living environment for the residents will be created on the spacious Spree site – largely self-sufficient in terms of energy, CO2-neutral, with connected roof gardens, a wide riverside promenade and sustainable local supply through solutions such as vertical farming.

The techno­logies
used at BE-U

Solar energy

For inner-city electricity generation without fossil fuels, photo-voltaic systems are the answer. These systems are usually installed on roofs so that the solar energy generated can be used on site. In the case of the BE-U, however, this is different. Here, the modules are integrated into the façades of the neighbourhood to keep the roofs free to be used as roof gardens. The solar radiation is used to the maximum by combining the photovoltaic modules with thermal modules. These photo-voltaic thermal collectors (PVT) provide heat as well as electricity.

Heat pumps

Heat pumps will play a decisive role in supplying heat to the buildings. Heat pumps raise the temperature level of environmental heat so that it can be transferred to the heating system. The environmental heat is used as ambient air via air heat exchangers and solar radiation with the help of PVT collectors. In summer, the heat pumps are also used for cooling. In addition to their efficiency, they have the advantage that they work without combustion. With green electricity to run the heat pumps, no CO2 is emitted.

Ice storage

Ice can also be used for heating. An ice storage tank uses the energy that is released during the transition from water to ice. This takes place at a constant temperature of 0°C. When it is significantly colder outside, the heat pump can be operated more efficiently with the ice storage than would be possible with outside air. Another advantage is that a lot of energy can be stored in a small volume. As much energy is stored in the phase transition as would be needed to heat water that is 0°C cold to 85°C. The ice storage can be used all year round. In summer, the storage tank is suitable for storing cold over the course of the day and releasing it in concentrated form at midday. This avoids electricity peaks at midday and increases the efficiency of the heat pump by operating at night at lower temperatures.

Cold network

The cold network brings together the different environmental sources and the consumers to create synergies. The low temperatures in the cold grid are brought to a temperature level required by the users with the help of decentralised heat pumps. This means that heating and cooling can be operated specifically for each building. Because the pipe network is cold, heat losses in the system are avoided. This reduces the energy demand during operation and makes more efficient use of renewable energy.

Vertical Farming

Vertical farming is a revolutionary form of food production in limited urban spaces. In vertically aligned and almost completely automated cultivated fields, a large part of the plant-based food required on site is to be grown at the BE-U. This is done with the help of a cleverly devised system of production control. A sophisticated recirculation system will be used, which, for example, will use the CO2 produced during production for fertilisation. In addition to the cultivation of vegetables, the inclusion of mushroom and fish farming in this cycle is also being examined, inspired by the extraordinary spatial and structural possibilities of the BE-U.

Other energy sources under investigation

The DIEAG group of companies and GASAG Solution Plus are aiming for a sustainable energy supply for the quarter, for which every possibility at the site is being considered. The overriding goal is CO2 neutrality with the highest possible proportion of locally generated renewable energy. Various additional renewable energies are currently being investigated for their suitability. Among other things, a potential study on deep geothermal energy is being carried out at the site in order to further explore the resources of the ground. The water of the adjacent Spree River also offers prospects for incorporating more renewable energies. In the future, a combination of the technologies used should offer a high level of environmental compatibility with low operating costs.

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