What do you do with an old expo pavilion after the show is over? Disassemble it, haul it across Europe and turn it into the smartest building in Germany.
Hammerbrooklyn at a glance
- First SmartScore Platinum rated building in Germany
- Energy consumption 55% below the EU average
- Saved 800 tonnes of CO2 by reusing old materials
- 30% lower embodied carbon compared to a new development
- Estimated 10-15% rental value uplift achieved through smart tech
In 2018, one of Germany’s largest developers had been tasked by the city of Hamburg with building an innovation hub. Even then, Art-Invest knew that sustainability, energy efficiency and user experience would have to be the building’s main drivers.
The developer went to Milan, where the US pavilion from the 2015 Expo sat empty and unused. A steel structure with cross-laminated wooden floors, the former pavilion was easily disassembled and transported back to Hamburg for reassembly.
While Hammerbrooklyn needed a new façade to suit a building intended for long-term occupation, Art-Invest was able to re-use all of the supporting structure. By doing so, it was able to significantly reduce emissions (compared to building from scratch) while updating the inside with thousands of sensors and energy-efficient equipment.
“The technical installation inside is state of the art, but the structure itself is reused,” says Johannes Nussbaum, head of innovation at Art-Invest.
Location: Hamburg, Germany
Size: 7,300 sq m (78,600 sq ft)
Use: Innovation Hub, including coworking space, labs, an auditorium
Tenant(s): Factory Hammerbrooklyn
Click image to launch gallery
Features and results
There are 3,000 sensors – supplied by US/German tech firm smartengine – throughout the building, giving the building the ability to recognise what’s going on and act accordingly in real time. These track everything from occupancy to thermal comfort (temperature, humidity, air quality), lighting and the HVAC system.
Sensors ensure the building uses only the energy that it needs, when and where it needs it.
Lights – using smartengine technology –consume about 60% less energy than LEDs normally would by:
- Using direct current instead of alternate current
- Having centralising voltage regulation, which means that the transformation from high to low voltage happens centrally, rather than in each individual LED
- Reacting to occupancy
- Using daylight sensors to automatically dim lights
Hammerbrooklyn uses a bespoke building app created by Pinestack. Although day-to-day visitor experience is down to the occupier – innovation hub Factory Hammerbrooklyn – Art-Invest set the building up to be able to deliver a wide range of features.
For example, Bluetooth beacons around the building make indoor navigation and positioning possible. When a guest arrives, they can send the host a notification and, if they choose, allow the building app to track them through the building.
The building consumes 65 kWh per sq m, which is about 54% below the EU average (141 kWh per sq m). This figure comes from the building’s first year of operation, and Art-Invest says it will continue to optimise consumption.
HVAC controls, which account for roughly 50% of total energy consumption, were automated using software called Aedifion.
By consuming less energy, the building saves about €157,000 per year (525,000 kWh saved at €0.30 per kWh) compared to a typical development.
Predictive maintenance of all technical equipment also means a 20-30% reduction in operating times for all machines in the building and an equivalent reduction in capex and opex.
An all-electric building, Hammerbrooklyn is operationally carbon neutral.
Embodied carbon is 30% lower than in an equivalent new building. By re-using the steel beams, cross-laminated floors and wood flooring, Hammerbrooklyn was able to save just under 800 tonnes of carbon.
1. Having sensors doesn’t guarantee that a building is smart. “You don’t get points within the SmartScore certification for having sensors, especially not having a lot of sensors. It’s about what they can do and the concrete effects on the building and the users in that building,” says Sebastian Kohts, director of Germany at WiredScore, the company behind SmartScore. Nussbaum says the sensors give the building flexibility around how granular its data can be (e.g. how accurate it wants occupancy stats to be), but it could also use fewer than the 3,000 it has.
2. A developer’s role is to make it possible for an occupier to install the tech they want. “Our strategy is to provide the right infrastructure and the right APIs and the right data points. In the end, the tenant is the one who decides how he is using the infrastructure,” says Nussbaum.
3. Operational efficiency, especially in HVAC systems, makes a huge difference. Despite not being designed to a specific low-energy standard, the building operates like one thanks to its automation. Nussbaum says: “It wasn’t rocket science. We just did what was our strategy: to have a smart building that is controlled and optimised in its operation.”
4. Hammerbrooklyn sets the standard for smart buildings in Germany. “Hammerbrooklyn [met SmartScore criteria] amazingly well,” says Kohts. “We would call it the benchmark for smart buildings at the moment in Germany.” Central to scoring highly in a SmartScore assessment is the building’s ability to, technologically, meet the needs of all users in a building, whether they are tenants, facilities managers or visitors.