Congress Center Hamburg Receives One of the Highest German Awards for Sustainability

This is the highest German Sustainable Building Council certification level awarded to an existing convention building to date.
16th May, 2023

CCH © Piet Niemann

The CCH – Congress Center Hamburg is the first, and thus far, the only existing German convention centre to earn Gold certification in the Revitalisation category from the German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB).

This is the highest DGNB sustainability certification level awarded to an existing convention building to date. Compared to constructing a completely new building, the CO2 emissions from the production processes for the modernisation and redesign of the new CCH – Congress Center Hamburg were reduced by approximately 50 percent. This amounted to about 25,000 tons of CO2 saved in production.

The new CCH, which is based on designs by architectural cooperative agn leusmann / Time Hupe Architekten, is not only one of the most modern but also one of the largest convention centres in Europe, offering 36,000 square meters of available space. It was modernised and remodeled by Sprinkenhof GmbH and is now operated by Hamburg Messe und Congress GmbH.

Sustainability was part of the concept from an early stage

“From the very beginning, the sustainability topic was part of the considerations for the revitalisation of the CCH. Sustainability goals were incorporated in the design competition and included in the evaluation of the entries as quantified criteria,” said State Secretary Andreas Rieckhof, Ministry of Economy and Innovation. “The CCH is one of Europe’s most modern convention centres. It is a key factor for the city’s economic appeal and positive image, and a centre of international scientific dialog.”

Sustainability is a key topic as the events industry faces the future

“We are very happy that the CCH – Congress Center Hamburg has been awarded this outstanding distinction for sustainability,” said HMC President and CEO Bernd Aufderheide. “Sustainability is key to our future competitiveness. Convention centres must fulfill the most stringent sustainability standards to meet customer and societal expectations. The CCH is perfectly positioned to do so.”

"The CCH uniquely combines the concept of ecological, technical and social sustainability with daring artistic vision,” emphasises Heike Mahmoud, Chief Operating Officer of the CCH – Congress Center Hamburg. "The City of Hamburg’s farsighted planning regarding the sustainability of the CCH has become a key element of our customer acquisition strategy."

"The revitalisation of the building, which originally dated from 1973, entails a transformation: Thanks to its timeless yet modern architecture that puts people at the center, the CCH is not only designed to satisfy today's needs but also to cater to the needs of the future. One aspect we particularly cared about was to make the CCH both high-value and sustainable to be ready for future challenges, and we are excited to see our efforts resulting in Gold certification by the DGNB," declares Martin Görge, CEO of Sprinkenhof GmbH.

To make sustainable building practicable, measurable and thereby, comparable, the German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB) has developed a unique certification system which saw its first market application in 2009. The system has since undergone steady development and is considered the world's most advanced system of its kind today. It is recognised internationally as a 'global benchmark for sustainability'. Within the DGNB certification scheme, the CCH earned an overall compliance score of 76.7 percent, achieving a Gold certificate.

"The forward-looking way in which the legacy substance of the building was handled is of enormous importance in terms of sustainability and climate protection," explains Chief Executive Officer DGNB e.V./ DGNB GmbH Johannes Kreißig. "The more pleased we are to see the CCH deliver an outstanding example of a revitalisation project that has shown to incorporate the many sustainability requirements of DGNB certification in a holistic manner."

Inside the CCH © Piet Niemann

Eco-friendly and healthy building products

85% of the wood products used in remodeling the CCH – Congress Center Hamburg came from sustainable forestry. Every effort was made to give preference to eco-friendly and healthy building materials. The building products underwent strict scrutiny and qualification testing, resulting in outstanding interior air quality test results.

"For the purposes of DGNB certification, 837 construction products were inspected prior to installation, and tested for suitability regarding material properties and formulation components as a prerequisite for a healthy interior space hygiene, which has since been confirmed by conducting room measurements,” comments Jan Zak, the auditor in charge of the CCH – Congress Center Hamburg.

Barrier-free building

The new CCH – Congress Center Hamburg meets the stringent requirements for barrier-free access; for example, it features audio induction loops and tactile guidance systems, visual alert systems, digital signage and strobe lights. The underlying barrier-free concept was developed jointly with representatives of various interest groups.

Improving the microclimate while minimising resource consumption

To improve the local microclimate, increase biodiversity and reduce the ecological footprint of the building, 2,000 square meters of additional rooftop garden area where implemented above Hall 1. The statutory energy efficiency requirements were surpassed by around 20 percent for the modernised portions of the building, and by approximately 30 percent for the newly-built parts.

High-quality experience and complex digital lighting and event technology

The planners placed great emphasis on high-quality lighting in the individual rooms as well as the foyer, with the objective to follow the natural daylight rhythm in the halls and meeting rooms while creating well-balanced illumination levels and light moods. They selected high-efficiency, perfectly dazzle-free lights fitted with LED technology.

"The horizontal ‘brise soleil’ sun breakers create a pleasant daylight mood and an excellent visitor experience in the new entrance hall and the Belvedere, which combines well with the fantastic view across the surrounding park landscape. The long horizontal brise soleil elements not only allude to the vertical ornamental strips but also protect against direct sunlight, producing a natural shading effect. Thanks to the smart control of the façade openings, it was possible to avoid installing an energy-intensive air conditioning system," says architect Tim Hupe.

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