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Sustainable cooling and heating supply: Solutions for the pharmaceutical and life science sector

12 December 2023

Green cooling and heating? While the energy transition in existing buildings has only made slow progress so far, numerous new construction projects feature innovative solutions. New concepts are emerging, particularly for special requirements such as in pharmaceutical and life science facilities. In this article, we present a new project in Göttingen.


Ecological sustainability in the real estate sector

The fact is that the real estate industry needs to become more sustainable when it comes to energy consumption. Fossil-based supply solutions no longer have a long-term future, as climate change demands alternatives. Geopolitical events such as the war in Ukraine and the move away from Russian gas are also forcing a rethink. However, while the change of heart is taking place in the real estate sector, at least in theory, the situation is different in practice. In existing buildings alone, Germany is facing a far-reaching renovation backlog. The conversion to sustainable supply solutions is stalling. Will Germany achieve its climate targets in the building sector? That is still uncertain.

Reading tip

Serial refurbishment is a promising solution for existing buildings. You can find out more about this concept in our article "Serial refurbishment - a strong response to the refurbishment backlog in Germany".

Sustainable cooling and heating supply - even more of an issue in new builds

Fortunately, things are looking better in the new construction sector. There are many positive developments in the construction industry today and sustainable energy concepts are in high demand. However, the energy transition is placing new demands on the planning and development of properties, building complexes and neighborhoods. There is a growing need for intelligent supply concepts for green cooling and heating that are both sustainable and economical. Corresponding approaches are already being incorporated into more and more sustainable development projects in new buildings. The focus is on holistic concepts that combine modern living comfort with green supply solutions, e-mobility offerings and more - across the board, beyond the individual property.


Sustainable cooling and heating supply: Challenges for specialized areas

Covering cooling and heating requirements with green alternatives is a challenge that property developers and real estate developers want to master. In the field of classic residential and office buildings, there may still be obvious concepts. However, it is much more complicated in the field of special buildings. This includes the sustainable supply of cooling and heating in the medical and scientific sector - for example for building complexes in the medical and biotechnology industry. Pharmaceutical and life science facilities require sophisticated heating and cooling concepts. A wide variety of building types or parts of buildings, each with individual cooling and heating requirements, need to be supplied. The aim is to find a comprehensive solution for laboratories, administrative complexes, warehouses and other types of building use.


Energy technology: cold in the lab and pleasantly warm in the office

Sustainable cooling and heating supply for the pharmaceutical and life science sector is a highly complex planning undertaking in terms of energy technology. Property developers and real estate developers are often at a loss when it comes to this. Energy experts are therefore consulted for corresponding new construction projects. Together with the specialists, special concepts are developed that guarantee maximum efficiency and the best possible security of supply. Instead of individual solutions for cooling and heating, the project partners usually deliver integrated packages that take all supply requirements into account.

Good to know

At ENGIE Deutschland, we support urban planners, property developers and real estate developers with numerous services relating to green energy. These include the design of intelligent supply concepts as well as the implementation and support of technical infrastructures. Find out more about our services for the real estate sector.

The Life Science Campus - a model project for sustainable cooling and heating

Life Science Campus - this is the name of a new innovation quarter that is currently being built on Herbert-Quandt-Strasse in Göttingen. EBR Immobilien Invest GmbH is planning and constructing several buildings on the 19,400 square meter site, including for scientific institutions. In the first stage of development, the project developer is building three properties for the amedes Group, a global specialist in medical diagnostic services. A new central laboratory, an office building and a logistics center are being built. ENGIE Deutschland, together with several ENGIE subsidiaries, is providing support with an efficient energy solution.

Green heat and cold for the life science campus

The special feature of the Life Science Campus project is that the heating and cooling supply for the building ensemble is to be provided entirely by renewable energies. The supply concept thus serves as a model for numerous other real estate projects. However, there were a number of challenges associated with this. For example, we had to find an economical solution that would cover the high cooling requirements of the laboratory, but also ensure the heating and cooling supply in the office and logistics areas. Several ENGIE subsidiaries worked together to develop a sophisticated energy concept for this:

  • We achieve a sustainable cooling and heating supply using a highly complex combination of geothermal energy, heat pumps and chillers. We also use photovoltaic systems, whose electricity we in turn use for our heat pumps.
  • The heart of the supply concept is energy production via geothermal energy. To this end, ENGIE subsidiary geoENERGIE Konzept has drilled 54 boreholes on the site and sunk geothermal probes into the ground.
  • Geothermal energy is usually used to generate heat in buildings. However, the Life Science Campus is different: here, the geothermal probes also serve as a source of cooling. They cover over three quarters of the sustainable cooling and heating supply for the buildings. This innovative and unconventional approach is unparalleled in Germany.
  • To generate cooling energy via geothermal energy, we use SPECTRUM Water chillers from ENGIE Refrigeration. These are water-cooled chillers that we use in Göttingen as reversibly operated brine-water heat pumps. The machines support the balanced operation of the geothermal probe field.
  • The concept also includes a green power supply using the sun. This is realized by ENGIE subsidiary Solarimo via photovoltaic systems on the roofs of the new buildings.

Real estate sector: Together into the energy future with ENGIE

Thanks to the concentrated expertise of the ENGIE Group, a model energy supply concept is currently being developed on the life science campus in Göttingen. We at ENGIE Deutschland are taking over the operation of the systems and will reliably supply the buildings with green energy for the duration of the 20-year contract. The project makes it clear that a successful energy transition in the real estate sector is possible - even in complex demand scenarios such as our example in Göttingen.

With ENGIE as a partner, sustainable cooling and heating supply is a success. Property developers, project developers and municipal players receive comprehensive advice from us. Get in touch today! We look forward to accompanying you on your way to a climate-friendly future with modern supply solutions.

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Our Expert

Karina Bloche
Karina Bloche is key account manager at ENGIE Deutschland. She brings many years of experience in the areas of customer service, heat supply and contracting. Through her previous work in research, she is an expert in innovative and complex project management and is passionate about the topics of municipal heat planning and decarbonization of heat supply.

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