The new office building of the company Enerparc in Hamburg shows the diverse application possibilities of building-integrated photovoltaics. The new construction of a 7-storey office building with approx. 10,000 m² GFA in the famous Hafencity directly on the Elbe shows the creative appeal of a building material that deserves a wide range of applications in the future.
HHS Planer + Architekten AG emerged as the winner of the architectural competition and were commissioned with the planning and execution of the new office building for Enerparc AG. The client is no stranger to the photovoltaic industry in Germany and internationally, whose field of activity includes the planning, implementation and operation of PV land systems, with installed systems totaling 4,000 MW, of which 3,000 MW are in-house. For this reason, it was clear from the beginning of the planning that the new company building should make the possibilities in the generation of renewable energies as visible as possible.
Enerparc gets a lot on the Elbe
The property in the Elbbrücken district (Kirchenbauerstrasse, Hamburg) is open and freely oriented to the south towards the Elbe. The specifications of Hafencity's master plan were rigid, including the building height, the building material and the exterior view. In the case of the latter, they wanted to realize the red part of the city. Therefore, the façade was clad with red ceramic panels. Cut into the inside of the cube, an inner courtyard was built, which continued across the storeys up to the glass roof. The architects activated the roof, the façade and the terrace on the top floor with integrated photovoltaics.
The use of the building envisages a restaurant on the ground floor and generous office space for the client on the floors above. There are single and double offices around the west, north and east sides. To the south, with a breathtaking view of the Elbe, open-plan offices round off the premises of the building.
PV modules cover 30% of electricity requirements
In total, Pilkington Austria supplied approx. 320 m² of triple insulating glass units Pilkington Insulight™ Triple with Pilkington Sunplus™ BIPV integrated photovoltaics for the new Enerparc company headquarters. The total output of the modules is approx. 30 kWp, which means that 30% of the building's annual electricity requirements are covered by renewable energy.
According to Hafencity's master plan, the roof area should have been greened – but in agreement with the city planners, a glass roof with integrated PV could be installed. The square PV cells in the roof modules are an interesting eye-catcher and create interesting, chessboard-like shadows in the atrium.
Special PV modules made of Pilkington Sunplus™ BIPV by Pilkington Austria are used on the southern façade. These are modules with cut PV cells that provide the best combination of renewable power generation and a view of the outside. The glass façade is significantly more sensitive as a PV reference surface, since it is particularly important that it is integrated into the existing cityscape in the best possible way.
Semi-transparent PV technology from Pilkington Austria
They wanted to avoid the typical image of square PV cells in the façade and decided in favour of the solution from Pilkington Austria. With this technology, entire cells are cut into thin strips using a laser, then stringed together and several of these strings are installed in a PV module. The PV cell occupancy rate of the modules corresponds to an average of 50%, which offers a very good compromise between energy yield and light transmission into the building.
Integrated PV – no contradiction to good design
"You can see that you can see a lot," is how Andreas Wiege, partner at HHS Planer + Architekten AG, explains the view through the semi-transparent PV technology and goes on to say "if you have a clear view next to it, the eye can add a lot more details. That has more to do with blinds and slats than with PV cells.” The Enerparc project shows the many possible uses of integrated photovoltaics, which are in no way inconsistent with good design. Façades are able to make a significant contribution to the generation of renewable energies.
Photography: © Constantin Meyer