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The new building of the Niederheide primary school combines low energy consumption with good air quality in the classrooms and a pleasant indoor environment.
© Ali Moshiri
Concept energy-plus school
Projektinfo 16/2014

Building summary
© HTW Berlin

Key energy values: the values in brackets are the specific consumption values without the sports hall. The consumption differs to some extent considerably from the planning values, as the building and sports hall are used for significantly longer periods than was originally intended.
© HTW Berlin
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Fresh air for new school buildings

A school where you feel at home that at the same time consumes little energy during operation – that is the Niederheide primary school in Hohen Neuendorf. A ventilation system which combines mechanical and natural ventilation via the windows ensures a good air quality and a pleasant indoor environment in the classrooms. It is the first school in Germany to receive the Gold Medal for Sustainable Construction. It was certified in accordance with the Sustainable Construction Assessment System (BNB) developed by the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB).

Viewed from the outside, the two-storey school, which has a building envelope that meets the criteria of a passive house, looks hardly different to other new-build schools. The assembly hall, entrance to the multifunctional sports hall and the library are grouped around the centrally located access school concourse. Teaching wings are located on the west side with the so-called “home areas”, which each consist of a classroom, common room, cloakroom and toilet facilities. The arrangement enables twosided lighting with natural daylight. The classrooms are located on the south side while the corridors, utility rooms and toilets are located on the north side. Approximately 350 children currently attend the school. A pre- and after-school care centre provides supervision for children in the afternoons and early mornings. The sports hall has its own entrance and is also frequently used outside of school hours.


The town of Hohen Neuendorf lies just outside of Berlin. Its location is one reason why the number of inhabitants has more than doubled in the past 20 years. The number of school children has also consequently increased, making it necessary to build the new school. The client, the town of Hohen Neuendorf, wanted a building with a modern and flexible space concept for futureoriented learning that met their exacting requirements regarding energy consumption, sustainability and comfort of use, and which had low investment and operating costs. This led to the idea of building an energy-plus school. The gross building cost based on the net floor area amounted to 1,155 euros/m² for Cost Group 300 (building construction) and 353 euros/m² for Cost Group 400 (technical equipment), which are comparable to conventionally constructed buildings. The additional research-related costs are not taken into account.

Energy concept helps to save costs

An important aspect of the energy concept is the utilisation of natural processes for ventilating and cooling the building. Eliminating complex technical components enables the operating costs to be reduced. The compact building was designed as a solid structure made of reinforced concrete to achieve sufficient thermal storage mass. In summer this can absorb heat during the day, which is then released at night by means of natural ventilation. This therefore eliminates the need for air-conditioning. The static solar shading is supplemented with automatically controlled blinds. These can also be operated manually by the teachers. The upper window areas remain unshaded, which therefore provides daylight even when the solar shading is closed. Light-directing glazing on the ground floor and light-scattering Nanogel glazing on the first floor ensure glare-free daylight. The lighting is controlled in accordance with the occupancy and daylight. Renewable resources and solar energy are used for generating energy. The required heat is produced by a pellet boiler with an output of 220 kW. A photovoltaic system with a 55 kWp capacity supplies electricity for the school’s own use. Surplus electricity is fed into the grid.

Projektinfo 16/2014:
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