A high standard for sustainability

During my 24 years as an engineer and project manager at Roche, I have taken on increasing levels of responsibility. Roche’s new highrise office building in Basel, Building 1–with a height of 178 metres and 41 floors–was the biggest challenge ever.

My team and I were responsible for all technical installations of the building and its automation.

In terms of mindset, it’s sometimes helpful that I am a marathon runner as this project lasted almost seven years from project initiation to inauguration. During the final phase, there were some tough stretches when we had to quicken the pace to meet our deadlines. All of us put in long hours and worked hard with colleagues to resolve problems. And we finished the project on time and on budget. The inauguration ceremony was held on September 18, 2015. This was only possible with passion and teamwork. I am particularly proud of Building 1 in terms of its sustainability and especially its energy efficiency, which was a top priority for our senior management.

The first pillar of sustainability is minimizing energy use. We have installed 10,000 LED lights that are even 60% more efficient than high efficiency fluorescent lamps. Our LEDs only need to be changed, on average, every 20 years. This significantly reduces operating expenses and waste. Another example of minimising energy use is the innovative façade of the building. Triple thermal panes combined with a closed cavity of air and integrated sunscreens reduce glare and help to insulate the interior from heat and cold.

It’s a great feeling to look up at this building and know that I had a part in its realization.

The second pillar is using sustainable sources of energy. Building 1 is heated by waste heat generated by manufacturing on our campus in Basel. Ground water which remains at a constant temperature of 15 degrees Celsius, is used to cool the building in summer.

markus-woellner_small-pic
"Not only are the 10,000 LED lights are not only 60% more efficient than fluorescent lights, they also create a unique design element."

The third pillar is energy-efficient operations. Sensors at each workstation detect when no one is present and turn off lights and ventilation automatically. There is a monitoring system for the whole building to track energy usage. Employees are encouraged to “think green” in terms of reducing their environmental footprint.

In my profession, constructing something of this magnitude is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. And in view of our site development plans I look forward to build on this great experience and take on a role with even more responsibility in our new projects.

More stories

Tags: Environment