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IBA_Dock: The green, floating building


March 25, 2012

The IBA_Dock features rooftop solar thermal collectors and solar panels

The IBA_Dock features rooftop solar thermal collectors and solar panels

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Germany’s IBA stands for “Internationale Bauausstellung,” which translates as international building exhibition. But the IBA_Hamburg site located on the Elbe islands of Hamburg isn’t just a place to showcase buildings, it also serves as a seven-year real-time research and development project aimed at delivering CO2-neutral city development. Central to the site is the IBA information center, known as the IBA_Dock, which is constructed upon a floating pontoon and integrates numerous renewable energy technologies.

With modular superstructures sitting atop a 1,250 m2 (13,454 sq ft) steel-constructed pontoon, the IBA_Dock is based on IMMOSOLAR’s the “zero balance concept,” which focuses on solar energy management and systems that provide buildings with sustainable heat and cooling all year round. Sixteen rooftop solar thermal collectors with a total surface area of about 34 m2 (366 sq ft) are positioned facing south at the relatively steep angle of 50 degrees to maximize the heating of water in the colder months.

Solar energy captured from these collectors feeds into an electric heat pump that draws its environmental heat from water taken directly from the Elbe using a heat transformer built into the pontoon. This provides both the heating and cooling requirements for the building’s water and air conditioning, with excess energy able to be temporarily saved for later use. The building features heating and cooling ceilings that either heat the rooms in the colder months or remove heat in the warmer months.

The IBA_Dock is designed to be warm in winter and cool in summer

The 44 kW heat pump, along with a ventilating machine that provides air exchange for the entire building, are powered by 103 m2 (1,108 sq ft) of south-facing photovoltaic solar cells located on the building’s roof terrace level and angled at 30 degrees that deliver 14.8 kWp (kilowatt peak).

IBA_Hamburg kicked off in 2007 and the IBA_Dock commenced construction in 2009. The “exhibition” is due to culminate in 2013 with the presentation of the finished projects that might provide a glimpse of what a future environmentally-friendly metropolis might look like.

Sources: IBA_Hamburg, Immosolar

About the Author
Darren Quick Darren's love of technology started in primary school with a Nintendo Game & Watch Donkey Kong (still functioning) and a Commodore VIC 20 computer (not still functioning). In high school he upgraded to a 286 PC, and he's been following Moore's law ever since. This love of technology continued through a number of university courses and crappy jobs until 2008, when his interests found a home at Gizmag.   All articles by Darren Quick
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