Koelnmesse builds Cologne's largest inner-city photovoltaic systems

  • Koelnmesse builds Cologne's largest inner-city photovoltaic system © Koelnmesse GmbH
    © Koelnmesse GmbH

4,800 modules with an output of almost 2.0 megawatt peak (MWp) will effectively reduce CO2 emissions by 1,200 tonnes annually.

By constructing Cologne's largest inner-city photovoltaic system, Koelnmesse is taking another step toward achieving its goal of climate-neutral business operations by 2035. In the coming weeks, around 4,800 photovoltaic modules will be installed on the roofs of Hall 11 and the South Entrance, promising an annual yield of 2 million kilowatt hours. "Photovoltaics play a key role in our mission to achieve a future-oriented power supply," says Gerald Böse, CEO of Koelnmesse GmbH. "The self-generated energy will enable us to reduce our CO2 footprint by around 1,200 tonnes per year." "Large-scale projects such as Koelnmesse's photovoltaic system make an important contribution to the City of Cologne's ambitious goal of being CO2-neutral by 2035. Moreover, Koelnmesse is also acting as a role model for other companies to position themselves sustainably," says Henriette Reker, Mayor of the City of Cologne.

The system on the roof of Hall 11 and the South Entrance will cover an effective area of approximately 15,000 square metres. It will generate around 2 gigawatt hours (GWh) of green electricity per year. Together with the photovoltaic system already installed on the roof of the new Confex building, the energy output will equal that consumed by well over 1,000 two-person households. The generated electricity will be used directly on site at Koelnmesse. The way in which other roofs of the exhibition halls can be used for photovoltaic systems is currently being planned based on a comprehensive potential analysis.

"This project to generate electricity from renewable energy sources is part of Koelnmesse's sustainability strategy in continuation of our existing initiatives, which include the purchase of green electricity and energy optimization measures such as switching to LEDs as well as optimising our cooling and heating systems," says Horst Harbusch-Geier, Vice President Infrastructure at Koelnmesse.

In order to take steps toward meeting its own requirements for climate-neutral and sustainable business operations, Koelnmesse has implemented and worked on various projects and issues in recent years. These include the dynamic logistics management system eSlot, the world's largest trade fair traffic management system to reduce traffic jams and vehicle emissions, as well as the company's full transition to green electricity. Another important goal is reducing its energy consumption. An incremental transition to LED lighting is currently taking place in the existing buildings, which enables energy savings of at least 50 percent compared to the old technology.

Replacing the ventilation systems as part of renovation also results in energy savings of over 50 percent. In addition to this, Koelnmesse is optimising usage of the ventilation systems based on hall occupancy and usage periods, while adjusting hall temperatures to further support these efforts.

Koelnmesse also promotes alternative mobility with monthly public transportation passes and bicycle leasing for its employees as well as the expansion of e-charging stations on the trade fair grounds. Trade fair tickets have simultaneously served as public transport tickets for decades now. Together with numerous partners, Koelnmesse is also working to conserve resources during events and raise awareness of increased sustainability. Emphasis is currently being placed on stand construction, food service and general services. For example, Koelnmesse is the only trade fair company in Germany thus far to have a restaurant with a permanent 100 percent vegan menu. Sustainable system stands, which are an optimal basis for sustainable trade fair construction thanks to their long-term reuse, also help exhibitors to realise their own sustainability goals.

The measures described here are just some of the components of Koelnmesse's comprehensive sustainability strategy. The strategy is currently being finalised and covers a number of other important aspects. These include efficient waste and recycling management, sustainable procurement and responsible supply chain management.