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Sustainability:
less saves more

MESSE BREMEN and CONGRESS BREMEN cover about 25 percent of their energy needs themselves

For decades, trade fairs were regarded as huge battles of materials – putting the focus more on the big than on the small. That has changed thoroughly. Nowadays, both the exhibitors and the exhibition centre managers pay attention to sustainability. Bremen-based M3B GmbH, which owns the brands MESSE BREMEN, CONGRESS BREMEN and ÖVB-Arena, among others, is right at the forefront and has also committed to the sustainability code of the event industry, “fairpflichtet”.

Every ray of sunlight is used

Since 2011, around 2,200 photovoltaic modules have been installed on the roofs of Bremen's exhibition halls, and in 2014 another 900 modules were added to Hall 7, generating an average of 750,000 kilowatt hours of electricity per year.



"This means that the photovoltaic system covers a good 25 per cent of our own energy needs – despite the comparatively modest solar yield in the north,"  says Eike Wendt, responsible for building management at M3B GmbH, which includes MESSE BREMEN and CONGRESS BREMEN.

Combined heat and power unit supplies the majority

Parallel to the photovoltaic roof, a combined heat and power unit was installed in 2011, which of course also makes a significant contribution to the energy supply.

"Even when no one is in our halls, we consume about 70 to 80 kilowatts of electricity, for example for the emergency lighting, the car park, the locking systems, and the lift units. Our combined heat and power unit produces 50 kilowatts permanently and thus supplies the lion's share of the energy consumed,"  Wendt explains.

The heat supply was also renewed, so that in summer or transitional weather, small condensing boilers and the combined heat and power unit supply the heat. The large boilers only need to be put into operation when it gets really cold.

At the same time, the cooling technology for the hall air conditioning and the server cooling were renewed and optimised.

We are also "bright" when it comes to lighting

Another aspect that offers an enormous energy-saving potential is of course the lighting, whose successive conversion to LED technology was finally completed in 2021. This not only involved replacing the lamps in the offices or corridors, but also the large halogen spotlights used at sporting events, concerts, and trade fairs. Now all large event areas and the multi-storey car park have been converted to LED lighting.

Not just hot air

The ventilation of the halls accounts for a large part of the energy consumption. In 2018, the ventilation of the exhibition halls was changed from large fans to so-called fan grids. These are fan walls that consist of many individual fans and work much more efficiently than the old "propellers", which were several metres in size.

"Thanks to the fan grids, we can exchange all the air in the event halls three times an hour – and still save 50 per cent energy,"  says Wendt.

Every little bit helps

But Eike Wendt is not satisfied with that. He is always on the lookout for potential energy savings and good ideas and gets support from all over the company – for example, from the M3B trainees. They, as part of a working group, are searching for little changes that may have a great impact on the long run. For example, in 2021, on the initiative of the trainees, the sustainable search engine "Ecosia" was installed on all computers, which plants a tree for every 40th search query. It almost goes without saying that many employees cycle to work. In addition, since 2021 there are twelve beehives living on the premises to "pollinate" the district and produce ÖVB Arena honey.

"So we are on a very good path in terms of sustainability, which we will of course continue to follow,"   Wendt states.

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