In a new knowledge centre in Berlin’s Prenzlauer Berg district, architects can experience and experiment with Cradle to Cradle-certified building materials and circular material flows. The C2C LAB houses an educational centre, offices for the NGO Cradle to Cradle e.V. and a ‘living laboratory’.
Here, there are green walls that purify the air, particle-absorbing carpets, and office furniture which is not only healthy for people but also for the environment. All the materials used in the 400-square-metre C2C LAB live up to the Cradle to Cradle criteria for healthy products which can be returned to nature or recycled in new products.
“With the C2C LAB, we’re proud to deliver the world’s first refurbishment of an existing building according to Cradle to Cradle criteria, and thus show how ‘Cradle to Cradle’ works in practice. We’re creating a unique lighthouse project that will hopefully serve as an exemplar to be imitated,” says Tim Janßen, Executive Director and Board Member of Cradle to Cradle e.V., who is behind the project.
The building that houses the C2C LAB dates back to 1986, and was originally built as a so-called Plattenbau using large, prefabricated ferro-concrete slabs, a type of prefabricated construction method which was typical of East Germany.
An extensive, green renovation
During the renovation process, the building’s ground floor was completely rethought. The old walls were demolished, and C2C glass partitions were installed to create eight offices which are lighter and more open than their predecessors. At the same time, old damaged floors were removed and replaced with C2C carpets and hard floors. Other more durable floors have been preserved, including sections of terrazzo flooring. To allow lots of natural light into the building, the window apertures were enlarged and replaced with C2C window systems.
“The role of sustainable building in new construction projects is growing constantly. Its significance for renovation projects, on the other hand, is a niche area that we are seeking to expand on a broader scale with the refurbishment of the C2C LAB,” explains Tim Janßen, adding:
“The C2C LAB is a real-life laboratory for C2C projects, showcasing innovations and exemplary materials in renovations and everyday use. The renovation illustrates how work can be undertaken on an existing building according to C2C principles, how recyclable products can be used sensibly according to their use scenario, and the challenges we’re still facing.
The building techniques used also met the Cradle to Cradle criterion of ‘Design for Disassembly’, which means that no materials have been glued together using foam or other adhesives. Together, the C2C wall paints, acoustic ceilings and green walls provide not only a healthy environment, but also give the building a natural look.
Different Troldtekt acoustic panels have been used on ceilings and walls in both the meeting rooms and conference rooms.
Need for sustainable innovation
Troldtekt acoustic panels are made from the all-natural materials wood and cement. The panels are Cradle to Cradle-certified at silver level, and circular principles are a key part of Troldtekt’s strategy. For example, offcuts and waste from the production of Troldtekt panels are used as soil improver or in the production of new cement at Aalborg Portland.
“The planet’s resources simply cannot keep up with traditional consumption patterns. There is therefore a need for sustainable innovation. The Cradle to Cradle model shows the way forward by making tools available that enable companies to work systematically with the circular economy. We want to contribute to this trend – for the sake of society, and because sustainable production will become a key competition parameter in the years ahead,” says Troldtekt CEO Peer Leth.
“Germany is one of our home markets, and it therefore makes perfect sense for us to support Cradle to Cradle e.V., which is working intelligently to promote the circular economy. The opening of the new C2C LAB, for example, reflects this,” he adds.
Opened at C2C Summit
As a C2C LAB partner, in September Troldtekt was at the C2C Summit: Building & Architecture, where several hundred participants came together at Umweltforum Berlin. The conference also marked the official opening of the C2C LAB, with guided tours to the new laboratory.
Ceiling and wall panels: Troldtekt acoustic panels
Colour: Natural wood, grey 202, white 101
Structure: Extreme fine (0.5 mm wood wool) and ultrafine (1.0 mm wood wool)
Edge design: 5 mm bevelled edges, K5, and 5 mm bevel and groove, K5-N
Buildings documented as being sustainable offer benefits for the environment, users and developers.
In this online theme, Troldtekt A/S focuses on the benefits of sustainable building certifications. The theme includes interviews with experts from Henning Larsen Architects and Ramboll, inspiration from sustainable buildings in northern Europe – and news about Troldtekt’s contribution to the leading certifications.