An eco-house in an industrial estate already is unusual in itself. But the flat-built company building of Zedler-Institut in Ludwigsburg is environmentally absolutely top. It has even been awarded the platinum certification of the German Sustainable Building Council - the association has no higher praise to bestow. To get this far, the architects had to turn all the controllers. As much wood and as little concrete as possible were used. The rainwater is collected and contributes significantly to the supply of the building. Due to a sophisticated ventilation system as well as insulation and construction the building does not need air conditioning. Heating is primarily provided by the waste heat from the test stands and air compressors as well as by three heat pumps, which in turn are powered by Black Forest hydropower and the energy from the building's own solar cells. “With a building as well insulated and constructed as ours, you are more likely to have a problem with too much heat in summer than too little in winter”, says Dirk Zedler. 80 sensors constantly check the power and heat management to detect even the smallest compressed air leaks and wastage.
When it comes to materials, Zedler’s eco-ambitions extend to door handles made from old stems and coat hangers from former aluminium rims. Packaging materials for shipping the test samples are recycled as a matter of principle. A separate storing place contains sorted cardboard rolls and boxes as well as padding materials.
The day-to-day work of the boss and his employees is also somewhat “greener” than in the companies around: Since 2018, there have been no more business trips by air; for external appointments one relies upon Bahncard and folding bike. Employees cover three quarters of their journeys to work by foot or bicycle. If they break a sweat, climate-friendly heated shower water waits for them - and a free apple spritzer from local orchard meadows.
With a product that makes cities more liveable, healthy, climate-friendly and fun to use, the bicycle industry holds important trump cards. Now it is time to stand together as an industry to set the course in politics for a change in mobility in favour of cycling.
Year of foundation: 1993
Company building: Ludwigsburg
Sales: not indicated
Author: Jörg Spaniol