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From Site Selection magazine, November 2018

Where to Find the Green in Germany

Financial services company Helaba Group’s tower in Frankfurt, certified LEED-Platinum in 2016, is among the structures making the German state of Hesse No. 1 in the nation for green buildings.
Photo courtesy of Helaba

Germany's well-documented energiewende, or transformation from fossil fuels to renewable energy, already makes it attractive for companies looking to fortify their sustainability profile. But where will corporate occupiers find the greenest buildings once they land within Germany's borders?

At the EXPO REAL conference in Munich in October, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) recognized Hesse as the German state with the highest number of LEED-certified green buildings. Hesse is home to nearly 3 million gross sq. m. (32.3 million gross sq. ft. or GSF) of building space comprising 95 LEED-certified projects. Bavaria is No. 2 with 66 LEED-certified projects comprising 1.3 million GSM (14 million GSF).

"Germany is a booming market for green building," said Kay Killmann, managing director, Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI) Europe. "There more than 750 buildings across my home country of Germany that are using LEED. Building owners are using LEED not only to develop healthy, highly efficient and cost-saving green buildings but also to mitigate investment risks."

Examples of LEED-certified projects at corporate operations across Germany include Fiat Chrysler's site in Frankfurt; Trivago's headquarters in Düsseldorf; the Stryker Innovation Center in Freiburg; Aldi Nord Campus in Essen; and Unilever-Haus in Hamburg.

GBCI Europe was established by the USGBC in 2017 and is headquartered in Munich, to meet the increasing demands of green building in the region. "Germany is a country of 83 million people, it is the undisputed economic powerhouse of Europe, and it is a nation known for having some of the world's best, most creative professionals in the fields of engineering and design," said Killmann.


According to the USGBC, Germany in 2017 was No. 5 among international LEED markets outside the United States (measured by certified gross floor area). At that time, there were 276 LEED-certified projects in Germany (12 percent of all LEED international projects) totaling 7 million GSM.

No doubt sustainability will be prime in the sights of one of the newest corporate locations, as BMW and Daimler in September announced plans to locate the headquarters of their proposed global mobility company in Berlin. "As a hub for creativity and innovation, Berlin is exactly the right location for our plans," said Dieter Zetsche, chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and head of Mercedes-Benz Cars. "The future of mobility is being shaped in major cities like Berlin," said Harald Krüger, chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG.

Adam Bruns
Editor in Chief of Site Selection magazine

Adam Bruns

Adam Bruns is editor in chief and head of publications for Site Selection, and before that has served as managing editor beginning in February 2002. In the course of reporting hundreds of stories for Site Selection, Adam has visited companies and communities around the globe. A St. Louis native who grew up in the Kansas City suburbs, Adam is a 1986 alumnus of Knox College, and resided in Chicago; Midcoast Maine; Savannah, Georgia; and Lexington, Kentucky, before settling in the Greater Atlanta community of Peachtree Corners, where he lives with his wife and daughter.


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