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25 September 2018 - Wolfgang Heumer

Working in an idyllic location

Investing in Bremen
Annette Schimmel is heading the project
The LuneDelta is set to become the home of companies operating in the green economy. Annette Schimmel is heading the project. © WFB / Focke Strangmann

To the south of Bremerhaven, plans are taking shape for a new business and industrial park that will fulfil strict sustainability criteria. Situated on what is known as the Luneplate, a site close to the largest nature conservation area in the state of Bremen, the park is set to become the home of companies operating in the green economy.

Nature conservation and the green economy

The reeds growing on the land in front of the dykes along the Weser river sway in the wind, and rare avocets stalk around the river’s mudflats. Behind the dyke, a white-tailed eagle soars above the tranquil and undisturbed marsh landscape. Otters hunt in the lakes and the old river courses, and water buffalo graze in the meadows. You don’t need to be a nature lover or an ornithologist to enjoy this idyll; soon it will be possible to admire it from your desk. Bremerhaven’s economic development agency, BIS, is planning to build a sustainable business and industrial park right next to the largest nature conservation area in the state of Bremen. But the plans do not envisage a brutal divide between nature on the one side and industry on the other. “The park’s design will take its cues from the neighbouring nature conservation area, and the park itself will comply with the strictest sustainability criteria,” says project manager Annette Schimmel. The plan is for the LuneDelta to become home to companies operating in the green economy over the coming years.

A summer of extremes raises environmental awareness

The concept of sustainable business has grown in importance recently, with a greater focus on technologies that protect the environment and counter climate change, on the responsible use of resources and on sustainable goods and services. “The extreme weather we have seen over the last decades, in particular, has raised concern for the environment and made many people more aware of the causal connections,” says Schimmel. Whether or not the long periods of hot weather or the lack of rain this year are actually the result of climate change is irrelevant. “Many people have realised what extremes are possible and believe that this must be counteracted,” Schimmel adds.

BIS is planning to build a sustainable business and industrial park
A sustainable business and industrial park right next to the largest nature conservation area in the state of Bremen. © WFB / Focke Strangmann

Monitoring sustainability and improving it

BIS has been interested in companies operating in the green economy for quite some time. Over the past ten years, Bremerhaven’s economic development agency has been developing the city on the Weser estuary into a hub for renewable energy. Despite doubts among policymakers in Berlin, BIS continues to back the wind energy sector as an important factor in a successful energy shift. It is not just these major talking points that keep the team at BIS busy – they are also looking closer to home. “Several years ago, BIS started to assess and change its internal processes and resource consumption according to sustainability criteria,” says Schimmel.

Sustainable business is a key topic for regional companies

The internal results identified commercial potential that is also reflected in official forecasts. According to the Federal Environment Ministry’s estimates, German green economy companies will double their revenue from €344 billion in 2013 to €740 billion in 2025. For some time now, Bremerhaven has been home to a whole host of companies that have recognised the commercial and environmental potential of sustainability. Many of these are small and medium-sized enterprises, such as Holzhandlung Ehlers, a specialist wood retailer that has created an educational trail on its land where it shares its experiences in energy saving with customers and business partners. But there are also large companies like Frosta, a frozen food manufacturer that has become a market leader partly thanks to its sustainability strategies. Upmarket hotels like the Atlantic Hotel Sail City in the Harbour Worlds complex are also focusing on using resources more efficiently and combating climate change. “It makes sense to encourage the green economy with a dedicated business park,” says Schimmel.

Natural landscapes provide the model

The site on the southern outskirts of Bremerhaven is ideal for this ambitious project. Here, the municipal company BEAN (Bremerhavener Entwicklungsgesellschaft Alter Neuer Hafen) owns around 150 hectares of land that was reserved for commercial use several years ago. To the west it borders the Luneplate, a plot of former agricultural land covering around 1,500 hectares which has been returned to nature. It serves as a compensation area for the docklands development and other projects in Bremerhaven and became a protected conservation area last year. The character of the conservation area’s landscape will be reflected in the LuneDelta business park. “It’s not just about the design working in harmony with the surroundings. The sustainability criteria that determine what happens in the business park are equally important,” says Schimmel. BIS aims to conform to the standards of the German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB), which require an occupancy profile for planning and certifying sustainable buildings.

Annette Schimmel: Demand for green technologies and products
Project manager Annette Schimmel: “Demand for green technologies and products, and for resource-efficient production, is growing rapidly.” © WFB / Focke Strangmann

Energy from sewage-treatment plants

The basis for the certification is the LuneDelta urban development plan, which was created during a workshop with experienced planners such as CityFörster, which has offices in Hamburg, Berlin, Hannover, Rotterdam and Oslo. The plan envisages a natural look for open spaces and considerate and needs-based development of the area. Other features include a green energy supply, communal facilities and site management. The focus is on innovative ideas and processes, such as using heat pumps to turn waste water from the neighbouring central sewage-treatment plant into energy. The buildings on the site will also need to meet sustainability criteria. Schimmel gives an example: “We may turn to cradle-to-cradle design, where resources are returned to a technical or organic cycle at the end of their useful life.”

Car sharing and childcare centres

The plans for the LuneDelta include many visions based on cycles and sustainability that could now be realised in a complex project for the first time. Examples include car sharing instead of expensive company fleets, shared workshops, communal facilities such as childcare centres, and nearby recreational and leisure facilities for people who work there or live in neighbouring districts. Schimmel hopes that this package and the internationally renowned research community in Bremerhaven will also attract technology companies with highly skilled staff to the LuneDelta: “We are creating the type of highly attractive environment that traditional business parks and even popular urban centres cannot match.” Schimmel firmly believes that there will be no shortage of interest: “Demand for green technologies and products, and for resource-efficient production, is growing rapidly.”

Press contact: Uwe Kiupel, Head of location marketing, BIS Bremerhaven, Tel.: +49 471 94646-330, E-Mail: Kiupel@bis-bremerhaven.de

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