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May 13, 2024

Energy transition under the radio tower: Messe Berlin on the way to a sustainable supply.

· Upgrade of the heating and cooling supply at the exhibition grounds in full swing · Live tour of the construction site during the GREENTECH festival

Construction work to modernise the heating and cooling supply at the Berlin exhibition grounds has been in full swing for six months. At the GREENTECH Festival, which takes place at the exhibition grounds from 15 to 17 May, Messe Berlin is offering visitors the opportunity to look behind the scenes of the energy transition under the radio tower.

Together with the energy company E.ON and its Berlin energy subsidiary BTB, Messe Berlin is modernising the cooling and heating supply at the exhibition grounds. With an area of around 190,000 m² it is one of the largest in Germany. A total of 26 halls as well as the multifunctional CityCube Berlin, the hub27 and the Palais am Funkturm must be supplied with heating and cooling throughout the year, depending on the event.

The conversion will take place during ongoing operations and represents the most extensive modernisation of the operations centre since it was commissioned in 1996. The construction project is scheduled for completion in 2025. Following the conversion, an energy supply contract for 15 years will commence, allowing Messe Berlin to benefit from stable prices and planning security.

Sustainable energy mix ensures more efficient and environmentally friendly supply

Messe Berlin relies on newer, ultra-modern systems for its cooling supply, which air-condition the grounds more efficiently and in a more climate-friendly way than the machines previously used. Various heat sources will be combined for the heat supply, thus ensuring significant energy, CO2 and cost savings. In addition, independence from individual energy sources is to be increased.

The picture shows the roof of the Messe Berlin operations centre.
Roof of the Messe Berlin operations centre with recooling units for cooling supply.

A sustainable energy supply is a decisive factor for the operation of our site, both from an economic and an ecological point of view. With our energy transition under the radio tower, we are focussing on climate and environmentally friendly combined heat and power generation, supplemented by renewable energies such as photovoltaics. Berlin has set itself the goal of becoming climate-neutral by 2045. With our commitment, we want to make a contribution towards achieving this goal,’ explains Dr Mario Tobias, CEO of Messe Berlin.

A new wood pellet boiler system will take over a large part of the existing natural gas and oil-based heat supply. Once construction work is complete, at least 50 per cent of the heat will be generated from renewable energies in a CO2-neutral manner. Environmentally friendly and highly efficient combined heat and power generation will produce 25 per cent of the heat. A further 25 per cent will continue to be generated conventionally to cover peak loads.
Four new chillers with environmentally friendly refrigerants and resource-saving recooling technology are now being used for the cooling supply. In addition, waste heat is utilised to generate cooling. The new chillers are up to 40 per cent more efficient than existing electrically driven screw compression chillers and ten times more efficient than thermally driven chillers (absorbers). Both measures together will save a total of 5,400 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year.

Berlin's largest photovoltaic roof system at Messe Berlin

Construction work on the new photovoltaic system on the hall roofs of the exhibition centre has been underway together with Berliner Stadtwerke since September 2023. A total of around 8.5 megawatts (MW) will be installed on 20 roofs by the end of 2024, making the photovoltaic system the largest of its kind in Berlin and one of the largest rooftop solar systems in Germany.

The entire system will cover a usable area of around 50,000 m² and generate around 7.3 GWh of green electricity per year, which is roughly equivalent to the consumption of 3,600 two-person households. Around 80 per cent of this is to be used on the site itself, including for cooling and heating. 20 per cent can be fed into the electricity grid.

Once the work has been completed, photovoltaics will play a central role in Messe Berlin's energy mix. The self-produced electricity will reduce the CO2 footprint by around 2,900 tonnes per year.

GREENTECH Festival: Energy transition live in the E.ON Arena

Under the motto ‘Accelerating Change from Berlin’, the GREENTECH Festival will take place for the first time at the Berlin Exhibition Centre from 15 to 17 May. As a platform for business, politics, start-ups and companies, this year's event will bring together more than 250 exhibitors, over 200 speakers and 20,000 guests.

As part of the festival, E.ON will be providing information about various energy and sustainability projects in the E.ON Arena. As a special highlight, three exclusive guided tours of the construction site at the operations centre and the PV system at Messe Berlin will be offered. This will allow visitors to experience the dimensions of the ongoing modernisation of the heating and cooling supply and the photovoltaic system.

About Messe Berlin

Berlin has been a trade fair venue for over 200 years, and for many decades one of the most important worldwide. As the trade fair company owned by the capital, every year Messe Berlin conceives, markets and organises hundreds of live events. It aims to be an outstanding host for visitors to every event, to give individuals an optimum boost for their business and ensure fair conditions for everyone. This approach is reflected in the company’s slogan ‘Messe Berlin – Hosting the World’.