Zehnder, the globally renowned expert in indoor climate solutions, has unveiled its ground-breaking “Centre of Climate” at its German headquarters in Lahr. Spanning an expansive 5,000 square metres, this state-of-the-art facility serves as a hub for innovation, learning, and collaboration, catering to employees, customers, and visitors alike. Central to the building’s holistic design is the WELLUMIC system, a collaborative creation of TRILUX and WAREMA. This intelligent system orchestrates real-time sun shading and lighting coordination, ensuring optimal lighting conditions while minimising energy consumption.
The “Centre of Climate” in Lahr, Baden-Württemberg, consists of open office spaces, meeting and conference rooms, a new restaurant with a café serving as a communal gathering place, and a brand experience room within its expansive footprint. The paramount objective of this architectural masterpiece is the well-being of its occupants.
Petra Frey-Gangi, Head of Marketing & Product Management Zehnder Germany, elaborated, “Our comprehensive building concept not only raises energy efficiency to new heights but also creates an exceptionally inviting ambience that maximally supports individuals in their endeavours.” The facility was inaugurated in March 2023.
Intelligent control for optimal lighting and cost-efficiency
At the core of this sustainable design is Wellumic, an innovation developed by TRILUX and WAREMA. This solution harmonises lighting and sun shading, constituting a coordinated light management system. The algorithm-based control system optimally harnesses available daylight, simultaneously preventing indoor spaces from overheating, especially during summer, due to excessive sunlight exposure that would necessitate energy-intensive cooling. Sensors continuously gauge indoor and outdoor lighting conditions, automatically adjusting external blinds and lighting accordingly.
Precise sun shading control, down to the degree and millimetre
A notable feature is the precise control of external blinds through SMI motors. Beyond mere opening and closing, these motors finely adjust the angle of individual slats in real-time, down to the nearest degree. To minimise glare and maximise sunlight penetration, the intricate algorithm factors variables such as the sun’s angle relative to each window throughout the day and seasons, expertly adjusting slat angles accordingly.
The outcome is optimal lighting conditions, irrespective of the time of day or season, and a considerable reduction in energy consumption for cooling. Markus Schwab, a building physicist and Wellumic expert at WAREMA, remarked, “Wellumic empowers companies to manage two essential aspects with one solution, streamlining the planning and implementation processes through intelligent interaction between proven systems.”
Human centric lighting (HCL) and award-winning luminaires from TRILUX
Recognising that light is more than just illumination, Zehnder has embraced high-quality human centric lighting solutions from TRILUX across various areas of the building. These luminaires, featuring Active technology, mimic the spectral composition of daylight, delivering a “natural” artificial light that users find especially pleasing. Simultaneously, this lighting supports various physiological processes, including the sleep-wake cycle. The luminaires blend into the architectural design and enhance overall room aesthetics.
In line with this philosophy, the large office areas feature award-winning luminaires such as the PARELIA LED, LUCEO SLIM, and LATERALO RING LED pendant luminaires, accompanied by thoughtful lighting design. Complementing these are the FINEA LED light channel solutions, serving as suspended and surface-mounted fixtures to accentuate the atmosphere and provide wall illumination in the offices and think tanks.
Special design element: heating and cooling sail with lighting function
Ceiling sails with heating and cooling functions from Zehnder, employed throughout the building, add a distinctive touch. As part of the project, they have been equipped with SONNOS LED downlights in an HCL design (Active) from TRILUX, further expanding their functionality to include lighting tasks. Lukas Hünting, Lighting Application Specialist at TRILUX, shared, “To achieve an uncluttered ceiling appearance and offer flexible space utilisation, the initial lighting design was reimagined, with suspended luminaires centrally positioned under the ceiling sails instead of workstation-oriented placement.” This effect extends beyond the building’s confines, as the illuminated ceiling becomes a striking signature for the company, visible from afar through the open glass facades.