New Alnatura working world in Darmstadt

The heart of the new Alnatura Campus in the southwest of Darmstadt is the company's headquarters, the Alnatura working environment. The office building - the largest in Europe with exterior clay facades -, which has been awarded the DGNB certificate in platinum offers a gross floor area of 13,500 m² and thus space for 420 employees. The 55,000 m² campus is also home of the public nature child day-care centre (Waldorf Kindergarten), the 400 m² large vegetarian restaurant “tibits” as well as school and adventure gardens. The particularly environmentally friendly and energy-efficient buildings are characterised by their simple, natural aesthetics and the sustainable use of existing resources. All building materials therefore had to meet high ecological criteria and meet the requirements of sustainability and healthy living. The challenge was the professional sealing of the floor and wall in the canteen kitchen and the sanitary facilities of the nursery, for which codex supplied the appropriate materials for tiling, certified exclusively with EMICODE EC1 Plus. The work was carried out by the master company Fliesen Mauz from Mainz.


The Alnatura working environment, designed by the Stuttgart architects haascookzemmrich STUDIO2050 in clay construction, is an almost climate-neutral, light and open office landscape that significantly contributes to the reduction of CO2 emissions. In keeping with the Alnatura philosophy, a public restaurant on the ground floor offers staff and guests a vegetarian buffet menu. The high-quality design of the restaurant impresses with fresh colours and organic shapes with outdoor terrace and view of the natural pond. The 20 x 20 cm light grey ceramic tile floor in the canteen kitchen also had to be laid in a visually appealing, highly functional and non-slip manner. Careful sealing was a basic requirement here. The installation materials and floor coverings had to be waterproof and grease-resistant and withstand both mechanical and chemical loads from cleaning agents. In addition, only products certified with the EMICODE EC1 Plus test mark were used for the 800 m2 of tiling work, which means that they are very low in emission and healthy to live in. All codex products had to show the required test certificates - an important criterion for installation in the toilets and bathrooms of the nursery.


Challenges of professional waterproofing

In addition to the requirements for sustainability and healthy living, the professional sealing of the floor and wall surfaces that had to be laid, must be carried out within a limited time and cost framework and under difficult climatic conditions. Even at low temperatures in winter, the building materials had to react reliably and quickly. In this context, the protection of the building and hygiene regulations played a major role, as high chemical loads as well as splashing, industrial and cleaning water occur in canteens and canteen kitchens. Accordingly, the suitability of the seal for the highest water impact class W3-I with additional chemical load was required. codex products such as the epoxy resin composite seal Epo 2000 and the sealing tapes used meet all requirements. It was very important to connect the sealing flange to the composite seal in a watertight manner. The connections of the seals must generally be fitted to all built-in parts in accordance with the standards. This was particularly important when sealing the box gutter in the canteen kitchen.

Processing according to the new waterproofing standard

Since July 2017, the new waterproofing standard DIN 18534 has applied to all indoor waterproofing systems. It is binding and, in the case of water impact class W3-I C, states that all waterproofing components must be chemically resistant and tested in the system. At Alnatura, this was solved with a coordinated installation system based on epoxy resin.  First, the 2-component epoxy primer FG 550 was applied to the cement screed, followed by the crack-bridging composite sealant Epo 2000. The waterproofing must be applied (even before the introduction of the standard) at a minimum thickness of 1 mm in a dry state and two coats. The second layer was dyed with a contrast medium for better visibility. This is sanded off as a contact layer for the subsequent tile adhesive. Particular attention was paid to the joints, as they must be chemically and mechanically resilient. The 3-component epoxy joint and adhesive mortar codex X-Fusion was ideal here.


childcare facilities with healthy laying materials

During the planning of the public Waldorf Kindergarten on around 1,000 m² of park-like land on the Alnatura Campus, special attention was paid to the health and well-being of the people who use the premises daily over a long period of time. For this reason, air quality in the interior and thus healthy living products, which ensure a high quality of life and work, were of decisive importance during construction. All materials used for sealing and laying the 10 x 10 cm ceramic tiles in toilets and bathrooms meet these requirements. They are certified with EMICODE EC1 Plus, very low-emission and do not pollute the room air. "We were able to choose from codex's wide range of products, and we always had the right certified products available," confirms Rainer Mauz, Managing Director of Fliesen Mauz. "This also applies to products that dry through reliably and quickly. All in all, the tiling of the Alnatura Campus worked perfectly according to the criteria of sustainability and healthy living, and all deadlines were met."


Certification EMICODE for installation materials

The test mark EMICODE (from community of emission-controlled flooring installation materials, adhesives and construction products, GEV) is used to classify low-emission materials for floors and walls, such as fillers, sealants and adhesives. Depending on the quantity of emitting organic substances, the building materials are divided into one of three classes: EC1 Plus, EC1 and EC2.  For this purpose, the product is examined with regard to volatile and low-volatility organic substances; the manufacturer receives the corresponding certificate on the basis of the measurement data determined. Materials of class EC1 Plus are considered to be particularly low in emissions. For example, their TVOC (Total Volatile Organic Compound), the sum of volatile organic compounds, may not exceed 750 μg/m³ after three days.


DGNB Platinum for Alnatura Working Environment

The certification of the German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB) with the top rating Platinum is only awarded to particularly environmentally friendly, resource-saving and functional buildings that integrate exemplarily into their socio-cultural environment. Alnatura is making a significant contribution to climate protection with its almost climate-neutral building on the extensively renatured campus of a former US barracks site. The building with a rammed earth facade has geothermal and photovoltaic systems as well as an earth channel for preheating the natural ventilation. With the mix of renewable energies and the construction measures adapted to the environment, the energy requirement is around one third below the requirement of the current Energy Saving Ordinance (ENEV). Therefore, the Alnatura working environment is regarded as a particularly energy-efficient building. For a DGNB certificate in platinum, a building must have an overall degree of fulfilment of at least 80 percent for a total of 37 criteria, such as the eco-balance of the building, ease of dismantling and recycling or interior air quality.




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