Norman Foster is inspired by environmental design and with the Reichstag rebuild he designed the underground thermal energy storage. The original building comprised groundwater wells for direct cooling; however, the hydrochemistry was not addressed sufficiently, and the re-injection wells were clogged with iron after a short while, rendering the whole groundwater cooling system useless. He had the first concept drafted by Justus-Liebig-University, Giessen, and Kaiser Bautechnik, Duisburg. Also the system was enlarged to cover not only the Reichstag building, but also the office buildings of the parliament planned in the vicinity.
The system comprises of two aquifers that are in different geological layers at different depth. In Quarternary sands in ca. 60 m depth an aquifer is used for storage of cold to cover summer cooling loads, and two sets of 5 wells each access that aquifer. Another aquifer in Lower Jurassic sediments (Hettangian and Lower Sinemurian) in about 320 m depth serves for storage of excess heat from CHP in summertime, to assist heating during winter. Here only 2 wells are required, and temperatures may reach up to 70 °C.
This enables the building to burn renewable bio fuel – refined vegetable oil – in a cogenerator to produce electricity, a system that is cleaner than burning fossil fuels, which results in 94% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions. The hot water that is pumped up to heat the building drives an absorption cooling plant to produce chilled water.
Fig.1 A view above the Spree river and the Reichstag, Berlin, 1945. T (2015) https://warthunder.com/en/devblog/current/754 (accessed 25.04.19)
Fig.2 Aerial view, Reichstag Building, Platz der Republik Square, Government District, Spreebogen, bend in the Spree River (2011) https://www.alamy.com/aerial-view-reichstag-building-platz-der-republik-square-government-image62038807.html (accessed 25.04.19)
Fig.3 Schematic of the two ATES layers beneath the Reichstag building (2016) https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Schematic-of-the-two-ATES-layers-beneath-the-Reichstag-building-13_fig2_309188865 (accessed 25.04.19)