Built in the 19th century, bombed during World War II Y restored after German reunification; the Reichstag buildingwhich houses the Federal Parliament of Germany, has gained recognition as the greenest legislative building in the world; when holding the 85 percent of its operations with solar energy and generated with biodiesel.
This imposing building, 137 meters long and 47 meters high, was originally built between 1884 and 1894, during the Second German Empirebut a century later, in 1995, it was intervened by the British architect Norman Foster, who endowed it with a large glass and mirror dome that provides natural light to the legislative session hall; in addition to having a large cone for collecting rainwater and an air regulation and circulation system.
This project was so important and significant worldwide, that shortly after delivering the work, Norman Foster won the Pritzker Prize, which is considered the Nobel Prize for Architecture. This award was given to him in 1999 and in 2009 he received the Prince of Asturias Award for his work as a whole.
Explaining the values behind the sustainable Reichstag project in Berlin, Foster said that “Architecture is an expression of values. It takes a lot of effort to make a building look effortless” and he added that in his case: “If I weren’t optimistic, it would be impossible to be an architect.”
At the center of the glass dome that crowns the German Federal Parliament there is a funnel-shaped device that connects the dome of the Reichstag building with the plenary hall and projects with its 360 mirrors non-reflective natural light towards it, with the consequent saving of electrical energy. In the opposite direction, this “horn” evacuates the stale air through the opening of the dome.
At the same time, fresh air is injected –with the same energy-saving criteria– through some small corridors located below the plenary hall that were already part of the forced ventilation system of the old Reichstag building and is introduced through the carpet to the temperature and humidity necessary to adequately air-condition the room.
In this funnel intended for conduction of light and used air, a heat recovery unit is also hidden that takes advantage of the residual energy of the air used to heat the building. At the same time, the photovoltaic equipment of more than 300 square meters located on the south roof of the building supplies electricity without polluting the environment.
HEAT WITH DIESEL.
The core of the non-polluting power generation system and rational and ecological use of energy available are the block thermoelectric plants installed in the parliamentary complex. The engines run on green diesel; that is, biodiesel extracted from rapeseed.
In accordance with the principle of thermoenergetic coupling, the heat resulting from electricity generation is used to heat and cool parliamentary buildings. Thanks to this technology, together the plants can cover more than 80 percent of total energy demand.
Excess heat from power plants can be used for cooling by means of an absorption refrigeration machine or accumulate, especially in summer, in the form of hot water in a tank located about 300 meters deep, from which it can be extracted again in winter. Another separate underground tank collects the cold winter air about 60 meters deep. In summer this aquifer is used for cooling the building.
Thanks to the use of excess heat and the connection with underground tanks, convection power plants They are much more efficient than other equipment.. Together with the other energy-saving technologies installed in the buildings of the parliamentary complex, This system also contributes to a substantial reduction in polluting emissions.
Election with direct vote
The Reichstag building is the seat of the Bundestag, or Federal Parliament. That is the only institution at the German federal level whose members, the deputies, are directly elected by the people.. The deputies are elected by universal, direct, free, equal and secret suffrage. They are not subject to mandates or instructions, they are only due to their conscience. In addition to legislating, it is the responsibility of the members of the Bundestag to elect the Federal Chancellor. Therefore, the head of government leaves Parliament directly.
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The German Parliament performs 85% of its functions with clean energy