The many faces of environmental protection
Environmental protection and sustainable development have been part of the overall concept of the new hub at Leipzig/Halle from the word go. DHL relies on state-of-the-art technology and uses natural renewable resources such as solar energy and rainwater in order to protect the environment, to save electricity and to save carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere. Staff has gotten into the spirit of things too, as shown by the great response to the job ticket subsidized by DHL.
It was a matter of ensuring the new freight sorting center and adjacent aircraft hangar had an environmentally-compatible supply of heat and electricity - no easy feat for the planning team of Deutsche Post Bauen. The overall area spans around 70,000 square meters - which is about the size of a modern shopping mall.
New block heat and power plant
The solution to this challenge was provided by the renowned machine construction company Finsterwalder Maschinen- und Anlagenbau GmbH (Fimag). The company provided DHL with the best possible solution, a block heat and power plant which is extremely powerful. It runs on natural gas, which is both economical and environmentally compatible.
From the middle of this year, the newly-established block heat and power plant will be generating enough electricity to meet the hub's energy requirements. It will generate nine million KWh of energy each year.
DHL will use the heat produced from electricity generated by this plant to heat the hub during the winter. During the summer, a solar thermal cooling system will be used where the heat from solar collectors is used to drive thermal refrigerators to cool the warehouse. A key factor is that the energy generated by the block heat and power plant will be used throughout the entire year.
A photovoltaic system was installed on the roof of the workshop
The sun is also being used to generate energy at Leipzig/Halle hub. The Dresden company SunStrom installed a photovoltaic system spanning around 1,000 square meters of solar cells on the roof of the workshop. They generate more than 100,000 KWh of energy each year which will be fed into the public grid.
The public utility rewards DHL with credits that push down the remaining electricity costs. The photovoltaic system and block heat and power plant save around 3,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere each year.
Progressive energy and rainwater management
On the hub grounds, there is an industrial water plant and a water plant for fire-fighting purposes. Rainwater is collected on the roof of the office buildings spanning an area of 16,000 square meters and on the hangar roof spanning over 25,000 square meters. First of all, the rainwater runs through a filter system after which it is stored in cisterns that hold around 300 cubic meters of water.
Around 3,000 cubic meters of water are stored each year using this system. A portion of the stored rainwater is fed back into the hub's water system and is used, for instance, to wash the aircraft and to flush the toilets on site. The progressive energy and rainwater management at Leipzig hub will provide initial empirical data and to create the basis for further environmental measures at other DHL airfreight hubs.
Protection of the environment with using public transport
Another way of protecting the environment is to use public transport. More than a third of staff members at the airfreight hub are taking advantage of a cooperation between the public transport association "Mitteldeutscher Verkehrsverbund" and DHL, with more likely to come on board. Instead of traveling to work in their cars, employees come by bus or rail thanks to the cost-effective job ticket.
The ticket is free for anyone traveling within the first two tariff zones. The schedules have also been tailored to the hours of the various shifts and facilitate transfers. Staff holding a monthly ticket subsidized by DHL can also use it on the weekends to travel with family members.