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Credit: Moka-Studio/URW

Westfield Hamburg-Überseequartier is the first major project to receive new DGNB certification for sustainable building sites

The German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB) has developed a new certification system for sustainable building sites and awarded the Westfield Hamburg-Überseequartier with the DGNB pre-certificate for sustainable building sites as the first major project during the Tag der Bauindustrie (Construction Industry Day) on June 10, 2021.

The mixed-use quarter of project developer and investor Unibail-Rodamco- Westfield (URW) in Hamburg’s HafenCity is thus one of the first four projects ever in the whole of Germany to successfully use the new construction site certificate as a planning and management tool, thereby committing itself to the highest possible sustainability quality even before completion. The project, which combines a total of 14 buildings with a total area of 419,000 square meters on a 67,000 square meter site (approx. ten soccer fields), is also the largest and most complex project to receive this pre-certification.

The new DGNB construction site certification is based on compliance with numerous criteria from the five areas of construction site organization, resource protection, health and social issues, communication with the local public, and quality of construction, and is focused on the construction site process and implementation for the duration of the entire construction measures. The assessment of the construction site is based on evidence that is reviewed at coordinated intervals before the start of and during the implementation of the construction measures.

“Sustainable construction is not only about the result, but also about the way to get there. That’s why it’s important to plan and manage construction sites in such a way that they use resources responsibly, are as safe as possible for the people working there, and minimize the negative impact on the environment. It’s great to have such a large and ambitious project among the first users of our new certification system for sustainable building sites,” says Johannes Kreißig, Executive Director of the DGNB. “Westfield Hamburg- Überseequartier is thus taking on a real pioneering role – a project from which others can learn.”

Better Places: Sustainability strategically anchored at URW

In line with the company-wide sustainability strategy “Better Places 2030”, the construction of the Westfield Hamburg-Überseequartier focuses on sustainable aspects from the very beginning. This applies to construction, procurement, the use of building materials, the use of resources, subsequent operation and future adaptability. In addition to ecological aspects, the focus is also on assuming social responsibility and promoting local communities at the site.

At Westfield Hamburg-Überseequartier, all buildings will be certified with the BREEAM Excellent standard upon completion, another industry-recognized rating system for the ecological and sociocultural sustainability of buildings. The office buildings will also receive the DGNB Gold award. During construction, a special low-carbon concrete is used, the wood comes from legally verifiable sources, and recycled steel is used for concrete reinforcement. In general, URW pays special attention to the procurement of recyclable material, its efficient use, and waste prevention. Around 20 percent of the excavated earth, totaling one million tons, was removed by ship to save a total of around 8,000 truckloads that would otherwise have been transported through the city. All energy requirements for subsequent operation will be met with electricity from renewable energy sources. In addition, the infrastructure for supplying shore power to ships docking at the cruise terminal has already been planned. With regard to mobility and transport, the plans focus on local public transport, e-mobility platforms, sharing economy, a total of 3,500 bicycle parking spaces in the quarter, and smart logistics and traffic management systems.

In the area of social responsibility, the focus is on cooperation with local cultural institutions, projects with universities and social commitment – for example, the renovation of the children’s farm Kirchdorf e.V. in the south of Hamburg. Memberships and involvement of staff in Hamburg clubs and associations, such as City Management Hamburg, Tourism Association, HafenCity network and Chamber of Commerce, are another important element. Dialog with HafenCity’s immediate neighbors is promoted through regular neighborhood events – most recently in digital form.

The award of the DGNB pre-certificate for sustainable building sites to Westfield Hamburg-Überseequartier underpins the effectiveness of Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield’s sustainability strategy.

Sustainability as a matter of course

“Particularly through our sustainability strategy ‘Better Places’, the topic has become a matter of course at Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield. It is an integral part of our business approach and drives action in construction projects, in the operation of our destinations, and within our corporate culture. As a matter of principle, we always think in terms of environmental as well as social responsibility,” says Dirk Hünerbein, Director of Development at Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield Germany.

“With the pre-certification by the DGNB, the Westfield Hamburg-Überseequartier is already strengthening its status as a showcase project with a forward-looking architectural, utilization and sustainability concept during the construction phase. We see it as a meaningful addition to our sustainability strategy, which is decisive for our various destinations and places its focus on environmentally friendly management, new forms of sustainable mobility, complete integration of our own business activities into local communities, and the promotion of employee and stakeholder engagement,” adds Ivica Pavusek, Head of Center Operations and responsible for Facility Management & Sustainability at Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield Germany.

“We see the construction site certificate as a management tool for sustainability requirements as well as the entire logistics during the construction phase. In practice, the removal of one-fifth of the excavated material by ship and the use of low-carbon cement or recycled steel are good examples. All construction material is inspected by authorized experts before use. We also monitor each business partner to ensure that their sustainability standards are in line with ours. The project is one of the most complex in the entire industry – and sustainability standards play a crucial role in all subsections,” explains Thomas Kleist, Senior Sustainability Manager for Westfield Hamburg-Überseequartier.

All information on DGNB certification of sustainable building sites as well as the entire catalog of criteria can be found online at

Westfield Hamburg-Überseequartier: modern urbanity for Hamburg

In Westfield Hamburg-Überseequartier, a total of 14 individual buildings are being constructed, which, with their outstanding architecture and unique mix of uses, will form a new lively destination in Hamburg. Retail, the cinema, further entertainment concepts and more than 40 gastronomy units will be fine-tuned with offices, the three hotels, a cruise terminal and a total of 650 apartments. The mixed-use district consists of a total area of 419,000 square metres and will be realised by Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield with an investment of over one billion euros by autumn 2023.


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