Comfortable headquarters for DB Schenker

The metropolis of the Ruhr region, Essen, has been awarded the coveted title of European Green Capital 2017. The new headquarters of logistics giant DB Schenker fitted with building technology from Siemens plays its part in the green renaissance.

Who would have thought it? The former industrial town of Essen located right at the heart of the Ruhr region, famed in former times for its coal mines and smoking factory chimneys, has been named the European Green Capital of 2017 by the European Commission. Today, Essen is a particularly livable city with its many parks and green areas – and an example of successful structural change.


The logistics company DB Schenker, which has recently moved into its new headquarters, contributes to this green renaissance. Opened just a few months ago, the X-shaped, delicate building lies only a couple of steps from Essen’s main railway station. With its eight stories, it is downright modest compared to the tall neighboring buildings of RWE, ThyssenKrupp and Evonik.


The company called their new headquarters “The Grid”. “Since we run our global logistics network from here, I think this is a very fitting name for DB Schenker,” says Jochen Thewes, the company’s chairman. From this location, the group manages its global base of 700,000 customers.

Integrated, digitized building automation

DB Schenker has united its employees from the previous seven locations distributed all over Essen in this building. Now 19,000 square meters provide space for 900 employees. In order to ensure the perfect indoor climate, the company opted for a Siemens solution tailored to its needs: the building management platform Desigo CC.


The degree of digitalization and building automation is impressive: The platform encompasses a fire alarm system with 1,500 fire detectors, an access control system with 40 Siport readers, an intrusion detection system with 50 elements, a video surveillance system, 560 Desigo room automation operator units, and Dali lighting control.


Light meters on the roof of the building make sure the blinds are optimally adjusted depending on the angle of the sun and cloud cover. That saves energy. But of course any user can also adjust the blinds independently, for example if they need to darken the room for a presentation. With Desigo CC, all systems are interconnected – fire safety, lighting, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning – and are managed centrally.

International level of comfort

The building’s sustainability concept has earned it LEED silver certification. Each room is equipped with several room automation operator units. These units have inbuilt sensors, so when staff use them to control the temperature and lighting they can see by a glowing green or red leaf whether their settings are environmentally friendly.


The close collaboration between facility manager Wolfgang Glücks and Ozan Yildiz, Head of Sales at Siemens in Essen, was fundamental for the successful implementation. And the cooperation continues even though the building was handed over to the customer already in spring 2016.


Mirroring its international customer base, DB Schenker also has a very international team. Shortly after moving into the building, it became manifest how widely people’s ideas of what constitutes ideal room temperature varied. While many people felt that 23 degrees was a comfortable temperature in summer, those from Arabic countries preferred it a lot cooler. In collaboration with the experts at Siemens and staff, Glücks found a solution to keep everybody happy: Users can now set the temperature in each room 3 degrees lower or higher.

DB Schenker and Siemens work hand in hand

Today the technicians from DB Schenker and Siemens are sitting together at the monitors in the facility managers’ control room on the ground floor. They have just installed new pressure sensors for the cold water supply, and now they are checking the monitors to see whether the system is running smoothly. Facility manager Wolfgang Glücks is very satisfied with the technology: “Apart from some water damage when we moved in, which also affected some of the technical equipment, everything’s running perfectly,” he smiles.

Even after the handover we continue to work hand in hand with Siemens.
Wolfgang Glücks, Facility Manager at DB Schenker

DB Schenker has taken out a five-year service agreement with Siemens, and Glücks has no doubt it is worth every cent. “Even after the handover we continue to work hand in hand with Siemens. That’s very valuable to us.” In this case “hand in hand” should be taken almost literally, as Glücks has built a very trusting relationship with Ozan Yildiz, Head of Sales at Siemens in Essen and responsible for the project. The two work closely together as a team.


Previously DB Schenker could only take care of the janitor service. All the other areas had to be outsourced to specialist companies because there was no in-house expertise, and controlling the various functions would have required a lot of personnel. Thanks to the Desigo management platform, Glücks and his three staff now have everything on the screen in front of them: from fire detection, building security, heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning to lighting and shade. And his people are well equipped if something is really wrong: “Our staff are all trained in Desigo. They take care of the troubleshooting themselves.”


Author: Moritz Gathmann, journalist based in Berlin.

Picture credits: Andreas Teichmann

  • Floor space: 19,000 m2
  • Total rental space: 30,000 m2
  • Stories: Ground floor, 7 upper floors and 2 basement levels (underground parking)
  • Office capacity: 900 people (currently around 800)
  • Architects: BN Architekten, Hamburg
  • Technology: Desigo CC building management platform
  • Fire alarm system: FC2080 with 1,500 fire detectors and 900 base sounders
  • Access control system: Siport with 40 readers and 200 offline cylinders
  • Intrusion detection system: CIC 2000 with 50 elements
  • Video surveillance system: SINVR with SiteIQ Analytics
  • Door management system: Dorma with OPC link

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