Energy for improved learning

From projectors in the classroom to ovens in the cafeteria and air conditioning throughout the building – maintaining a constant, safe power supply is absolutely essential in a school. The German School in Madrid therefore relies on efficient building technologies and innovative architecture to ensure its buildings are optimally managed.

Supported by the German state, the new building at the German School in Madrid (GSM) covers an area the size of three soccer fields. The 35,000 m2 plot of land located in the northern outskirts of the city was released for free use by the Comunidad de Madrid. Constructed for 1,700 pupils and 300 kindergarten children in the developing area of Montecarmelo, the building is one of the largest German schools abroad, covering approximately 21,000 m2 and including a dining hall, cafeteria, four-court sports hall, outdoor sports facilities, an underground garage, and a kindergarten.

“Green” building technologies

The mission statement of the German school in Madrid: “During lessons, our pupils should learn what they actually need to know to lead a fulfilling life.” One important subject is not on the timetable, but related to the building itself: the energy and power supply.


A sustainable energy concept was the main focus of the new building project: The elevation of the building, recesses in the façades, and covered exterior spaces provide protection from the summer heat. An appropriate insulation standard and a ventilation system with heat recovery and a good air quality keep the cooling and heating expenses low. Solar power systems and a cogeneration unit ensure that power and heat are supplied with maximum energy efficiency. A 600 meter long thermal labyrinth located under the building increases the air temperature from 0 to 8 degrees Celsius in the winter and cools down from 36 to 19 degrees Celsius in the summer.


Sustainable and maintenance-free

Simaris design was used to plan the electrical network. This planning tool helped engineers calculate the network and dimension the power distribution in the building. As a result, the planning safety increased and adjustments to the planning process that started in 2010 were simplified considerably.


Products from the Totally Integrated Power portfolio were used in the electric power distribution system, including medium-voltage switchgear and cast-resin transformers. Furthermore, six tap-off units of the Sivacon 8PS busbar trunking system were installed along 400 meters throughout the entire complex. The advantage: The power supply is not only reliable and safe, but the system is much easier to install than cables and can be designed with greater flexibility.


The heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system (HVAC) in all sections of the building is controlled, monitored, and optimized by the flexible and scalable Desigo building management system. The innovative design and sustainable building technologies were recognized by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology: In 2011, the new building of the German school in Madrid won an award for energy-optimized construction in the competition “Architecture with energy”.

Equipped for the future

The purpose of the German School in Madrid is to offer German pupils living in the Spanish capital a sense of home and promote a harmonious relationship with German culture and language among Spanish pupils. Founded in 1895, the school now has a building with modern infrastructure and sustainable building technologies that is well equipped for changing circumstances.


Picture credits: Celia de Coca


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