Media Release

Topping-Out Ceremony for Green Bank Headquarters: Volksbank Mittlerer Neckar eG Gets a Climate-Friendly Home

The new office building of the cooperative bank ‘Volksbank Mittlerer Neckar eG’ will be built in a sustainable way and produce its own green electricity. © Muffler Architekten

Around 400 photovoltaic panels on the building shell, own green electricity, shared workstations and room bookings via app. Volksbank Mittlerer Neckar eG has ambitious plans for its new building in Wendlingen near Stuttgart. The financial institution is building a climate-friendly, multi-functional office complex for around 300 staff members in Wendlingen’s town center. Completion is planned for fall 2024. The bank’s goal is to obtain a Platinum certificate from the German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB) and to reach at least a ‘zero energy’ standard. The topping-out ceremony for the new headquarters of the bank took place on September 30, 2023. Drees & Sommer SE specializes in advice on real estate and construction. The company provided project steering, energy consulting and DGNB auditing services for this future-oriented project. The architectural design came from Stuttgart-based architectural practice Muffler Architekten.

The former park-and-ride lot next to the station in the German town of Wendlingen is unrecognizable now. Instead of parked cars on the roughly 5,000-square-meter site are three impressive structures, above which the traditional topping-out wreath is already hanging. From autumn 2024 the various departments of the cooperative bank ‘Volksbank Mittlerer Neckar eG’, currently split between different locations, will be brought together there under one roof. 
However, creating a joint home and more space was not the only reason for the new build. “Our goal is to create a climate-positive building that functions as a small-scale power station and is kind to the environment instead of harming it. The successful progress of the project, and the measures implemented so far, show us that we are well on the way to realizing this,” said Markus Schaaf, spokesperson of the Management Board of Volksbank Mittlerer Neckar eG in his address at the topping-out ceremony. 

Sun and Earth Deliver Electricity and Heat
To achieve its ambitious aim, the financial institution is installing around 400 photovoltaic panels on the building shell alone, with an output of 170-180 kWp. Along with PV modules on the roof, they will provide almost all the electricity for heating and cooling and cover the building’s own energy needs. In addition to solar energy, the energy and sustainability plan, developed by the consulting firm Drees & Sommer, factors in the use of geothermal energy, with a geothermal heat pump for heating and cooling. Overall, the new build will meet the German development bank’s energy standard KfW Effizienzhaus 40 for energy-efficient buildings. Moreover, the building owner intends to obtain a Platinum certification from the German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB) for the new building. Drees & Sommer’s experts, inter alia, support the DGNB certification process and provide project steering services.

Bank Headquarters with a Flagship Character
“The new Volksbank Mittlerer Neckar eG building is a flagship project for the town of Wendlingen. It benefits the inhabitants greatly while also advancing the town’s progress in matters of climate action and environmental protection. We need more examples like this,“ emphasized Wendlingen’s Mayor Steffen Weigel in his topping-out speech. The environmental aspirations of Volksbank Mittlerer Neckar eG are not limited to energy-efficient and climate-neutral operation. Even in the design and construction phase, the bank placed emphasis on conserving resources and reducing CO2 emissions. At least 80 percent of all wood-based materials incorporated in the construction are sourced from sustainable forests, and recycled concrete is used in some parts of the development. The construction company also avoids unnecessary carbon emissions by using local resources where possible. 

New Working Environment Enhances Productivity and Creativity
As a response to the progressing digital transformation and the New Work trend, Volksbank Mittlerer Neckar eG has also opted for a state-of-the art office design that creates a feel-good atmosphere. Shared workstations for around 300 employees and training and conference rooms that can also be booked by external organizations are complemented by a staff cafeteria and rooms for health protection related purposes. The open and versatile office layout is intended to promote productivity and creativity among the users of the space, but also to radiate comfort and security. The large window areas and atria contribute to this by providing the maximum of daylight to the office spaces. Employees will book rooms and workstations using digital solutions and a dedicated app. The complex offers a gross floor area of around 18,300 square meters and consists of three parts with eight, five and four floors respectively. Work on the façade began in August, and pipe assembly will begin shortly in the future underground parking garage. Completion is scheduled for fall 2024.