Wood as a building material of the future – a Düsseldorf example

On an undeveloped plot of land in Düsseldorf's Media Harbour, a modern office building is to be constructed using the wood-hybrid building system. This process replaces many of the components that are usually built with reinforced concrete by timber. The interior quality will involve high comfort standards and post-corona aspects will already be taken into account.


“With the expansion of the Silvers in Düsseldorf, we are building today the way that will be built in the future. Wood as a building material will once again become increasingly important from a sustainability perspective.”

Thomas Sonnenwald, Head of Project & Development Management Europe North/West


„Nachhaltigkeit bedeutet, an vielen Details zu arbeiten. In Göttingen ist es uns gelungen, gemeinsam mit lokalen Partnern und smarter Technik den Energie- und CO2-Fußabdruckes deutlich zu reduzieren.“ 

Stefan Leyrer, Leiter Immobilienmanagement Retail bei Deka Immobilien


Wood as a sustainable material choice

When planning and constructing modern buildings, the manufacturing processes of the building materials are increasingly being taken into consideration. Not only the transport route and the availability of a material are important, but also the energy required to produce the material and the emissions caused in the process. In specialist circles, this is also known as “embodied carbon” or “grey energy”. In addition to the actual construction qualities of a material, the environmental impact of production, transport, dismantling and disposal is also a decision criterion for a sustainable choice of material. For example, the entire cement industry causes about 8% of the greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. This is making the construction and real estate industry rethink the use of a wide range of building materials. At Deka Immobilien, for one of our own new construction projects, this has prompted us to start building today in a way that we will see much more often in the future.

Expansion in Düsseldorf

In Düsseldorf, not far from the Media Harbour and the North Rhine-Westphalian Parliament, one of our plots offers a buildable area which will be developed into a modern office building in wood-hybrid construction with approx. 9,500 m² of rental space. The new building will be a direct neighbour to our Silvers building, which has already been renovated according to sustainability criteria.

The concept of timber hybrid construction provides for wall and ceiling elements to be prefabricated in the factory and then assembled on site. The high degree of prefabrication increases the construction quality and speeds up the execution. The wall modules and all load-bearing supports of the building are made of wood. The ceilings are so-called timber hybrid ceiling modules, a combination of load-bearing timber beams and a concrete ceiling. The concrete ceiling is reduced to a minimum height in order to meet high acoustic and thermal requirements. Compared to the conventional reinforced concrete construction method, the timber hybrid construction method leads to significant savings in "embodied carbon" of about 40 %. 

Furthermore, this modular construction method makes it possible to reduce the construction time by about six months. This reduction in construction time, as well as significantly lower noise and dust emissions at the construction site due to the high degree of prefabrication, reduces the impact on the entire neighbourhood.


This wood hybrid construction method uses resources efficiently and offers great design freedom. Illustration according to the current planning status.

Timber hybrid construction - building method of the future?

Timber hybrid construction is in vogue. Using timber as a raw material lowers carbon emissions and creates buildings with a pleasant indoor climate. We delve deeper into the matter and assess the strengths and weakness of the timber hybrid construction method.

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Interior comfort under post-corona aspects

In addition, the natural building material contributes to a permanently healthy indoor climate and thus a high well-being for the users. Post-corona aspects are already taken into account in the interior quality, so that the ventilation technology and the indoor climate will meet a high standard. The materials used are selected to be as free of pollutants as possible. This process is supported by a concept based on the cradle-to-cradle principle, according to which materials are used in cycles and recycled or reused.

At this location, we at Deka Immobilien are already choosing tomorrow's construction technology paths today:

This hybrid construction method enables significant CO2 savings. According to our calculations, the planned wood-hybrid building in Düsseldorf emits around 2,100 tonnes less carbon dioxide equivalent than a conventional building. It is estimated that about 1.800 m³ of construction wood is required. This amount grows back in approximately 13 minutes in German forests.

For the new building the highest green building certification rating “Platinum” is pursued according to DGNB or LEED.

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Illustration interior - wooden components in the interior create a warm and friendly working atmosphere.

SDGs Sustainable Development Goals der Vereinten Nationen

Die 17 SDGs bilden mit ihren 169 Unterzielen den Kern der Agenda für eine nachhaltige
Entwicklung bis 2030. Die Ziele wurden 2015 von allen UNO-Mitgliedstaaten verabschiedet
und berücksichtigen die wirtschaftliche, soziale und ökologische Dimension einer
nachhaltigen Entwicklung. Die globale Partnerschaft aller Länder sowie der Beitrag des
Privatsektors und nicht-staatlicher Organisationen sind für das Erreichen der SDGs entscheidend.

Implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals:

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11 Sustainable Cities and Communities

Inner-city redensification and thus use of urban resources.
Further development of the dynamic district of Düsseldorf's Media Harbour.

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3 Good Health and Well-being

The building services concept already takes into account post-corona requirements
through higher air exchange rates and increased demands on the indoor climate.
In addition, pollutant-free and very low-polluting materials are used in the interior construction.

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12 Responsible Consumption and Production

The fundamental decision for a wood-hybrid building method and the conceptual
support according to the cradle-to-cradle principle address this SDG.

Further insights into practice