Green building wins: Weleda Cradle Campus wins Polis Award 2024 in the “Ecological Reality” category

At this year's Polis Awards ceremony at the Polis Convention in Düsseldorf, the Weleda Cradle Campus was named the winner in the “Ecological Reality” category. Weleda AG's new logistics center in Schwäbisch Gmünd impressed the jury above all with its pioneering ecological aspects and its holistic approach to sustainability. The emission-free building complex, constructed from clay and wood, sets standards for the transformation of the economy towards sustainable, cycle-oriented action. Weleda is thus setting another milestone in its long history as a pioneer of sustainability.

Masterpiece made of clay, wood and daylight

The Polis Award in the “Ecological Effectiveness” category went to an architectural masterpiece: the Weleda Cradle Campus, an outstandingly sustainable logistics complex designed by the Ulm-based architectural firm Michelgroup GmbH. Its innovative design combines sustainability, nature integration and forward-looking energy management in a unique symbiosis. The campus, which is expected to go into operation in fall 2024, sets economic, ecological and social standards for the transformation of the economy towards sustainable, circular business. For Weleda, the entire life cycle of the buildings and their environmental footprint was crucial from the outset: from construction and operation to future dismantling, the logistics campus meets the highest standards of sustainability and recyclability. For example, the shelves for the 17,200 pallets are made entirely of wood, thereby binding over 1000 tons of CO2. They are surrounded by walls made of rammed earth, for which part of the excavated earth from the construction pit was used - this not only avoided the energy-intensive removal of the earth, but also meant that a building could be erected that even meets the strict requirements for the storage of pharmaceuticals without having to be artificially air-conditioned. Thanks to over 10,000 photovoltaic modules and geothermal energy, the logistics camp will also be completely emission-free and thus make an important contribution to climate protection. The German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB) has already certified the Weleda Cradle Campus with the highest possible standard in terms of sustainability with a platinum pre-certificate.

Consisting of an administration building, an intermediate building with a break room, a functional building for order picking and a fully automated high-bay warehouse with walls made of clay and shelves made of wood, all work steps of international and national sales and production logistics from incoming goods to outgoing goods can be implemented on site. In addition to the sustainable orientation of the buildings, Weleda also attaches particular importance to the surrounding area: the biodiversity of the site is enhanced by nesting boxes for birds and a diverse planting of fruit trees, shrubs and perennials. There is enough space for this, as Weleda is only building on 20 percent of the seven-hectare site.


Ecological effectiveness achieved

Despite the higher initial investment due to the high sustainability standards, Weleda sees the project as a sensible investment in the company's ecological and social resilience, demonstrating how high-quality architecture, ecological sustainability and technological innovation can be combined.

“The Weleda Cradle Campus is a pioneering project. It is the visible expression of Weleda's values, in particular sustainability and innovative capacity,” emphasizes Weleda CEO Tina Müller. “By using natural building materials such as wood and rammed earth, it is a successful example of circular construction. In addition, we work there completely emission-free by supplying the buildings with renewable energy from photovoltaics and heating. The Weleda Cradle Campus is therefore not just a place of work, but an expression of our vision of a sustainable future. This is exactly what the Polis Award stands for and why we are particularly proud of this award.”


Tobias Jakob (Weleda AG) with polis Award 2024 © Weleda

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