Refurbishing the Great Tropical House

The Great Tropical House, a listed building, has been the most important landmark in the Botanic Garden in Berlin-Dahlem for more than 100 years. Built by Royal Building Officer Alfred Koerner (1849 - 1926) in the years 1905 to 1907, it still remains one of the most impressive self-supporting greenhouses in the world and accommodates more than 1,400 plant species. Destroyed by bombs in the autumn of 1943, it was rebuilt in the 1960s and, because of its inefficiency in energy terms, completely refurbished in the years 2006 to 2009. This refurbishment was made possible by funding from the Environmental Relief Fund (UEP). The objective was not only to preserve the Tropical House for use by scientists, researchers, educators and the public, but also to reduce the energy consumption by at least 50%. Today, almost three years after reopening the Tropical House, we have been able to achieve a primary energy saving of around 70%. This has been possible thanks to the following, among other things:

  • special  laminated, UV-transmissible safety glass with approval for specific use,
  • façade and under floor heating system,
  • the latent heat accumulator (PCM device) in the northerly ventilation tower,
  • technical air-conditioning equipment optimized for greenhouse use,
  • progressive control engineering technology as well as
  • a careful adaptation of the climate management to the minimum botanic requirements.


Preventing CO2 emissions of 570 tonnes a year

Annual budget relief of 165,000 euros

Preservation of a piece of cultural heritage as well as considerable improvement to the working conditions


Funding bodies: