Messe München – the rooftop of the future

Bavarian minister-president Dr Markus Söder recently visited Messe Munchen’s photovoltaic rooftop system and learnt about the venue’s sustainability strategy which has been in place for 25 years now.

Messe München uses renewable energies, heat from geothermal energy and supports electric mobility with 100 charging stations.

A quarter of a century ago, the Messe built what was then the world’s largest photovoltaic rooftop system.

The Munich photovoltaic plant symbolises the beginning of the green transformation at Messe München and today includes geothermal energy, a combined heat and power plant, and charging stations for electric vehicles. The next major goal is to become carbon neutral by 2030. To that end, the sustainability strategy at Messe München is based on five pillars: an ecological energy mix, waste avoidance, modern mobility, logistics and catering.

The Messe München has also developed a guide for exhibitors on how to make their trade fair appearance carbon neutral and organised a feasibility study to determine the most effective, economically viable and, above all, carbon neutral energy mix for the future. This also includes a possible expansion of the solar rooftop.

The first step of the new study is to determine the optimal increase in photovoltaic area and optimal size of a battery storage system; the second step is to integrate heating and cooling into the system. Messe München expects initial results of the feasibility study to be available by the end of 2023.

The Messe’s three photovoltaic systems – on two wings of the trade fair, each with six halls, and the West parking garage – were connected to the grid between 1998 and 2004 and generate a total of around 2.6m kilowatt hours of green electricity per year. This has prevented an average of around 1,460 tons of carbon dioxide per year.

Dr Söder said: “Bavaria is a sunshine state. We are continuing to develop electricity from solar energy on a massive scale. Messe München has been a pioneer for many years with regard to sustainability. With 38,000sqm of solar cells, 26m kWh of electricity have already been produced and 10,000 tons of CO2 saved here. We have a total of 800,000 PV systems in Bavaria. We want to develop all forms of renewable energy for the energy transition. Bavaria is in the top spot among all the German states when it comes to expansion and pace.”

The main shareholders of Messe München, the Free State of Bavaria and the City of Munich, are both supporting this effort.

Messe München’s co-CEOs, Dr Reinhard Pfeiffer and Stefan Rummel, explained: “The construction of the photovoltaic system 25 years ago laid the foundation for sustainable trade fairs. Over the years, numerous activities have been added as we approach climate neutrality in 2030, the main goal of our sustainability strategy.

“For example, 100% of our electricity is generated from renewable sources, district heating at the fairgrounds is partly supplied by geothermal energy, we have a combined heat and power plant and 100 charging stations for electric vehicles. Moreover, Messe München has the greenest exhibition grounds in the world.” Messe München includes 220,000sqm of green spaces, some 2,500 trees, planted exterior hall walls and 35,000sqm of green rooftops.


The smarter E Europe extends

As part of the largest platform for the energy industry in Europe, The smarter E Europe, the world’s leading trade fair for the solar industry, Intersolar Europe, has had a permanent place at the Messe’s exhibition grounds for 15 years, attracting 85,000 visitors from 160 countries. The innovation platform provides a comprehensive picture of what is needed for the world of new energy and transport and how a 24-hour renewable energy supply can be achieved. In addition to Intersolar Europe, The smarter E Europe presented in June a range of innovative solutions for the sustainable energy industry of the future with ees Europe, Power2Drive Europe and EM-Power Europe.


Foundation for a sustainable future

“Business success and sustainable action can no longer be considered independently from one another – and have not been for some time,” Dr Reinhard Pfeiffer and Stefan Rummel emphasised. “A coherent sustainability strategy is now a crucial competitive factor. We are proud that Messe München laid such an important foundation early on with the sustainable exhibition centre, which we are now pursuing with activities and projects in the areas of energy, waste, biodiversity, and social issues and governance.”

At the beginning of 2020, for example, Messe München switched entirely to electricity generated from renewable sources. Even during the years prior to 2020, more than half the electricity requirement was met using renewable energy.

More information on the sustainability activities of Messe München can be found here.