When naming their company seven years ago, the TerraTec founders Walter Grieger and Heiko Meertz already had a clear idea of its philosophy and strategy: a marriage of ecology and high-tech with consideration for the company's social and cultural framework. "Terra" - Latin for Earth - precedes the "Tec" for technology. The environment and ecological considerations were not to be sacrificed to economic requirements. Prior to the company's move to a building of its own in the summer of 1997, a concept was developed which corresponded to the major ecological, cultural, social and business standpoints of the founding phase. These ideas and wishes were incorporated in the selection and reconstruction of the new company headquarters. Many things could be realized to date, some things were set on the right track and others started. Optimizing this concept is an ongoing process.
We'd like to mention a number of aspects of this
all-encompassing concept here:
1. Maintain the old and combine it harmoniously with the new
A complex dating back to 1920 was purchased during the
search for a new company building. It would have simplified matters to tear
down the old building and construct a new one. Instead, TerraTec renovated
the old structure, integrated a warehouse complex and added a new office
building with a state-of-the-art communications infrastructure - designed in
according to the most recent findings on ecologically suitable construction
techniques and regulation pertaining to environmentally-sound heating.
2. Heating technology, solar energy and wind power
Naturally, the choice of heating technology is also a
part of ecologically sound construction. TerraTec decided in favor of a gas
heating system (condensing boiler technology) which represents the state of
the art, especially with regard to the reduction of emissions. In the near
future, a solar energy system will be added for water heating. With regard
to renewable energy sources, a wind generator with a hub height of 32 meters
has provided the company's electricity since the beginning of 1998.
3. Rain water utilization system
The installation of a rain water utilization system was a
further step toward an environmentally sound company infrastructure. This
system is used for the provision of water for industrial use. In addition, a
rain water balancing pond has been set up as a biotope.
Office and warehouse waste are collected separately and
recycled. The recycling of old printed circuit boards and sound cards is
currently under consideration and a balanced concept is being developed. The
subject of packaging also has room for optimization and will be coordinated
in meetings with suppliers.
5. Fauna and Flora
The existing old trees on the property were maintained
and supplemented with newly-planted trees - especially traditional fruit
trees of the Lower Rhine region which are in danger of extinction. A beech
perimeter hedge can provide nesting sites for songbirds. Berry bushes and
old plants from the borders of farming plots are to live on in a meadow. A
dozen free-range chickens round out the picture.
6. Culture: "TT38" art gallery
The modern office building is also open to artists.
Public exhibitions and vernissages public are planned at irregular intervals
over the course of time. Only two weeks after moving in, the first artist
laid claim to the "TT38" gallery - with sculptures and paintings made of
scrap computer components. Others will follow.