The justice sector in Saarland is seeking to become more environmentally friendly for the long term. To achieve this goal, on 17 March 2022, State Secretary in the Ministry of Justice Roland Theis and CEO of LEG Saar Valentin Holzer signed a cooperation agreement to develop a plan of measures and actions entitled ‘Sustainable Justice’.
The letter of intent (LOI) that has now been signed talks about providing energy retrofitting for 30 properties spread across more than 50 buildings. The total area in question is more than 113,170.95 m². Energy consumption amounts to 1,409,887.07 kWh and water consumption is 85,107.16 m³. The project involves introducing systematic, ongoing energy controlling for all properties, optimising existing heating systems using modern reference measurements, performing comprehensive energy evaluations of buildings and using these to develop specific energy renovation concepts, and conducting feasibility and implementation studies. ARGE Solar has begun a comprehensive status analysis for this purpose.
‘The end result should be a renovation roadmap for justice real estate in Saarland, optimally coordinating all possible and expedient individual measures in terms of both timeline and content as well as standing as a clear, transparent, long-term framework of action for a path to follow (coordinated with the state building authorities) to achieve a climate-neutral building stock by 2045, including the investment this requires’, State Secretary Roland Theis explained. The State Secretary set out the ambitious goal of ‘using caution, creativity, courage and conviction to become Germany’s first climate-neutral justice sector’. Theis noted that LEG Saar’s comprehensive expertise made them the ideal partner for this project.
Valentin Holzer, CEO of LEG Saar GmbH: ‘Our collaboration seeks to meet the overarching goal of achieving a fully climate-neutral building stock for the justice sector by 2045. As the current crisis shows, this also aids sustainable financial policy as climate efficiency reduces the use of fossil fuel resources, which in turn means lower public authority spending. Comprehensive property surveys will be conducted to determine specific long-term measures, for example using renewable energies such as photovoltaics or tapping energy efficiency potential.’ Holzer emphasised that LEG Saar offered the project a pool of skills in the construction and management of complex real estate projects from across the entire holding group, as well as presenting all the required solutions under a single roof with only a few different points of contact.
Ralph Schmidt, architect and CEO ARGE Solar, cited the example of the Saarland Higher Regional Court and Saarbrücken District Court building at Franz-Josef-Röder-Straße 15 in Saarbrücken, and explained how a sustainable structure for the Saarland justice sector might look and operate. He mentioned far-reaching measures such as building photovoltaic systems, but also emphasised that measurable results could quickly be achieved via lots of small measures. He also noted that ARGE Solar was delighted with the exciting task at hand and the opportunity to add its expertise to the sustainability project.
The Ministry of Justice is not starting from scratch when it comes to sustainability: measures covering sustainable energy generation and use, mobility, biodiversity and nutrition are all currently in place within the Saarland justice sector. For example, this spring the Saarland justice sector is a partner in the LEG Saar project ‘Species-Rich Saarland (Saarland Artenreich)’, which is seeking to maintain and create habitats for endangered species by the Saar in order to protect insect life.
Ottweiler prison already has a photovoltaic system on one of its detention buildings, and another system is expected to be installed on a planned modular building at the same facility. In addition, the Saarland justice sector is already operating electrical vehicles, and various sites – including Saarbrücken County Court, Homburg County Court and the Ministry of Justice itself – have e-bikes that are used for official trips.
Furthermore, the Saarland judiciary is seeking to achieve sustainable procurement as part of the ‘Regional Products in Law Enforcement’ project. To begin with, there will be a two-year trial of increased regional procurement of food for correctional facilities, which promises to offer added value for the environment, health policy and the regional economy. Products with regional links will then also be given preferential treatment in the procurement process.