Efficient and Sustainable Facility Management in the City of Freiburg

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Main actors

City Government

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Project area

Whole City/Administrative Region

Icons use case study duration


Ongoing since 2006/01

Central facility management creates a sound database for sustainable planning of the retrofitting and extension of buildings as well as new buildings of Freiburg’s City Administration.

City administration and municipal services are usually performed in buildings normally owned by the city. The construction and maintenance of these buildings constitutes a substantial cost factor in the budget, often resulting in parallel structures, uneconomicalness and non-transparency.

The example of city facility management in Freiburg shows that targeted modifications in the organizational structure of an administration and in its process organization can make a considerable contribution to more cost transparency, cost reduction and a more efficient use of energy in the City’s real estate portfolio.

Originally published by the International Community of Practice for Sustainable Urban Development CONNECTIVE CITIES: https://www.connective-cities.net/en/good-practice-details/gutepraktik/efficient-and-sustainable-facility-management-in-the-city-of-freiburg-1/

Sustainable Development Goals

Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all
Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation
Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels
Freiburg, Germany

Size and population development
2012: 218,043 (source: Statistisches Landesamt Baden-Württemberg). Freiburg has one of the strongest population growth in Germany

Population composition
13,4% foreigners in 2011, the majority from other european countries

Main functions
a university city and exibition center ; known as an eco-city in Germany.

Main industries / business
IT, biotechnologies, solar energy

Political structure
Mayor and City Council

Administrative structure
42 neighbourhoods

Like other towns, the City of Freiburg, a university city in the Southwest of Germany with a population of just under 219,000 inhabitants, has a considerable real estate portfolio. In order to establish centralized supervision and support of all City-owned buildings regarding constructional measures, energy management, cleaning, operation and letting, the City founded “Gebäudemanagement Freiburg” in 2006. It is responsible for a total of 470 buildings, above all schools, school sports halls, museums and fire stations. City-owned housing and real estate used predominantly for commercial purposes are excluded.

The aim of concentrating responsibilities for the construction and maintenance of municipal buildings in one authority is to reduce material and staff costs in facility management. Furthermore, the measure focuses on achieving more efficient energy use. All in all, a demonstrable contribution is to be made to impact- and action-oriented implementation of the Freiburg Sustainability Goals, which were adopted by the City Council in 2009, following a participatory process. These goals include the procurement of certified green power, reducing CO² emissions, giving preference to timber in building measures, using ecologically sound building material, and the procurement of products bearing an environmental or Fairtrade seal.

With the aid of an electronic facility management system (CAFM, Computer Aided Facility Management), the inventory and consumption data of all 470 buildings are captured centrally. Thus “Gebäudemanagement” establishes available area and space in the individual buildings on a continuous basis. A virtual “Tenant-Lessor Model” provides each City institution using a building with regular statements of rent levels and service charges. It is planned to transform these virtual rents into real rents.

In addition, the City conducts a long-term cost-benefit analysis in all retrofitting and new construction projects incorporating not only the costs of reconstruction or new construction but also the operating costs over the next 30 to 50 years. This database enables politicians and administrators to supply a better justification of higher investment costs to achieve good quality and high energy-related standards even if that makes the project more expensive in the short term.

Central facility management enables the establishment of specific space requirements, comparisons of construction costs, the grouping of procurements and the optimization of energy management. Thus it has been possible to significantly reduce material and staff costs for facility management. The detailed statements of costs sharpen awareness of energy and resource consumption among building users and enable City facility management to initiate special retrofitting measures to reduce high energy consumption. Thus a reduction of CO² emission from municipal buildings related to gross floor area by more than 40% has been achieved compared to 1990.


- Efficient and Sustainable Facility Management in the City of Freiburg, http://www.connective-cities.net/en/connect/good-practices/efficient-and-sustainable-facility-management-in-the-city-of-freiburg/ (accessed 24 February 2016).

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