The operation of the Swiss building stock accounts for about 50 percent of primary energy consumption in Switzerland. Buildings constructed prior to 1980 consume five times more energy than today’s new buildings. Greenhouse gas emissions are accordingly high as well.
Economically reasonable and easily implementable retrovit measures for a radical reduction of energy consumption and greenhouse gases are therefore urgent. The Research Group on Sustainable Construction and Renewal focuses its work on building technology and the architectural concepts for buildings. It does so for individual structures and in relation to entire areas, considering societal aspects and cultural dimensions, e.g. the preservation of sites of historic interest.
Efforts revolve around buildings or districts. The researchers produce studies, issue recommendations and engage in the development of, for instance, products for the building technology and for the renewal of the building envelope. These studies support public and private sectors in the decision making in favor of a sustainable development of the building stock in Switzerland.
The team of researchers furthermore answers questions about whether a building is worth retrofitting with regard to the energy consumption or whether a new construction is a more sustainable choice. The solution in individual cases may involve replacing a decentralized, electrical boiler in an apartment house or working out how to integrate controlled ventilation into a building or how to clever utilize the solar power produced on the building.
At the district level, new solutions can arise from networking: For instance, waste heat in office buildings can be useful for heating residential buildings. In this context, the team of researchers determines the areas covered by various systems that produce and release heat for existing and new buildings.