On 10 January 2019, the Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE) will award the renowned Swiss "Watt d'Or" energy prize for the twelfth time. Among the five winners is the NEST research and innovation building by Empa and Eawag. In its decision, the jury put a particular emphasis on the "Solar Fitness & Wellness" unit.
Since 2007, the Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE) has been awarding the "Watt d'Or" to innovative Swiss projects with the aim of publicizing exceptional achievements in the field of energy. This year, the jury, chaired by the Councilor of States, Pascal Bruderer Wyss, decided to award for the first time a special "Transition" prize in addition to the four established categories. The winner in this category is the NEST experimental building on the Empa campus in Dübendorf. According to the jury, NEST is an actual role model of how research, industry and society can successfully manage and actively shape the upcoming changes in the energy sector together. Essential elements of the future energy world can be anticipated, tested and further developed at NEST, thus lowering the entry threshold of these new technologies for market entry.
Towards a decarbonization of the building park
The NEST unit "Solar Fitness & Wellness", designed by architect Peter Dransfeld and supported by the Swiss-Liechtensteinian building technology association, suissetec, received a special mention. The entirely solar-powered unit demonstrates that, thanks to innovative technology, wellness facilities can be operated with significantly less energy than thus far.
For Peter Richner, Deputy CEO of Empa, the "Watt d'Or" is an incentive to continue along the chosen path. "NEST brings together research and industry and, with the support of the public sector – such as the Swiss Federal Office of Energy – can implement and validate completely new concepts on a 1:1 scale and with the involvement of real users," says Richner. "We are thus capable of initiating innovations that will help achieve Switzerland's climate and energy goals and decarbonize the building park."