Sustainable Built Environment  
Structures & Infrastructures
Buildings & Cities
Advanced Light Weight Structures


Transforming promising research results into true innovations is a challenge in every field but most notably in the construction sector. This is mainly due to the high fragmentation of the sector, the comparatively low involvement of industry in R&D and the complex decision-making process in construction projects.
A promising approach to overcome this obstacle is the demonstration of new materials, systems and technologies in real life, i.e. on a 1:1 scale. Two particularly successful examples of this approach are the Forum Chriesbach and Self, both in collaboration with Eawag. The Forum Chriesbach set new standards for energy-efficient office buildings in good architecture, and since it went into operation in 2006, it has attracted numerous visitors interested to learn about the basic concepts of the building and – even more importantly – about the experience we gained during the construction and operation phase. 



Forum Chriesbach

The main goal of Self is to demonstrate the concept of self-sufficiency in terms of energy and water for a mobile living unit. This is achieved thanks to the use of the most advanced solutions currently available. Thanks to the mobile nature of Self, Empa and Eawag are able to reach a very broad audience, and thus far Self has created an enormous interest wherever it went on display. It is interesting to note that both the Forum Chriesbach and Self are also used by our industrial partners in order to spruce up their image as innovative players in the sector.




The next step in the series of demonstration project will be Nest, a joint effort of Empa, Eawag, EPFL and ETHZ. Nest is a research and technology transfer platform, which allows the evaluation of new building materials, components, systems and technologies as well as the interaction between the building, it's users and the environment under real world conditions. This platform will be in form of a building with a very special design and operating conditions to facilitate this type of research. The required flexibility in operation will be achieved by using the building as a guest house, jointly used by Empa and Eawag.



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