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NEST - Exploring the Future of Buildings

NEST is the modular research and innovation building of Empa and Eawag. At NEST, new technologies, materials and systems are tested, researched, further developed and validated under real conditions. Close cooperation with partners from research, industry and the public sector ensures that innovative construction and energy technologies are put onto the market faster. NEST contributes to making the use of resources and energy more sustainable and circular.

Innovative glazing for NEST units

Saint-Gobain Switzerland is now a NEST partner. The company will initially equip two units, Sprint and HiLo, with glazing that covers a broad spectrum – from high-tech to re-use. Later on, the NEST team will launch more projects with various Saint-Gobain subsidiaries from the building materials sector to further advance sustainability in the construction sector.

Construction waste as a source of raw materials

Resources are becoming increasingly scarce, and at the same time millions of tons of construction waste end up in landfills. One possible solution: circular construction. ZDF has dedicated a program to this topic and visited the NEST unit "UMAR".

Sprint: A new NEST unit under construction

At NEST the new Sprint unit is currently under construction – an office unit built largely from recycled materials. Sprint aims to set new standards for circular construction. However, the office unit is also a reaction to the current COVID-19 situation, which made it clear that we need to adapt our buidings more flexible and quickly to changing needs.

Selected success stories

"Wastewater is a source of nutrients, energy and water"

Circular economy holds great potential when it comes to wastewater. At NEST, Eawag, Keramik Laufen AG and Vuna are working together to further advance this topic by processing urine into a marketable fertilizer. 

"NEST offers startups a real environment equipped like a perfect laboratory"

The Zurich-based startup Oxygen at Work uses selected plant species to improve the air quality and energy efficiency of office buildings. In order to further optimise its services, the company works together with NEST. In the Meet2Create Unit, new plant concepts in combination with new technologies are being validated and further developed.

"At NEST we were able to show that our algorithm can save 25 percent energy"

Empa researchers used NEST as a research platform to test and further develop an innovative, self-learning heating control system. The result: the intelligent control system achieved a higher level of comfort with less energy.

NEST live

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Focus: Energy revolution