Dr. sc. ETH Sven Eggimann
Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology
Urban Energy Systems Laboratory
Link to personal website
Sven Eggimann is an experienced researcher of next-generation urban infrastructure systems. His particular interests lie in sustainable transitions of current infrastructure systems, the water-energy-climate nexus, sustainable urban planning, geospatial analysis and next-generation infrastructure systems. He works as a Scientist at EMPA in the Urban Energy Systems Laboratory.
Sven Eggimann has a highly interdisciplinary background; His research is bridging the fields of urban planning, economics, environmental sciences and engineering. His research is motivated by the challenge to transition our urban built urban environment and infrastructure systems into a sustainable future.
Before moving to empa, he was part of the Infrastructure Transition Research Consortium leading the development of a national energy demand simulation model for an integrated system-of-systems model (called NISMOD2) at the Environmental Change Institute at the University of Oxford. He received a PhD at the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (eawag) and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH). In his PhD thesis, he analysed the potential for a sustainability transition of decentralised wastewater treatment systems and the role of data-driven technologies. For his work, he received one of the prestigious ETH medals. Prior to this, he was awarded an MSc in Geography with a specialization in Geographical Information Systems at the University of Zürich.
Research projects and focus
You find below a selection of ongoing and past research interests.
|Superblocks: Alternative street use in cities to foster urban greening|
Superblocks have initially been proposed in Barcelona as an innovative and unconventional urban transformation strategy to create pedestrian-centric neighbourhoods. In the case of Barcelona, the ideal superblock consists of 3x3 urban blocks with interior and exterior streets, where interior streets are transformed to allow for new shared urban uses. The transformation of urban space through this urban design strategy can take on many forms, but crucially reduces space assigned to car-based traffic to enable alternative uses such as urban greening, pedestrian or cycling zones. Assessing unconventional urban design approaches are a necessity due to the manifold challenges today’s cities all over the world are facing due to climate change, urban heat island effects, air or noise pollution. Addressing these challenges is particularly crucial due to policies promoting further densification of existing urban space, which will increase potential environmental stresses due to the increasing number of people living in urban areas. Superblocks are one promising strategy to tackle multiple problems in high-density living areas. This project is financed by the Swiss National Foundation.
Keywords urban green, satellite image processing, urban mobility, urban heat island effect, ecosystem functions
Eggimann (2022) The potential of implementing superblocks for multifunctional street use in cities. Nature Sustainability. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41893-022-00855-2
Eggimann et al. (2022) Evaluating superblock design to enhance urban greening. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.landusepol.2022.106111.
|Urban densification and its impact on energy|
With different computational and data-driven methods, scenarios of re-densification and the resulting energy performance of neighbourhoods are investigated. Many open questions remain about the positive and negative impacts of urban densifications, where data-driven opportunities enable more integrated analysis.
In a research project financed by the Swiss Federal Office of Energy and in collaboration with KCAP Architects&Planners and Wagner Vanzella, the potential of urban densification and its resulting influence on energy consumption as well as embedded emissions of neighbourhoods and districts were investigated. Project results shall support decision-makers in regional and urban development processes in Switzerland.
Keywords machine learning, data-driven neighbourhood densification, densification and urban connectivity
|Project Report (2021): Urban densification and its impact on energy use in Swiss cities|
|Mitigating the impact of climate change on cooling and heating demand|
This research thrust focuses on quantifying the impact on the energy system of future climate and other socio-technical factors such as population dynamics or technology uptake. Cooling and heating demands are simulated bottom-up and top-down at a local and national scale.
Bottom-up building energy simulation methodologies are combined with machine learning techniques to classify the building stock into different building archetypes to upscale local building simulation results to national demands. Different sources of uncertainties are considered, such as climate based on the preparation of a set of climate data projections. High-resolution cooling and heating demand simulations at local and national scales allow exploring the energy transition towards more sustainable energy infrastructure. This includes the large-scale introduction of heat pumps, the impact of air-conditioning diffusion or passive cooling opportunities to mitigate climate change.
Keywords energy system modelling, heat pumps and air conditioning, passive cooling, building stock energy simulation
|Urban water-energy-climate nexus and data-driven opportunities to improve sustainability in cities|
Urban water and energy systems are being redefined for a digital age, promising substantial advantages for service users and providers, and for society as a whole. I'm interested in the benefits and challenges of smart systems in future smart cities and how this could bring about a sustainability transition.
Keywords data-driven urban water management, smart energy,
Moy de Vitry et al. (2019): Smart urban water systems: what could possibly go wrong?
Eggimann et al. (2017): The Potential of Knowing More: A Review of Data-Driven Urban Water Management.
Student thesis (past and ongoing)
Please contact me if you are interested in doing an MSc thesis on one of my research topics. Find below some co-supervised thesis:
Media coverage of my research
Other publications and blogs