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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.

The mouse at NEST

On Sunday, 7 March 2021, the "Sendung mit der Maus" celebrates its 50th birthday. For the anniversary edition of the most successful children's show on German TV, Armin Maiwald, anchorman from the very beginning, visited NEST. The topic: How is the construction of the future going to be circular?

From PV module to design object

There is plenty of space for energy generation on building envelopes. However, photovoltaic façades are still rare, even though technology and aesthetics can be combined. As part of a competition, students at the HSLU therefore designed photovoltaic modules as design objects for a façade of NEST on the Empa campus. The winning projects were selected on February 19, 2021.

Ready for the market – thanks to an interdisciplinary partnership

At NEST, a new unit is currently being planned: STEP2. In this project, various partners from research and industry are working together to drive innovation in the field of circular economy, in industrial and digital fabrication, in the building envelope and in energy systems.

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

NEST virtuell

With the Simulation Dasher 360 you can go on a virtual discovery tour through the rooms of NEST. 

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The latest EmpaQuarterly:
Focus: Energy revolution