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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.

New NEST unit Sprint now in operation

Sprint sets new standards for circular construction: In only ten months, flexible and COVID-19-compliant office spaces were built at NEST, the research and innovation platform of Empa and Eawag, using mostly reused materials and components. The new NEST unit demonstrates: The stock of reusable materials and the re-use potential in the construction industry are huge and just need to be picked up and utilized.

Architecture award for DFAB HOUSE

As part of the BETON 21 award ceremony, the NCCR Digital Fabrication received an award for the planning and construction of the DFAB HOUSE. The jury of the architecture award was convinced that the project is a promise for the future. It shows the direction in which construction and the use of concrete can go if the possibilities of digital fabrication are increasingly exploited.

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.

Selected success stories

Acoustics from the 3D printer

In the STEP2 unit's floor slab project, the team developed a novel acoustics solution that will be discreetly integrated into the ribbed filigree slab: A box from the 3D printer. It enables a high acoustics quality of a room despite a sound-reflecting surface and extends the design freedom for the architects.


"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. 

"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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The latest EmpaQuarterly:
Focus: Energy revolution