BEST - Building Energy Systems and Technologies


Research focus

BEST-group’s research focus is on building related energy systems including novel technology development as well as system integration.  Our current research spans across thermal energy storage, thermal use of hydrogen, novel cooling technologies and grey water heat recovery in buildings and districts. 

Energy storage is one of the key elements in the transformation of our building stock towards a climate neutral future. It allows for integration of intermittent renewable energy sources along with increased operational flexibility of buildings while reducing demand or supply peaks on the electrical grid.

In buildings, besides the need for day/night storage of electricity mostly covered by batteries, there is a demand for long-term energy storage to harvest excess renewable energy available in summertime and to make it available in wintertime. Long-term thermal energy storage is thus key for integration of large amounts of renewable energy in buildings and consequent greenhouse gas emission mitigation and is hence at the core of BEST group’s research.

Research topics:

Beyond pure research we also engage in initiatives promoting energy storage for the transition and decarbonisation of our future energy system. Such an initiative at the interfaces of academia, industry and politics is the "Forum Energiespeicher" FESS of the association AEE Suisse. There, Empa is actively contributing in the working group of thermal energy storage.