From high-tech to re-use

Innovative glazing for NEST units

Apr 21, 2021 | LORIS PANDIANI

The NEST partner network is growing rapidly. Its latest member: Saint-Gobain Switzerland. 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.

Two new units are currently being built at NEST, to which Saint-Gobain Switzerland is contributing valuable expertise and innovative materials. Source: Empa

Saint-Gobain Switzerland is the latest NEST partner. The company develops, produces and distributes materials and products for the construction sector. In addition to quality and comfort, the focus always lies on sustainability and the efficient use of resources. "As part of our mission 'Making the world a better home', we are committed to sustainable construction. The partnership with NEST helps us to further advance this mission by giving us the opportunity to evaluate and further develop new solutions and concepts in a real-world environment," explains Patrick Maier, CEO of Saint-Gobain Switzerland.

The NEST team is also looking forward to the collaboration. "With Saint-Gobain, we have gained a partner offering a broad product portfolio and valuable knowhow that will be applied in various projects at NEST. Together, we can thus further advance sustainability in the construction sector," says Reto Largo, Managing Director of NEST. At the beginning of the partnership, Saint-Gobain is mainly involved in two NEST units, HiLo and Sprint.

Intelligent shading

Saint-Gobain and its subsidiary SageGlass are involved in the construction of the NEST unit HiLo. It is developing innovative solutions in lightweight construction and building envelopes. As an expert in intelligent solar protection glazing, SageGlass is advising the project team on the design of the building envelope. Moreover, the company's innovative glazing is used for the façade. The glass can be electronically tinted in order to function as shading system. Unlike conventional systems, this product offers a maximum freedom of design. Due to the HiLo façade's unique shape, this was a key aspect for the integration of SageGlass.

Re-use of glazing

In the new NEST unit Sprint, Empa, together with partners from industry, is aiming to create flexible office space in the shortest possible time – using mostly re-used materials. The Saint-Gobain subsidiary Glassolutions is supporting the construction of the unit with a future-oriented solution: the reprocessing of used windows. For a circular economy, it would represent a major step if the cutting and cleaning of used glass was fully automated in future and thus became a normal and economical part of the re-use process. In the Sprint project, Glassolutions has the opportunity to apply and further develop this process in a real building.

Projects in various fields

However, the collaboration is not limited to these projects. Based on the comprehensive portfolio of Saint-Gobain and its subsidiaries, additional projects in various areas will be launched during the course of the partnership in order to jointly drive forward innovations in the entire construction sector. For example, moisture-regulating plaster systems from Saint-Gobain Weber, which also absorb formaldehyde and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the air, are being used to increase living comfort and health. Room acoustics is also becoming ever more important. Therefore, acoustic ceilings developed by Isover and Saint-Gobain Weber will be tested in NEST in the future. In addition, the use of Alba Balance solid plasterboards from Rigips can reduce temperature peaks in summer, which both enhances comfort in the lightweight modules of the NEST and helps to save energy.

Media Contact

Loris Pandiani
Empa / NEST, Communications & Event Manager
Tel. +41 58 765 47 03

Janine Bettschen
Saint-Gobain Switzerland
Sanitas Troesch AG
Tel. +41 44 446 15 31

About NEST

NEST is the modular research and innovation building of the Swiss research institutes, Empa and Eawag. It was completed in 2016 and is located on the Empa campus in Dübendorf. More than 150 partners from research, industry and the public sector work closely together. At NEST, they validate new technologies and construction concepts under real-world conditions, further develop and demonstrate them in everyday use. As a result, innovative construction and energy technologies can enter the market much faster.

About Saint-Gobain

Saint-Gobain develops, produces and distributes materials and solutions for the construction, mobility, healthcare and other industrial applications markets. They are developed in a continuous innovation process and can be found everywhere in our living spaces and in our everyday lives. The products provide comfort, performance and safety while meeting the challenges of sustainable construction, resource efficiency and the fight against climate change. This strategy of responsible growth is guided by Saint-Gobain's Purpose "MAKING THE WORLD A BETTER HOME," the shared aspiration of all Saint-Gobain employees to act every day to make the world a more beautiful and sustainable place to live.

Saint-Gobain has been active in the Swiss market since 1937 with the following successful companies/brands: Sanitas Troesch (unique bathroom and kitchen concepts), Isover (energy-efficient and ecological glass wool insulation), Weber (mortar-based building materials, Marmoran plasters and facades, KBS flooring systems), Rigips (drywall solutions), Glassolutions (glass solutions for all applications), Vetrotech (high-quality fire and safety glass), SageGlass (intelligent high-tech glass), Swisspacer (energy-efficient insulating glass spacers) and Ecophon (high-quality acoustic solutions). All these brands in the building trade, building products and glass sectors are among the local market leaders. The approximately 2000 employees at more than 40 locations generate a turnover of almost one billion Swiss francs. Innovative, top Swiss quality is developed and produced at ten manufacturing sites and investments are made in the further development of products and services.

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