Research building NEST continues to fill up

Construction start of NEST unit "SolAce"

Mar 6, 2018 | STEPHAN KÄLIN
NEST is a happening place: As soon as the last unit “Urban Mining & Recycling” has been opened, construction of the next one is already underway. Since mid-February, the unit "SolAce" is being installed in the southwestern corner of NEST. Completion is scheduled for summer 2018. The star of the unit is the façade, which is designed to ensure a positive energy balance of the combined living and working areas throughout the year.

Maximum energy generation through the façade and maximum comfort inside the building: two needs that are often mutually exclusive. Not so in the latest NEST unit, construction of which has just begun. The aim of "SolAce" is to reconcile these two needs. The concept was developed by EPFL researchers in close cooperation with numerous business partners.

Colored glazed photovoltaic modules and solar thermal collectors are used to produce electricity and hot water via the façade. A new type of glazing with integrated micro-mirrors directs daylight differently into the rooms depending on the position of the sun. This means that in winter the rooms are additionally heated by the sun and in summer the heat is kept out as much as possible in order to keep the need for cooling down to a minimum. At the same time, the glazing ensures that daylight is distributed evenly throughout the rooms. In the interior, a newly developed optical sensor system is used to measure the local glare effect in order to control the active facade elements. Dynamic lighting systems complete the unit.

The construction work for "SolAce" is expected to last until summer 2018. After completion, the unit will be used as a combined living and working area. During the day "SolAce" offers workplaces for up to four people, thereafter one to two people can live in the unit.

Construction site NEST unit «SolAce»
Media contact
Stephan Kälin
Phone +41 58 765 49 93

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NEST – Exploring the Future of Buildings
NEST accelerates the process of innovation in the building sector. In this modular research and innovation building of Empa and Eawag, new technologies, materials and systems are tested, researched, honed and validated in realistic conditions. NEST consists of a central “backbone” and three open platforms, where individual research and innovation modules can be installed based on the “plug-and-play” principle. People live and work in these units, which double up as bustling experimental laboratories. More than 100 partners from research, industry and the public sector join together at NEST to explore the future of buildings.