It’s the Swiss mentality to build – literally –for “100 years”, and for this reason, the existing building fabric here compares very favourably to the rest of the world in terms of quality. In the past, care was taken to ensure that investments made in real estate were sustainable. This is still the case today, with the difference that worldwide awareness of global warming and its consequences has had a long-term influence on the way buildings are built. Bearing in mind that buildings accounted for 44.2% of total domestic energy consumption in 2016*, we can see how crucial it is to reduce this high level of energy requirement. The good news is that progress is being made on several fronts, both economically with new products and construction processes, and also in political measures, one example being the Energy Policy 2050 for Switzerland.
Another aspect of the same problem is our limited natural resources – ever fewer raw materials are available for construction. For example, sand and gravel, important raw materials in the construction industry, are becoming increasingly scarce, as is land for development.
Taking all this into account, it’s clear we should, wherever possible, use the existing building structures, adapting them to meet today’s energy-related standards and never forgetting to meet the need to create user-friendly buildings. On a political level, mechanisms have been put into place to fund renovation measures on existing buildings that lead to a reduction in energy consumption, in order to achieve the goals set by the Swiss government in their Energy Policy 2050.
* Source: Analyse des schweizerischen Energieverbrauchs 2000 – 2016 nach Verwendungszwecken, Oktober 2017, Eidgenössisches Departement für Umwelt, Verkehr, Energie und Kommunikation UVEK, Bundesamt für Energie BFE