Paths to a sustainable climate and energy future

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 (Image: Pixabay CC0) (Image: Pixabay CC0)
Hardly any snow in winter, increasingly hot summers, droughts, heavy precipitation, floods: the consequences of climate change are also being felt in Switzerland. Approaches for a sustainable climate and energy future were therefore the focus of the 19th IGE seminar of the Institute of Building Technology and Energy of the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts - Engineering & Architecture, which took place on March 15, 2023.

Jürgen Ragaller, climate expert of the Canton of Lucerne, presented the Climate and Energy Planning Report of the Canton of Lucerne. He emphasized that warming in Switzerland is proceeding twice as fast as the global average (2â°C temperature increase vs. 1.2â°C). The goal of the Canton of Lucerne, he said, is climate neutrality by 2050, with all sectors having to make their contribution. Nevertheless, it will not be possible without negative emission technologies (NET).

Christine Meier, SBB’s sustainability manager, presented a package of more than 200 measures with which the company aims to halve operational greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 compared to 2018: from the technical optimization of rolling stock to circular economy using the example of old catenary masts to railroad technology buildings made of modular wooden elements and solar cells and biodiversity along the rails. Lukas Küng from the Organization for Electricity Supply in Extraordinary Situations (OSTRAL) explained the reasons for the absence of the power shortage feared for last winter - among other things, the mild weather had helped. However, he also warned that "after the winter is before the next winter"; for a possible energy crisis, one should plan early. At the same time, he emphasized, "We have never been as well prepared for a power shortage situation as we are today."

Gamechanger green hydrogen?

Daniela Decurtins from the Swiss Gas Industry Association (VSG) also addressed the energy crisis and showed in her presentation that an electricity shortfall is becoming more likely due to the electrification of the system (keyword e-mobility) and that all renewable forms of energy are therefore needed to secure the supply in the long term. Gas is becoming increasingly renewable, he said. The goal is decarbonized gas supply by 2050, he said, adding that Switzerland should not miss out on the global megatrend of hydrogen. Many questions are still open, but it is clear that the world will not achieve its climate targets without green - i.e. climate-neutral - hydrogen.

Thomas Marti from the Association of Swiss Electricity Companies (VSE) presented the VSE study on the energy future 2050. He emphasized that security of supply and climate neutrality are possible at the same time, but only through comprehensive electrification. This would require, on the one hand, great efforts for close cooperation with the EU - also with a view to a Europe-wide infrastructure for green hydrogen, which could become an important element of the Swiss energy supply in the future - and, on the other hand, a massively accelerated expansion of renewables.

Every tenth of a degree counts

Patrick Hofstetter of WWF regularly attends UN climate conferences as a member of the official Swiss delegation. As an insider, he considered it unrealistic that the approximately 200 member countries could agree on global regulations in favor of a climate-compatible building stock; the interests and starting points were too different. At the same time, he called on the 120 or so participants at the IGE seminar not to lose hope that they can make a difference on a small scale - every tenth of a degree counts. Sustainable construction in Switzerland makes an important contribution to this.

The great interest in this year’s IGE seminar showed that climate and energy issues are moving people. The conclusion of the event was that much is already being done in many areas, but further efforts and innovative solutions are needed on the way to a sustainable energy and climate future - and the necessary experts.

19th IPI Seminar of the Institute of Building Services and Energy

March 15, 2023, Horw

The IGE seminar was held on Wednesday, March 15, 2023, with around 120 participants from the fields of architecture, energy and building services engineering, and related disciplines.
Other presentations on Room Acoustic Simulations (Tom Graf and Armin Taghipour, HSLU), Quality Compendium suissetec (Sina Büttner, HSLU), Cleanroom (Marie-Teres Moser, HSLU), Decarbonization using Thermal Networks (Markus Auer, HSLU).
Further information at:

Next realization

The 20th IPI Seminar will be held on Wednesday, March 13, 2024.