Innovation of the HiLo unit to win ’Watt d’Or’

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The team around ETH professor Arno Schlüter developed the innovative adaptive so
The team around ETH professor Arno Schlüter developed the innovative adaptive solar façade, for which they received the prestigious ’Watt d’Or’ award on January 12, 2023. Image: ©BFE2023

On 12 January 2023, the Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE) awarded the prestigious Swiss energy prize "Watt d’Or" for the 16 time. Among the four winning projects is an innovation developed as part of the NEST unit HiLo.

The "Watt d’Or" award ceremony took place yesterday evening at the Congress Center "Kursaal" in Bern. The aim of the award is to highlight exceptional achievements in the energy sector to show the industry, politics and the public the advantages of innovative energy technologies.

In total, 39 submissions were received for the "Watt d’Or". An expert jury chaired by National Councilor Susanne Vincenz-Stauffacher evaluated them and nominated 17 projects for the final round. In Bern, the jury finally selected the winning projects in four categories.

The winner of the category Buildings and Spatial Development is the adaptive solar façade developed by the Chair of Architecture and Building Systems at ETH Zurich as part of the HiLo project. HiLo is an office unit in NEST, the research and innovation building of Empa and Eawag. The façade consists of lightweight, movable solar modules mounted on a substructure. Thanks to an intelligent control system, they automatically follow the sun and optimize electricity harvest. Depending on the outside temperature, they can either offer shading or let as much sunlight as possible into the room. The startup Zurich Soft Robotics is now working on bringing the innovation to market under the product name Solskin.