The new NEST unit is slowly taking shape

The new NEST unit is slowly taking shape

The building work on the new Solar Fitness & Wellness unit is making steady progress. From August onwards, users will be able to enthusiastically indulge their sporting passions and then afterwards no less enthusiastically relax and recover from their efforts.

Walls are springing up from the ground, a complete staircase swings overhead and drone buzzes around filming the activity. What seems like the set from a fantasy film is in fact the construction work for the new unit of NEST, the modular research building on the Empa campus in Duebendorf.

Solar Fitness & Wellness, as the new unit is named, is slowly taking shape. Mark Zimmermann, whose brainchild the unit is, says: «We are on schedule with the building work.» The next step is the attachment of the outer walls, following which the facade will be put in place and the interior finished. After the summer holidays, the first Empa and Eawag staff members will be able to enjoy all the benefits the new unit offers.

One of the focal points of the project is the users of the new sports facility. The aim is to offer staff the opportunity to do something for their own health and fitness while at work. «One of our aims is to increase the attractiveness of Empa as a place of work», adds Zimmermann. Much more important, however, is the intention to make the wellness and fitness facility as self-sustaining as possible. To this end, the energy expended by fitness fans using the Solar Fitness & Wellness unit will be used to generate electricity, and the wellness zone will be powered exclusively with solar energy. An innovative wellness technique will also be in operation - a high temperature CO 2 heat pump will provide heat for the sauna and steam bath three times more efficiently than conventional systems. «I particular like this unit because it combines a serious energy research project with an extremely pleasant application», comments Mark Zimmermann. All the facilities are located within a small area and yet the user is never made to feel claustrophobic.