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Buildings and their construction, are responsible for about 40 percent of global CO2 emissions. New buildings as well as the maintenance and renovation of existing ones require energy and make demands on scarce resources, such as land, water and construction materials. Environmentally friendly construction is thus becoming ever more important. ETH Zurich includes sustainable construction as part of its strategic focus in teaching and research.
With its donation to the ETH Zurich Foundation, the Holcim Group is supporting the creation of an endowed chair for sustainable construction. Holcim is undertaking this project as part of its 100th anniversary. As a global producer of cement, aggregates, such as crushed stone, sand and gravel, and ready-mix concrete, Holcim recognizes the need to improve sustainable construction through innovative processes, thereby reducing CO2 emissions and energy consumption.
"Support for this endowed chair by Holcim allows ETH to increase its research capacity in a key area into the long term", says Ralph Eichler, President of ETH Zurich. "Now we can increase the pace of urgently needed research in this area. The construction industry will also benefit from these efforts."
Bernard Fontana, CEO of Holcim Ltd, comments: "There is enormous potential in this area, and I am convinced that future generations will be able to construct buildings in a much more environmentally conscious way thanks to innovative methods and processes. We hope that this new professorship will be heavily involved in finding and disseminating solutions for optimized resource usage that can be implemented quickly."
Guillaume Habert has been named as the new professor of Sustainable Construction. The 35-year-old French citizen is currently working as a research engineer at the Université Paris-Est in France. His previous research has dealt with the evaluation of concrete sustainability and the development of innovative bonding agents for use in construction. In addition, he has been working on the life cycle assessment of individual buildings and urban areas. Guillaume Habert will assume his duties at ETH Zurich in the summer of 2012.
The new professorship will be established in the Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering. It thus supplements existing endowed chairs or open positions in the Departments of Architecture and Materials Science. A common aspect they share is that they strengthen the strategic area of sustainable construction at ETH.
In 2006, ETH was able to establish an Assistant Professorship of Sustainable Construction thanks to support from the Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction. That chair, which was limited to six years, will now be replaced by the full professorship. This new chair compliments the activities of the globally active independent Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction, which has collaborated successfully with ETH Zurich and other renowned universities for the past decade.
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