ETH Zurich has laid out in its energy concept how it intends to move towards a new energy future. The concept was developed in 2012 by a working group made up of students, professors, administrative staff and operational representatives, under the leadership of ETH Zurich's previous Environmental Officer Dominik Brem.
Conflicts of interest
A university like ETH Zurich is subject to various conflicts of interest when it comes to energy. These are directly referred to in the energy concept, for example:
- Growth and development versus the use of energy
- The global outlook of ETH Zurich versus the CO2 emissions related to mobility
- Technical feasibility versus funding
When it comes to decision-making on conflicts of interest of this kind, the Executive Board is advised by a group of experts.
Areas requiring specific measures
The energy concept also defines seven areas requiring specific measures:
- Research: Measures include supporting fundamental and interdisciplinary research and expanding research expertise in the field of energy.
- Education: Measures include supporting student research projects on energy-related matters, strengthening interdisciplinary education and encouraging critical debate on energy-related topics.
- Increasing awareness among members of ETH Zurich: Measures include supporting energy-saving behaviour by increasing awareness and introducing incentive systems.
- New buildings and renovations: Measures include setting technical energy specifications for proposed renovations and the standards for new buildings, attaching great weight to sustainability criteria (especially energy efficiency) in tendering exercises, and sponsoring flagship and pilot projects.
- Operating the infrastructure: Measures include safeguarding the energy supply for ETH Zurich, supporting the production of renewable energies and increasing the proportion of renewable energy in the energy mix at ETH Zurich.
- Mobility: Measures include finding alternatives (e.g. video conferences) for international networking, cutting back on flights and encouraging environmentally-friendly commuting to ETH Zurich and between ETH campuses.
- Reporting and communication: Measures include carrying out cost-efficient energy control at the appropriate level and publishing key energy statistics every year.
The working group also defined specific developmental trajectories that are appropriate to university operations (see downloads). These should be achieved by implementing the measures in the various fields of activity – always taking account of any conflicts of interest and in line with what is technically and economically feasible at ETH Zurich.