Sonova Has Built its First Zero-Energy Office in Switzerland


Image Source: Google

Climate change and global warming are some of the most pressing problems bothering the world especially for the last couple of decades. Energy is largely consumed by residential and commercial buildings. The major reason behind this drastic increase in energy consumption yearly is the increase in human comfort needs and services.

Different factors have an impact on the energy consumption for cooling buildings such as window to wall ratio, wall structure, weather conditions, and building orientation. Reportedly, energy consumed by buildings makes up a large proportion of the global energy consumption. The way a building has been constructed as well as the way it is operated and ran significantly impacts the water usage and total energy of the world resources.

Taking steps to mitigate the effects of climate change would require changes at a massive level. Fortunately, examples of such changes surface time and again. One recent example is the zero-energy office building that opened in Murten, Switzerland.

Image Source: Google

The company is Sonova, a hearing solutions provider, and they have built an office building made up of reusable and renewable materials. The building aka Wireless Competence Centre, according to Sonova, operates carbon-neutrally and hardly requires any building services installations such as ventilation or heating systems. The building can accommodate around 180 employees.

Since the office has been made using reusable and renewable materials, the construction-related grey energy had been effectively reduced. The solid façade retains moisture and energy as it is made of a single wythe of climate-neutral manufactured blocks. As per the company, the building regulates itself largely by absorbing heat and then releases it again when it gets colder outside.

Sonova’s CEO, Arnd Kaldowski, says, “As one of Switzerland’s first zero-energy commercial properties, it is part of the world’s first generation of carbon-neutral buildings. This pioneering project is an excellent example of how we are continually reducing the environmental footprint of our business in line with our strategy.”

Controlled natural ventilation in the centre helps to maintain a healthy indoor climate. Moreover, pure lime putty on the ceilings and walls helps to purify the air indoors and regulates the atmospheric humidity. Instead of the ventilation ducts, the air is refreshed through the windows. Ventilation flaps on the windows help to circulate fresh air. The good thing is an ambient temperature between 21°C and 26°C can be maintained throughout the year.

A high amount of carbon-neutral and renewable electricity is produced precisely 260,000 kilowatt-hours of energy per year by the centre’s photovoltaic array. Since this is higher than that required to run the centre, so the surplus energy is sent back into the grid and is made available to other consumers.

Image Source: Google

The world saw the first energy-positive building named as Sustainable Energy Fund Office Building in Pennsylvania. The building has been constructed in a former apple orchard and takes a maximum of the sunshine including windows spaced and sized to receive optimal daylight.

The building’s photovoltaic array generates the necessary amount of energy required to operate the building which makes it a net-zero office design. The building quite eco-friendly to the earth and the building plans to generate more than 130 percent of the energy it requires while cutting back on the energy consumption by 75 percent.

One thing is for sure for humans to survive on the earth, it is important they learn ways of existence that are more environmentally friendly. For this, they need to come up with more solutions that show that they are conscious about the environment they breathe in.


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