The Energy in buildings research, pilot and demonstration programme was initiated by the Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE) in order to fill certain knowledge gaps in the area of efficient energy use in buildings, promote the further development of promising technologies and demonstrate the status of technology for more widespread application. It was conceived as a means of supplementing projects initiated by the private economy and public-sector research institutions. The implementation of energy efficiency measures should not be restricted to new buildings, since there is also considerable efficiency potential in the area of renovation of existing buildings. The duties and activities of the Energy in buildings research programme are as follows:
- Evaluation and supervision of applications for support for projects
- Subsidiary financial support
- Co-ordination with other research programmes (electricity, solar heat, etc.)
- Networking at the national and international levels (e.g. ERABUILD)
- Representation of research interests in the area of buildings on national committees and platforms (Swiss construction technology platform, Future construction of buildings in Switzerland platform, etc.)
The programme is primarily focusing on technologies with a longer-term orientation, though this does not mean it will ignore short-term and medium-term objectives.
The following objectives have been defined for the area of energy research by the Swiss Federal Energy Research Commission (CORE) in the federal government energy research concept for the period from 2008 to 2011:
- Concepts for buildings and housing developments concerning the development of construction methods that are compatible with the goal of a 2,000-watt society (preservation of architectural diversity, use of passive solar energy and daylight)
- Concepts, technologies and planning tools for the improvement of energy systems in buildings
- Heating, cooling and ventilation systems in buildings that are compatible with the goal of a 2,000-watt society (efficient cooling systems, heat pumps, etc.)
- Increase in efficient use of electricity in buildings (electricity requirements for cooling outside air, for internal airflow, for the use of automation in buildings and for lighting, etc.
- Innovative materials and components in the buildings sector (efficient heat insulation, vacuum glazing, photo-electrochromic glazing and retractable and adjustable glazing, etc.).