The winners of the 2012 Watt d'Or awards have been chosen! This year's trophies were presented to the winners on the occasion of the Swiss Federal Office of Energy's New Year's event that was held on 5 January 2012 in Bern. The following projects were chosen to receive the various awards (all of which are of equal value):
St Gallen "2050 Energy Concept Cubed"
With its "2050 Energy Concept Cubed" (EnK3 2050) and a geothermal energy project, the city of St Gallen is paving the way for the third dimension of the future energy supply. The integration of heating, electricity and mobility and their mutual dependencies forms the basis for the revamping of the city's energy supply. The aim here is that, thanks to renovation and the application of the latest standards for new buildings, by 2050 the overall energy demand for room heating and hot water will be halved and the proportion of fossil fuels will be reduced from the current level of 90 percent to less than 25 percent. One of the key components will be a geothermal power plant, the construction of which is to be initiated in 2012.
"Energy technologies" category
LED lighting system for Geneva Harbour
The lights around Geneva Harbour have been a special night-time feature of the city for more than a hundred years, but this attraction was facing the threat of extinction as a result of the ban on conventional light bulbs, which definitively enters into effect in autumn 2012. In view of this, the authorities of the City of Geneva responsible for energy, urban development and mobility decided to take action and developed a new type of LED lamp with the lighting properties of a conventional bulb. In November 2010, work commenced on the replacement of the 4,200 existing light bulbs with the system of LED lamps which received an award at the "International Exhibition of Inventions" in Geneva. The new lighting system is now producing the same warm glow as in the past, but consumes 90 percent less electricity.
"Renewable energies" category
Biomass Centre, Spiez
Waste wood plus organic waste = electricity, steam, heat and compost. The Biomass Centre in Spiez is turning this concept into reality: thanks to a cleverly conceived recycling system, Oberland Energie AG is now helping save hundreds of thousands of litres of heating oil and producing top quality compost. The Biomass Centre comprises a fermentation facility, a composting plant and a heating system that uses waste and residual wood, and was developed and constructed together with Dr. Eicher+Pauli AG.
"Energy-efficient mobility" category
Alpenluft waste disposal system
The air has suddenly become a lot cleaner in Zermatt: the world-famous tourist destination has introduced a brand new method of waste disposal which significantly reduces energy consumption as well as CO2 emissions and noise levels. The developer of this method, the newly formed System-Alpenluft AG, has come up with a waste disposal solution that is ideal for a mountain resort like Zermatt. Easily manoeuvrable energy-efficient electric side-loaders are used for transporting waste, and the electricity that is required for powering these vehicles is obtained from the two hydropower plants operated by Zermatt Electricity Works. Micro-compacting containers compress the waste immediately on site, and thus reduce the number of journeys required for unloading. The result is highly impressive: energy savings of 80 percent versus the conventional waste disposal method.
Flagship tourism project: Romantik Hotel Muottas Muragl
Since 1 January 2011, the Romantik Hotel Muottas Muragl, which is located above Samedan (canton of Grisons), has been supplying itself entirely with renewable energy, and thanks to a carefully conceived energy system it is also able to produce more energy than it consumes. It is the first "plus-energy" hotel in the Alps, and is thus a flagship project for the Swiss tourism sector. Together with the architects and engineers of Fanzun AG, the proprietor of the hotel – Bergbahnen Engadin St. Moritz AG – successfully implemented a comprehensive energy concept comprising solar collectors, use of waste heat from railway operations, a photovoltaics plant alongside the railway line, and geothermal sensors.
Energy pioneer Walter Schmid
In 2012 the jury awarded a special prize for the fourth time, which went to building contractor Walter Schmid for his lifetime work as an energy pioneer. For the past three decades, Walter Schmid has been implementing a broad variety of projects in the areas of energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy. For example, in the 1970s he built the first houses in Switzerland to be equipped with solar panels, wood-chip heating systems and heat pumps. He went on to construct the first office building with an integrated solar facade, and also built the first apartment house based on the "Minergie" standard. But his greatest achievement to date is his widely acclaimed development of a compost gas process for producing fuel from kitchen waste. His latest project concerns the "Umwelt Arena" in Spreitenbach, an exhibition and event complex that has been consistently optimised in terms of energy efficiency. For example, it includes one of the largest photovoltaics systems in Switzerland with an area of 5,300 square metres. The complex is to be completed in summer 2012.