The winners of the 2013 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 10 January 2013 in Bern. The following projects were chosen to receive the various awards (all of which are of equal value):
Services Industriels de Genève SIG – éco 21 electricity saving programme and CPE energy performance agreement
Services Industriels de Genève (SIG) is focusing on saving energy. In the view of the Geneva-based energy supply company, energy efficiency is the most important, most available and most ecological energy source, as well as the most cost-effective. For the past five years, SIG has been firmly focusing its business model on energy efficiency. In the words of SIG's Cédric Jeanneret and Jean-Marc Zgraggen, "We purchase energy on the basis of our éco21 electricity saving programme and we sell it on the basis of our energy performance agreement (Contrat de performance énergétique, CPE)." SIG's clients save money thanks to more efficient electricity consumption, SIG itself is able to avoid the need to construct additional expensive networks and power plants, and at the same time new jobs are being created for energy efficiency specialists. The model for the future energy market in Geneva is clearly a successful one.
"Energy technologies" category
Joulia SA – energy-saving shower tray thanks to heat recovery
When we take a shower, enormous quantities of energy literally disappear down the drain. Each year, up to 1,000 kilowatt hours (or around 200 Swiss francs) per household are wasted in this way. But now this energy can be saved thanks to the Joulia system. The Joulia shower tray was developed and designed in Switzerland and is also produced here. It recovers heat (and thus energy) from shower water as it flows down the drain, and uses it to heat up cold water. This means that less hot water is taken from the boiler, so that the energy requirement for showering is reduced by more than one-third. As Silvana Ripa, CEO of Joulia SA, explains: "Our customers are highly pleased with the Joulia system, which is also very elegant. Those who understand the principle are full of praise for the system. Joulia is suitable for use in new buildings as well as for retrofitting, and can simply be installed in place of a conventional shower tray. The only additional action that needs to be taken concerns the installation of the heat exchanger. Furthermore, the resulting reduction of hot water consumption also has an influence on other household systems: for example, a smaller boiler can be installed". Joulia: a revolutionary and elegant way of saving energy in the bathroom.
"Energy technologies" category, special award: export
Maschinenfabrik Rieter AG – "ECOrized" suction tube for ring spinning machines
In the fairytale, Sleeping Beauty spun yarn by hand, promptly pricked herself in the finger with the spindle and fell into a deep sleep for a hundred years. Today, spinning is carried out by huge machines, which produce ever greater quantities of yarn for the expanding international textile market and consume an enormous amount of energy. For many years now, the most energy-efficient spinning machines in the world have been manufactured by Swiss engineering company Rieter AG in Winterthur, which has now succeeded in reducing the energy consumption of its machines by a further ten percent thanks to its development of "ECOrized", an innovative suction tube. With this device it would be possible to save more than six billion kilowatt hours of electricity throughout the world, which is more than the annual consumption in the cantons of Aargau and Solothurn. As the members of Rieter's research and development team – which is already working on the next innovation – point out, "All this has been made possible thanks to the development of a very small plastic component."
"Renewable energies" category
This year the jury did not select a winner in the Renewable Energy category. Member of the jury and former national councillor Robert Keller explains why: "There were some very good entries in this category, but, in the same way as in sport, a good performance is no longer sufficient to win a medal. What is required is an outstanding performance. In the past few years the jury has been somewhat spoilt by the large number of excellent projects, but it has now become more demanding. We do not want to honour the same or similar innovations that were acclaimed last year. While we are pleased to note that initiatives that have been awarded the Watt d'Or in previous years are now being replicated many times over – after all, that is one of the main objectives of the award – in the view of the jury, excellence calls for genuine innovation and uniqueness (i.e. a true pioneering spirit)." Robert Keller will be serving on the jury for the last time in 2013 after completing a term of office of seven years.
"Energy-efficient mobility" category
PostAuto Schweiz AG – fuel cell vehicles
Postauto Schweiz AG consumes around 39 million litres of diesel each year in order to transport its more than 120 million passengers. This costs a lot of money, is a burden on the environment and, in view of the uncertain development of the price of this type of fossil fuel, represents a corporate risk that should not be underestimated. It is therefore hardly surprising that Postauto Schweiz AG wants to make its fuel consumption more efficient and more ecological in the future. As a first step in this direction it has initiated a five-year trial period with five fuel-cell powered buses in the region of Brugg. Daniel Landolf, member of the SwissPost group executive board and head of the PostBus division: "While climate change, the growing scarcity of natural resources and rising energy costs pose new challenges, they also open up new opportunities. And PostAuto Schweiz AG intends to exploit these. With this project, PostAuto is demonstrating its capacity to trial and implement new technologies."
"Buildings and space" category
CREDIT SUISSE AG – Uetlihof 2 office complex
With Uetlihof 2, the expansion of its office complex in the south of the city of Zurich which it has occupied since 1976, Credit Suisse is setting new standards. The new complex comprising nine storeys and 38,000 square metres of office space is the largest building in Switzerland to be constructed in accordance with the "Minergie-P-Eco" standard. It has been awarded a special label for an outstanding indoor climate, and thanks to the successful optimisation of production (or "grey") energy and an ecological mobility concept, it also meets the targets of the "2,000-watt society". Uetlihof 2 was above all designed with people in mind. With its healthy indoor climate, high degree of energy efficiency and innovative "smart working" concept, it offers extremely attractive working conditions for around 2,500 employees. As Markus Nater, head of ecological management for the region of Switzerland at Credit Suisse, explains: "Our main aim was to offer our employees the best possible working conditions, but of course we are especially pleased to have also succeeded in realising a flagship project for energy efficiency and environmental protection. Each time we took a decision in favour of the best, but often more expensive, solution we asked ourselves, ‘Is it really necessary?' And in most cases we came to the conclusion that the answer was ‘Yes', because it represented the best solution for the future."
"Buildings and space" category
Green Datacenter AG – energy efficient data processing centre with high-voltage direct current technology
Our modern-day world functions to a large extent thanks to data that are stored in computer centres and sent around the entire globe in fractions of a second. Data transmission via computer centres is constantly growing and an ever increasing number of such centres are being constructed. In 2011, Green Datacenter AG opened a highly advanced and energy-efficient data centre in Lupfig (canton of Aargau), which may be regarded as a showcase for Swiss clean technology in that it uses high-voltage direct current technology developed by ABB Switzerland. Thanks to the elimination of voltage conversion and heat losses, it consumes 20 percent less electricity and thus sets new standards. Franz Grüter, CEO of Green Datacenter AG: "We have a strong commercial interest in reducing our data centre's electricity consumption, since this represents an essential competitive advantage for us. The actual producers of the clean technology are ABB, HP and Cofely AG, who supplied the most advanced and efficient solutions. We have ‘merely' acted as an early adapter, but this is something that is needed in the cleantech innovation cycle in order to be able to demonstrate how data centres have to be constructed in today's world."