The winners of the 2015 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 8 January 2015 in Bern. The following projects were chosen to receive the various awards (all of which are of equal value):
Lighthouse – Energy-efficient hotels in the canton of Grisons
More than a hundred years ago, the hotels in the canton of Grisons were pioneers in the electrification of Switzerland. And this canton is again setting a shining example today: with its "Lighthouse" project aimed at promoting energy efficiency in hotels, hotelleriesuisse Grisons is sending a signal to the entire country in favour of increased energy efficiency in the tourism sector. In the "Society" category, Watt d'Or 2015 was awarded to hotelleriesuisse Grisons and Gustav Lorenz, the leading light behind the project.
"Energy technologies" category
The electricity distribution network is approaching the limits of its capacity. It was originally designed for the end distribution of electricity into buildings, but now has to handle an increasing quantity of locally produced solar power, as well as meet the requirements of new products such as electric cars. Expanding the network is one potential solution, while another concerns the use of "smarter" networks. However, the conventional smart grid concept is too costly and places high demands on data protection. But now, a unique innovation from the canton of Ticino that is based on artificial intelligence demonstrates that this problem could be solved at considerably lower cost and with a higher level of security: a self-learning algorithm integrated directly into appliances and systems that autonomously maintains the load balance in the local network. In the "Energy technologies" category, Watt d'Or 2015 was awarded to Scuola universitaria professionale della Svizzera italiana (University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Southern Switzerland) for its development of this technology, and to the Alpiq InTec Group, which is responsible for its overall industrialisation and will be bringing the new products onto the market in 2015 under the brand name, GridSense.
"Renewable energies" category
Swisscom Wankdorf Data Center xDC
The computer centre that was put into operation by Swisscom in October 2014 in Bern-Wankdorf is one the most secure, modern, and above all energy-efficient facilities of its kind in Europe. The cooling system exclusively utilises outside air and rainwater, which means that no electromechanical refrigeration machines and environmentally harmful refrigerants are used at all. The waste heat is fed into the new district heating system of the city of Bern, and is thus used for heating buildings in the immediate vicinity. On top of this, an innovative emergency power supply system has been installed that eliminates the need for batteries. For this pioneering project, Swisscom AG and RZintegral AG were awarded the Watt d'Or 205 in the "Renewable energies" category.
"Energy-efficient mobility" category
AHEAD – Advanced Hybrid Electric Autobus Design
The diesel-electric hybrid buses manufactured by Carrosserie Hess AG are looking towards the energy future in just one direction: AHEAD. The "Advanced Hybrid Electric Autobus Design" (AHEAD) technology developed by the Institute for Dynamic Systems and Control (IDSC) at the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich introduces intelligence into buses. With this technology, buses can be configured for optimal energy efficiency and economic viability. With the aid of this innovative energy management system, buses are able to actively "learn" routes, which results in the extremely energy-efficient control of drive elements, and reduces fuel consumption by approximately 25 percent. Watt d'Or 2015 was awarded to Carrosserie Hess AG and the IDSC in the "Energy-efficient mobility" category.
"Buildings and space" category
wellnessHostel4000 and Aqua Allalin & new youth hostel building in Gstaad, Saanenland
The Swiss Youth Hostels organisation is riding a wave of success despite the difficult situation currently facing Switzerland as a tourism destination. One of its recipes for success is that it consistently focuses on sustainability in its ultra-modern buildings. With an outstanding level of energy efficiency, comfort and design, combined with affordable prices, this 90-year-old organisation belongs to the avant-garde of the Swiss tourism industry. In the "Buildings and space" category, the 2015 Watt d'Or was awarded to the Swiss Foundation for Social Tourism (SSST) as developer of Swiss Youth Hostels, the Civic Community of Saas-Fee and Steinmann & Schmid Architekten (Basel) for wellnessHostel4000 and Aqua Allalin, and to the SSST and Bürgi Schärer Architektur und Planung AG (Bern) for the new youth hostel building in Gstaad, Saanenland.
Special "Education" award
your+ – Solar Decathlon Europe 2014 - Team Lucerne-Suisse
A competition and a bright idea led to the initiation of this project, which culminated in the construction of a truly exceptional building. Seventy students from the Department of Technology and Architecture at the University of Lucerne decided to take up the challenge of participating in Solar Decathlon Europe 2014. The project lasted more than three years and was brought to a successful conclusion in the Park of Versailles Palace, near Paris, in July 2014. The concept chosen by the students for their house of the future was to "share space, objects and processes in order to live more socially, more ecologically, more economically and more enjoyably". The Watt d'Or 2015 was awarded to the Lucerne-Suisse team from the University of Lucerne in the special "Education" category for their outstanding achievement.