The Solar Energy and Building Physics Laboratory (LESO-PB) worked at the forefront of research and technological development in renewable energy, building science and urban physics from 1981 to 2022. It was part of the School of Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering (ENAC) of the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland.

Prof. Jean-Louis Scartezzini, Head EPFL Solar Energy and Building Physics Lab

The Laboratory was located on the EPFL campus in Lausanne where a staff of more than fourty scientists and technicians collaborated under the direction of Prof. Dr Jean-Louis Scartezzini and three group leaders.

The LESO-PB has acquired a solid national and international reputation in the academic world through the generation and transfer of advanced scientific knowledge geared to the requirements of the built environment and sustainable development.

The Laboratory worked on the implementation of advanced technology in buildings inspired by living organisms (bio-mimetic approach) and nano science, designs and sets up experimental equipment for renewable energy use (photovoltaics, daylighting, solar thermal design, etc.) and develops building operation strategies that optimise energy use and enhance indoor environment quality and health.

Its research activities took place on the one hand in the LESO experimental building and on the other in a laboratory in the GC building, where Dr Andreas Schueler and his group leader “Nanotechnology for Solar Energy Conversion” continue to conduct their research.

LESO-PB personnel tasks included teaching to undergraduate and postgraduate students of architecture, civil and environmental engineering, physics as well as other EPFL sections, who could choose to do their Bachelor or Master thesis at the Laboratory. Dr Andreas Schueler continues to dispense all teaching in building physics and has recently received the Polysphere Award for best teacher of ENAC.

Scientific activities of the LESO-PB included basic and applied research in the following fields:

• Intensive use and perception of daylight
• Indoor environment quality and health
• Complex urban systems
• Smart buildings / Smart cities
• Renewables integration in the urban environment
• Nanotechnology for solar energy applications

Research was carried out in the context of national and international collaboration with renowned academic institutions and industrial partners (National Research Programmes, European Framework Programmes, International Energy Agency). Results were widely published in scientific journals.

Transfer of novel technology and scientific knowledge to practice was ensured through publications, postgraduate courses, industrial applications (patents and spin-off companies) and development of software for design and analyses in the domain of building science, urban physics as well as renewable energy.

Furthermore, the scientific equipment and expertise of the LESO-PB were called on in the framework of industrial and academic partnerships.

Every two years, the Laboratory organised the CISBAT Conference, an international platform for the presentation of advances in sustainable building, now carried on by Smart Living Lab.

And once every month, the public was invited to a Leso Lunchtime Lecture on subjects related to the Lab’s activities and interests.

Annual activity reportsPublications