Comfort conditioning (space heating & cooling) and hot water supply are intrinsic engineering services of modern built environment elevating the living standards and healthy living of people. Moreover, application of mechanical thermal conditioning allows expanding livable space enabling people to inhabit areas with harsh climatic conditions.

It is well documented that hot water production, space cooling & heating, and ventilation in commercial buildings account for 50% of the total energy use in developed countries, while it reaches 57% in residential buildings. It is apparent that thermal engineering services in buildings are energy expensive, and they use up to 50% of energy delivered to buildings. Therefore, in the global race towards reducing the energy use and carbon footprint of buildings while complying with increasingly stringent energy and indoor environmental quality standards, development of thermal systems balancing between maximum efficiency and minimum energy use for sustainable living and working environment is more vital than ever. It is especially relevant for Switzerland due to the national goal to achieve 2000-Watt Society by 2050 reducing the primary energy consumption of buildings and related greenhouse gas emissions.

TEBEL contributes to the overall energy goal of the Swiss and global society and the advancement of thermal engineering for the built environment by undertaking a holistic approach – examining the entire chain of energy conversion starting from the primary resources to the final use by occupants in the buildings. The active research areas are the following:

  • Water-energy nexus approach at the building and district level
  • Harvesting of the waste heat at the building and district level
  • Indoor thermal comfort and low exergy conditioning technologies
  • Understanding the demand profile by examining the drivers behind occupants behavior as well as how people interact with their building and engineering services in the occupant-centered built environment equipped with smart devices.