Environment & energy

The ETH Domain seeks to play a pioneering role in climate protection. The two Federal Institutes of Technology as well as the four research institutes have common goals in terms of environmental protection and, in providing their respective services, make the best possible use of the resources they require for their proper functioning.

The “Climate Package of the Federal Administration” adopted in 2019 (see below) set ambitious targets for the ETH Domain, especially as regards CO2 emissions. The ETH Domain institutions are seeking to play a pioneering role in climate protection. Numerous projects, measures and ideas have been proposed that are targeted on a swift reduction of CO2, emissions – whether in buildings, during research work or with regard to energy supplies.

Environmental policy

The environmental policy and targets form part of the environmental management system of the ETH Domain. The latter provides a global view of the whole “environment & energy” issue and hence a more effective way of pinpointing the challenges presented by Energy Strategy 2050 in the context of ETH Domain’s operation. The environmental policy and targets of the ETH Domain were drawn up jointly by the ETH Board together with the two Federal Institutes of Technology and the Domain’s four research institutes, based on the Confederation’s requirements.

More information on the Confederation’s website

The results of the various measures implemented in the environmental and energy fields, along with concrete examples, are published each year in the Annual Report of the ETH Board on the ETH Domain.

Environmental Policy

The environmental policy and the environmental targets are part of the ETH Domain’s environment management system. This enables the ETH Domain to obtain an integrative view of environment and energy issues and to meet the challenges of the Energy Strategy 2050 for the operation of the ETH Domain in an even better way. The ETH Domain’s environmental policy was drawn up by the ETH Board in cooperation with the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology ETH Zurich and EPFL, as well as the four research institutes PSI, WSL, Empa and Eawag, and it takes its bearings from the overriding precepts of the Confederation.

The ETH Domain fully acknowledges its long-term responsibility towards the environment. In their teaching and research, the institutions of the ETH Domain seek to achieve a leading global position in this area. All aspects of their services are provided in as environmentally responsible and resource-saving a manner as possible, and they act as role models in the construction and operation of their facilities. The following principles and fields of activity are defined in the ETH Domain’s environmental management policy:

The institutions of the ETH Domain meet all statutory requirements relating to the environment (legal compliance).
The institutions of the ETH Domain measure their use of resources and optimise them in terms of environmental impact.

  • The institutions of the ETH Domain construct and operate their buildings, infrastructure and green spaces in compliance with the principles of sustainable development.
  • The institutions of the ETH Domain promote sustainable transport.
  • The institutions of the ETH Domain take environmental concerns into account when choosing suppliers and partners.
  • Employees and students of the institutions of the ETH Domain behave in a proactive and environmentally responsible manner.
  • The institutions of the ETH Domain and the ETH Board prepare a full and transparent annual report on the measurements made, action taken and targets met. This report is made available to the public.

The ongoing development of environmental management in the ETH Domain is evaluated using the following indicators in particular:

  • Efficient energy usage in infrastructure, teaching and research.
  • Reduction of direct and indirect emissions (quantitative and qualitative indicators).
  • Efficient use of resources (water, paper, chemicals etc.).
  • Advanced waste management with a high proportion of recycling.

Exemplary Energy and Climate

By participating actively in the Confederation’s Exemplary Energy and Climate initiative since 2014, the ETH Domain is underlining its commitment to the implementation of Energy Strategy 2050.

The ETH Domain is targeting a 50% reduction in the CO2 emissions generated by buildings by 2030 relative to the 2006 figure. In concrete terms, the institutions are improving their energy efficiency by making greater use of photovoltaic technology and by reducing their food- and transport-related CO2 emissions; they have also created a special-purpose fund to finance climate protection measures in the construction field.

All information can be found in the Exemplary Energy and Climate annual report.

Photovoltaic electricity production

The Federal Council has requested the ETH Domain to make full use of its potential for generating photovoltaic electricity – put at 15.7 GWh/yr – by 2034. A working group made up of representatives from the ETH Domain institutions has been set up to draft the necessary measures to achieve this target and define subsequent steps. 

The overview below, which is updated annually, provides information on target achievement.

You may also be interested in these contents