The majority of awards at the 2019 Solar Prize ceremony in Geneva have gone to positive energy buildings, which generate more energy than they consume.
Nineteen of the 36 awards by the Swiss Solar Agencyexternal link went to positive energy buildings in 16 cantons. These buildings can produce up to seven times more zero-emission energy than they consume, the organizer said.
Award winners include a housing estate with 32 apartments in Tobel, in northeast Switzerland, which produces 82% more energy than it uses, and where rents are 20% cheaper than comparable housing. Other winners include various positive energy buildings and renovations.
The Swiss Solar Agency, an NGO which promotes solar energy in Switzerland, says CHF10 billion ($10 billion) could be invested each year in the Swiss construction sector instead of being spent on fossil fuel imports. Positive energy buildings point the way to clean energy, according to the NGO.
Only one in a hundred houses per year are renovated to make them more energy efficient, according to a recent report by the Swiss National Science Foundationexternal link. “This is less than half the number needed to achieve the goals of the Energy Strategy 2050 for buildings,” it says. “The necessary technologies are available, but there is a lack of appropriate planning, building and energy laws, as well as of expertise.”