In one of the most delightful ways, I was invited to speak at the Swiss-US Energy Days in August, 2015. I was able to attend and share my opinion about green building policies and protocols (such as LEED) with specialists related to energy and buildings in Zurich, Switzerland.
It was a great gathering, and actually quite a few delegates from Massachusetts were able to attend.
Here are a few pictures; I can do a more extensive description later. It was a very good way for people to connect on this important topic. I re-established connections with Massachusetts legislators and non-profit leaders, and was able to develop connections to Swiss industry, academy and governmental agents focused on the “Energiewende” – the big energy shift that is going on in Central Europe among German-speaking countries.
The buildings are an important component of this and it was exciting to see what they have been working on.
Thank you to the Switzerland-Massachusetts technology exchange, the Swiss-US Chamber of Commerce, the various diplomatic corps, and the USGBC for enabling me to participate.
Here I am flying over. I feel like I arrived in the daytime, perhaps it was an overnight flight?
Looking down at a cute part of suburban Zurich:
Walking from the train stop in Zurich – I hopped a train from the airport but then decided to not take the transfer and just walk along the river. It was a lovely place, decently maintained park system, pleasant people.
After checking in, was directed to a nearby bar. The area was a recently-renovated former industrial area. I had a feeling that this pub had been there a long time. I would definitely like to go back.
At another reception, I caught up with the Massachusetts Senate leader, Marc Pacheco from Taunton, the south-coast area of MA. He has been a leader on a lot of great energy legislation and I was happy to actually meet him here – I never crossed paths in the States with him!
This was after a long day visiting three campuses to tour their green building technologies.
After the main reception, we returned to the hotel area and I finally connected with Emily Riechert – the CEO of Greentown Labs in Somerville. We had only met briefly in passing before. Now we have had a few drinks together. Hope to do more with USGBC and Greentown in the coming year!
Part of the program was at a technical university with this in-town location. It is a converted yogurt factory. I never imagined yogurt production at this scale. It is an enormous place! Great rooftop tough, for sure.
Here’s another shot from one of the tours of an R&D facility. This is a giant wind testing tube.
This is a site under construction, just outside of Zurich, where they are building a structure that can “house” different building typologies and envelope configurations. Like a bookshelving system for buildings. The core & floor here, then different components like pods, installed on the shelves. Then, they will test the units and have people live and work in them throughout the year.
I met this very helpful woman at the Siemens campus where we had another reception which included a poster session – many of their research projects were “shown off” and explained by the members of their team. Very cool place to have that much R&D going on. Great little hilltop location.
This was just some typical architecture in Zurich that I liked.
From the bus, I caught this little scene in a streetside cafe.
And here was the location of another of the receptions. Near the old yogurt factory; this seems to have been a heavier product line!
I met a new buddy, Eric from nearby Luzern, who is an architect. He took me out to a cool biergarten which is a collection of shipping containers. Very cool and hip. Great place with a “re-use” theme.
We had a pretty good time sampling the goods.
And soon my time in Zurich would be over. Here’s near the train station – actually, this might be the train station. I went from here to Bugarach, France, but that is another story!
[the events of this blog happened between 8/18 and 8/21/15, produced sometime shortly thereafter]