Transforming the construction sector

Ersatzneubau der Wohnsiedlung Werdwies, Zürich Altstetten
Replacement building of the Werdwies residential complex in Zurich Altstetten | Image: Laurence Bonvin, Genf

The co-creation lab on “Sustainable Housing & Construction” combines sector-wide decarbonisation with demand-side scenarios.

Our shared vision for sustainable housing and construction is a healthy settlement that is built and maintained without the use of fossil fuels (carbon neutral), maximises resource efficiency (circular economy) and provides sufficient affordable housing for all people in Switzerland (inclusivity).

To this end, the NRP 73 Co-Creation Lab (CCL) “Sustainable Housing & Construction” offers a platform for debate and knowledge exchange. The core focus of the CCL is on the transformation of the construction sector combining the decarbonisation of the cement, concrete and construction industry with demand-side scenarios for example by reducing the demand for new housing. The specific aims are to:

  • Provide orientation by framing the challenges and envisioning strategies for the transition process.
  • Define a strategy and propose actions that prepare the ground for achieving the vision.
  • Initiate transition experiments such as participatory research projects (living labs), testing business model innovations and incentive schemes.

In phase one, we will collate and map the scientific knowledge from NRP 73 research projects and derive technology and demand-side scenarios. Thereafter, in a thorough process of co-creation with stakeholders, we will develop a roadmap for the transition towards sustainable construction and housing. In the third phase, we plan to initiate transition experiments.

In 2022, we plan to organise a workshop series starting with an initial expert workshop on the question “Can we reach net zero for housing by 2050 with today’s strategies?”. The following workshops will focus on two different stakeholder groups and will be designed accordingly:

  • Track 1: Reducing housing demand – Sharing spaces to reduce the environmental footprint of housing, addressing experts from urban planning, architecture, real estate development and finance as well as housing cooperatives.
  • Track 2: Transforming construction industries – How will construction industries create added value in a net zero built environment? Addressing stakeholders from building material and construction industries, real estate and infrastructure development.

Susanne Kytzia from the Ostschweizer Fachhochschule (OST) and Philippe Thalmann from the EPF Lausanne co-lead the co-creation lab. They are supported by a team of researchers and experts including Guillaume Haber from ETH Zurich, who was involved in the NRP 71 research project “Low energy concrete”, and other NRP 73 experts Bernhard Truffer and Eva Lieberherr from the “Modular Water Infrastructures” project, Tobias Welz from the “Sustainable Public Procurement” project, Patrick Wäger from “Post-fossil cities” as well as Esther Thürig, project leader of “Mainstreaming Forest Ecosystem Services”.

For communication and outreach, the CCL will use existing platforms such as The Cement Transition Initiative and Beton 2030.

Further information on this content



Prof. Dr. Susanne Kytzia Institut für Bau und Umwelt, Hochschule für Technik Rapperswil Oberseestrasse 1 8640 Rapperswil-Jona +41 55 222 49 17


Prof. Dr. Philippe Thalmann Institut d’architecture et de la ville, EPF Lausanne EPFL ENAC IA LEURE
Station 16
1015 Lausanne +41 21 693 73 21