The “Decarbonizer” approach to climate-neutral sites

Sources of renewable energy are often location specific and limited in terms of their production potential. The “Decarbonizer” is a tool that helps planners to develop reliable strategies for decarbonizing heating systems and achieving carbon-free and cost-effective solutions for entire sites.

The effective implementation of Switzerland’s Energy Strategy 2050 and the achievement of carbon neutrality within the specified reference period will require considerable action on the part of real-estate owners and developers. After all, the existing stock of buildings in Switzerland accounts for 24 percent of total carbon emissions and 50 percent of primary-energy consumption.

“Switzerland’s building stock accounts for a considerable share of total energy consumption.”

Digitalizing energy supply and demand

We developed the Decarbonizer, a tool for the holistic planning of future-ready heating and cooling systems, in a design sprint (more information at: Working together with our client, we arrived at a shared target definition early in the development process and then created a prototype that met all of the relevant specifications. The product’s functionality was then demonstrated in the context of extensive testing.

Decarbonizer T-1

The tool focuses on the following three input variables to establish a basis for modeling the energy needs of a given building or site: usage; year of construction; and usable floor space. Depending on the application, the resulting models reflect an annual, monthly, or hourly load profile.

“The three variables of usage, year of construction, and usable floor space suffice to model the energy needs of a given property.”

In addition to energy needs, the Decarbonizer also detects the availability of sustainable sources of energy in the vicinity; GIS analyses are run to locate groundwater, surface water, sources of urban waste heat (e.g. from cooling processes), and geothermal energy. Undeveloped areas such as meadows and outdoor sports facilities are also automatically detected and measured. With additional information on permissible drilling depths, the program generates a readout of the available energy sources.

Energy density map and overview of available sources of energy (for middle image)

Profitable exploitation of renewable energy

“The Decarbonizer’s versatility enables reliable analyses of site-specific energy availability and corresponding demand,” says Dr. Jimeno Fonseca, expert in the area of sustainable building at EBP.

“The difficulty is often the location-dependent and quantitatively limited availability of renewable energy. At which sites will it be profitable or cost effective to tap into the available sources of energy? Our method answers this question for us.”

Decarbonizer T-3

Overview of what the Decarbonizer can offer:

  • Assessments of the feasibility of exploiting carbon-neutral sources of geothermal energy
  • Economic analyses of various heating-system models
  • Optimized geographical demarcation of geothermal networks (with a focus on energy availability)
  • Building-specific full-cost accounting for district and local systems
  • Assessment of / recommendation for regeneration obligations in zones with local arrays of geothermal probes

Client support

We would be delighted to support you in your efforts to achieve a climate-neutral and cost-effective supply of energy for your site or your entire real-estate portfolio.

Project team

Richard Meyer

Anne Wegmann

Mario Bucher

Philipp Deflorin

Milena Krieger