We support the decarbonization of the construction sector (30% of Swiss emissions).

We do this by providing decision-making tools and strategies, including design for disassembly and materials/component reuse, to building authorities and designers, enabling a carbon-neutral, circular infrastructure by 2050.

René Steiger

Dr. René Steiger



The construction sector causes about 30% of the Swiss CO2 emissions and is therefore a primary target in the transition to circular, net-zero processes. In this sector, where CO2-heavy and high-volume construction materials such as concrete, steel and asphalt are commonly used, solutions towards net-zero are still in their infancy and require an integrated transdisciplinary approach.

In a road bridge case study, we investigate solutions for:

  • A reduction in the use of CO2-emitting materials (e.g. concrete, steel) through the use of advanced manufacturing processes and replacement with sustainable timber-based materials, by changing materials chemistry and processing, and by storing carbon in construction materials.
  • Material savings by using topologically optimized geometries for bridge components instead of conventional prismatic geometries.
  • Use of digitally fabricated formworks, serving as permanent parts of the structure and allowing for complex geometries.
  • Recycling of materials and reuse of components from torn-down structures as reinforcement, integrating them in newly built structures.

The goals of this Action Area include development of the following:

  • Requirements for bridge design and case studies for alternative designs.
  • Selection of suitable (sustainable & CO2-negative) construction materials and of optimized construction techniques, design for disassembly, and reuse.
  • Analysis of stakeholder networks, relevant coalitions, governance structures and potential for innovation.
  • Analysis of circularity performance of novel construction materials and concepts, and of benefits and potential trade-offs of reuse and recycling concepts in the construction sector.