Campus Mythenquai: our commitment to the 2000-Watt Society

Can people halve their energy consumption and still live and work comfortably? Yes, they can, with intelligent investments in cutting-edge technology. This is why we support the concept of the 2000-Watt Society and play our part in the development of a new associated standard in Switzerland.

The 2000-Watt Society is considered an effective approach to tackling climate change and mitigating the risk of future conflicts over scarce resources. Twenty years ago, this vision was developed at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich. It is a model for an energy policy that demonstrates how to consume only as much energy as worldwide reserves permit in the long run but without lowering the quality of life. The core idea is for every person in every society to limit their energy consumption to a maximum of 2000 watts per day – about what the average Swiss consumed in the 1960s. Today, the figure in Switzerland is three times as high, while people in some Asian and African countries consume a fraction of it.

The role of sustainable planning and construction

In Switzerland and other countries, a growing number of buildings has been constructed using methods in line with the principle of the 2000-Watt Society. Reducing overall energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions have been the key goals. Buildings able to meet them are made of recycled concrete, for example, and are perfectly insulated in accordance with the MINERGIE-P-ECO standard. This not only provides maximum energy efficiency but other advantages such as optimal natural lighting and internal spaces free of toxic substances. Furthermore, at least 75% of energy use must be covered from renewable sources. Additional measures focus on sustainable means of transportation and commuting.

Our Campus Mythenquai strategy

In 2008, when Swiss Re decided to build Swiss Re Next, it was a commitment to the city of Zurich as well as to the Mythenquai location as our headquarters. In 2014, the Group Executive Committee reinforced this commitment through the Campus Mythenquai strategy, which centres on accommodating all our Switzerland-based employees (currently about 3300) in this area. Various renovation and restructuring work has since been completed, mainly at the Altbau, Escher House and Lavater House buildings. In autumn 2017, Swiss Re Next was opened; in 2020, the new staff restaurant Klubhaus will go live; and, in 2025, the completion of the new building Mythenquai 20–28 will bring the strategy to its conclusion.

A "2000-Watt Site in transformation"

Based on the renovation and construction of these six buildings, we seek to obtain the certificate of a "2000-Watt Site in transformation" for our Campus Mythenquai – a new concept focusing on sites that combine the construction of new buildings with the renovation of existing ones to achieve their ambitious sustainability goals. Swiss Re has been invited to take part in the Swiss pilot that is developing this new standard within the 2000-Watt Society concept, under the sponsorship of the Swiss Federal Office of Energy. Grounded in our long-standing commitment to sustainability in general and sustainable planning and constructing in particular, we have achieved excellent results in all the required criteria and expect to be certified as a "2000-Watt Site in transformation" in the second quarter of 2019.