Climate change and urbanization have led to overheating in cities throughout the world. No exception to the rule, the city of Zurich has commissioned EBP to examine ways of ensuring climate-smart solutions in the earliest stages of real-estate development.


As rising temperatures in our cities continue to have a negative impact on the health and well-being of their residents, it is important to bear in mind that cities can introduce measures in the planning stages of real-estate development projects to ensure a more favorable impact on their local climates. Indeed, far too little has been done in this area to date. Working together with the Zurich City Planning Office (CPO), EBP has now launched a pilot project to examine ways of addressing this growing concern.

Massnahmen und Einflussnahme durch Bauherrin entlang der SIA-Phasen (Quelle EBP, 2019)
Real-estate developer introduces measures in accordance with guidelines issued by the Swiss Society of Engineers and Architects (Source: EBP, 2019)

Climate-relevant opportunities in project development

Every year, the Zurich CPO oversees between 20 and 40 architectural-design competitions and planning-firm calls to tender. The decisions that are made in the context of these procedures (e.g. concerning building orientation, green-space allocation, materials selection, and façade design) are certain to have a significant impact on the city’s climate. In our project, we examined what can be done in general in the area of project planning to achieve climate-smart solutions. We also accompanied the organizers of a two-stage design competition for a prominent development project (Triemli-Goldacker) to assess specific efforts to integrate urban-climate concerns into the competition process.

Begrünte Fassade kühlt die warme Luft des Strassenraums (Provisorium Migros Kreuzplatz; Quelle: EBP, 2019)
Green façade cools warm air rising up from the street space (Temporary Migros Store at Kreuzplatz; Source: EBP, 2019)

Climate-smart development at the Triemli-Goldacker site

The open and anonymous design competition for the Triemli-Goldacker project was carried out in two stages by the Zurich CPO on behalf of the developer, the Zurich-based Sonnengarten building cooperative. The selection criteria included a climate-smart development proposal.

In a preliminary review, we assessed the submitted proposals in terms of their expected impact on the city’s climate (e.g. local air circulation and heat development). Our findings were then made available to the jury. The winning proposal, submitted by an architectural consortium consisting of StudioBoA & Amadeo Linke, was lauded by the jury for its climate-smart concept.

Modellierung der lokalklimatischen Auswirkung von Projektbeiträgen (geo-net, 2019)
Model showing expected impact of project realization on the local climate (geo-net, 2019)

Co-financing: Zurich CPO, federal funding and BaslerFonds

The pilot project was financed by the Zurich CPO, a federal funding program for climate-smart solutions, and EBP through the instrument of its BaslerFonds.

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