Swiss heat pumps for the Julian Alps

Press release, 06.06.2014

Switzerland is working in Slovenia within the framework of its enlargement contribution on two infrastructure projects in the field of energy. The realisation of such projects has led on the one hand to the building of new infrastructure – for example new solar panels, heat pumps or biomass boilers – and on the other to the creation of one single platform through which Swiss firms can enter the Slovenian market and forge contacts with local firms more easily. Switzerland is thus actively promoting the transfer of knowledge in the area of energy efficiency and fostering greater cooperation between Swiss and Slovenian project partners.

Heating plant Aubrugg
Heating plant Aubrugg © SECO

As part of the project "Renewable Energy Sources across the Alpine Land", a total of 14 official buildings in north-western Slovenia will be made more energy efficient by mid-2015. Through the installation of heat pumps, solar panels and biomass heating systems, Switzerland is helping to reduce greenhouse gases in the Julian Alps. The work will lead to an annual reduction in CO2 emissions of 717 tonnes. Furthermore, through this project alone Slovenia will save around 1,400 MW h per year in energy. Through a public procurement procedure a Swiss firm was awarded the contract to deliver heat pumps, which Slovenian partners had no problems installing and which are now operating smoothly. As a result, the enlargement contribution opened up a new market to the Swiss firm.

Transfer of knowledge through study trips to Switzerland

As part of the same project, 20 Slovenian businessmen and women – mostly architects and energy engineers – were given the opportunity to travel to Switzerland from 19 to 21 May 2014. The aim of this study trip was to bring back knowledge obtained in Switzerland to Slovenia, and involved viewing energy-efficient buildings and technologies and attending presentations by experts in their field. As part of this knowledge transfer the group visited the Richti development zone in Wallisellen – a new superstructure inspired by the 2,000 watt society – and the new e-science lab at the ETH Zurich. On the last day they were invited by a Swiss manufacturer of heat pumps to visit his production plant and the Tropenhaus in Frutigen. The group was particularly impressed by the innovative use of water from the Lötschberg tunnel and they appreciated the quality and sustainability of everything they saw. One of the participants, the CEO of an engineering firm from Maribor, expressed her opinion of Switzerland's engagement in the project as follows: "I am particularly proud of my participation in the project "Renewable Energy across the Alpine Land". This Swiss-funded programme allowed for the introduction of state-of-the-art and energy efficiency systems into local buildings."