The Swiss embassy in Seoul, South Korea, was demolished in 2014 and a temporary solution found. Since February 2019, the new embassy building has offered the opportunity to optimise sustainable working practices. From now on, energy will be generated from solar and geothermal sources.
Sustainability was the primary focus throughout the planning and implementation stages of the building project. Every effort was made during the construction of the new embassy in South Korea to use as little material as possible and to keep material transport distances to a minimum. In addition, the integrated planning approach adopted by the project, which took account of local conditions, included energy-efficient heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems.
Solar and geothermal energy
The embassy makes optimum use of all available renewable energy sources: the building is equipped with solar panels to generate electricity, while a thermal solar system meets the building's hot water requirements.
The embassy is also powered by geothermal energy via geothermal probes. A U-shaped pipe system filled with circulating thermal fluid is installed in a borehole in the ground. The probes extract heat from the ground and transfer it to a series of heat pumps. This geothermal technology provides the embassy with an additional source of renewable energy for everyday use. The solar and geothermal power that the embassy generates covers around 75% of its total energy needs.
When the idea was floated to invest in renewables, the timing seemed less than ideal, as electricity in South Korea is currently rather inexpensive. However, given that experts predict price rises in the near future, the proposed investment will quickly pay for itself. These comprehensive sustainability measures therefore make sound financial sense.