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Monte Rosa hut, © Barbara Wülser

The new Monte Rosa-Hut (2883 m. above sea level) is a joint project of the Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zürich and the Swiss Alpine Club (SAC). The hut's architecture is exceptional and the hut serves as an example of energy and resource efficiency.

I Description of the measure

Title in original language: Neue Monte Rosa-Hütte SAC

Location of CNA: Switzerland

Municipality / regional entity: Zermatt

Category of the experience: Measure
Type(s) of CNA:

Principal nomination: Technological

Thematic field(s):

Principal field: Buildings & construction

Spatial scale: Local
Time & duration:

Start date: September 2009 official opening / March 2010 open for the public
Duration: Operational

Key word(s): Design, Energy-efficient building, Innovation


A milestone in building in high mountain areas: latest technologies, sophisticated design (the hut resembles a rock crystal), excellent energy and environmental standards. Sets new standards, sustainable from the point of view of energy and ecology, exemplary design and technology.


Latest energy and building technologies to achieve the highest possible autarchy level. Electricity: photovoltaic unit. Energy surplus is stored in batteries. Back-up für heating und electricity: thermal plant Water: meltwater. Water is mainly heated by solar power. Water-saving equipment. Own water purification plant. Energy balances and life cycle analyses to optimize construction and use.


Solar energy covers 90% of energy requirements. Surplus energy is stored in batteries, a heating plant serves as a complementary energy source. Water consumption is covered by local meltwater. This is stored in a cistern in summer, so that water is also available when there is no meltwater. CO2-equivalents per overnight stay were reduced by two-thirds compared with the old hut. Minergie-P certificate.

II Assessment criteria

Mitigation effects: High

While the energy consumption of the new hut is higher than that of the old one because of the water purification plant, the 'operational' CO2-emissions were reduced by over two-thirds per overnight (admittedly, the spectacular hut has an appreciably higher number of visitors). This is the result of using of renewable energy and recycling and seasonal storage of water - no snow needs to be melted for water supply.

Impacts on adaptation: Neutral


Impacts on environment:

- Landscape: Neutral
- Alpine ecosystems / biodiversity: Neutral
- Water / soil / air: Neutral
- "Other": None

New hut replaces old hut: appreciable increase in visitors, additional pressure on the landscape? The number of visitors might increase to a point where the capacity of the water purification plant might have to be doubled; technical equipment and power supply would then also have to be adapted.

Impacts on society:

- Social justice: Neutral
- Regional / cultural identity: Positive
- "Other": None

There has been extensive media coverage on the new Monte Rosa hut. The innovative buidling could have a positive impact on regional identity.

Impacts on economy:

- Employment / job creation: Positive
- Added value / income: Positive
- Know how / competitiveness: Very positive
- "Other": None

Construction has temporarily increased employment in the region. The new hut is a local attraction (there are appreciably more visitors than expected) Both SAC and ETH can benefit from the experience and improve their know-how and competitiveness.

Public relations impact and awareness-raising: Very high

The new hut has triggered a wide media response. A travelling exhibition visits Switzerland and several European and Asian countries in 2011 and 2012. In addition, the hut has won a number of awards. Awareness building also takes takes the form of a climate audio trail between Zermatt and the new hut. It provides information on the consequences of climate change, the innovative construction techniques and energy-efficient technologies (

Transferability: High

The new Monte Rosa hut is a prime example of what is technically possible. The overall concepts - or at least parts of it - can be applied to other construction work (new buildings or renovations) in the high Alps.

Cross sectoral and integrative approach: High

ETH: various departments are heavily involved in climate protection. SAC: is committed to sustainable development in and conservation of mountain areas(see Leitbild/Lignes directrices [not available in English]

Good governance: High

Cooperation between SAC and ETH (and other research institutes). numerous business and government (federal, canton) sponsors.

III Executive body and contact information

Executive body: Universities or other educational institutions, Organizations of civil society

ETH Zürich and Swiss Alpine Club

Contact person(s):

Name: Meinrad Eberle (Prof. em.)
Institution: Project leader 150 Years ETH
Address: ETH Zurich, 8092 Zurich
Phone: +41 44 632 24 74
Email: [email protected]

Other contact persons:

Other contact person: Peter Planche, President SAC Sektion Monte Rosa Phone: +41 79 248 78 15 E-mail: [email protected]

Online information: (Project homepage with additional information, numerous photos and a film

Available documents

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