Prof Dr Guillaume Habert, Professor of Sustainable Construction, presented his Introductory Lecture at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich). Supported with a notable donation by Holcim to mark its 100th anniversary, the ETH Zurich established an endowed Chair for Sustainable Construction in 2012. The Chair focuses research on promoting the sustainable use of building material during the entire life cycle of buildings and infrastructure.
Guillaume Habert explained the challenges in identifying the goalposts for sustainability: “We are still defining the parameters that need to be included in sustainable construction – and the improvement potential for materials and structures at various stages of the building life cycle,” he said.
Watch the full video including welcome by Prof Dr Ulrich Alois Weidmann, Head of the Department of Civil, Environmental & Geomatic Engineering at ETH Zurich (in German) and Guillaume Habert’s lecture (in English), starting at 0:06:45.
Long and fruitful collaboration between ETH Zurich and Holcim
The new professorship takes the place of an assistant professorship that was initiated by Holcim in 2006. The research team is proposing innovative techniques for construction based on a stronger understanding of the technical, economic and social factors that influence sustainability. ETH Zurich has declared sustainable construction a strategic pillar for its teaching and research.
CEO of Holcim and Chairman of the Holcim Foundation Steering Committee, Bernard Fontana acknowledged the important role played by the ETH Zurich in the success of the Holcim Foundation. “Researchers at ETH Zurich have contributed significantly to the technical base and consequently to the success of this Foundation, which is dedicated to the promotion of sustainable construction,” he said. As a result of this collaboration between, Professor Habert became a member of the Academic Committee of the Holcim Foundation.
Since its creation in 2003, the ETH Zurich has hosted the first Holcim Forum, an international symposium on sustainable construction that attracted over 100 specialists from around the world; and outstanding architects and engineers of the ETH Zurich have been represented in the Academic Committee and the Board of the Holcim Foundation, as well as participating in juries of the Holcim Awards competition.
There is significant potential through innovative methods and processes to build with greater environmental compatibility – which is critical since buildings and construction account for 40% of all CO2 emissions worldwide. “As a global producer of cement, aggregates, and ready-mix concrete, we are well aware of our responsibility for advancements in the construction field; and if we can contribute toward the optimization of resource usage, we are proud of it”, said Bernard Fontana.