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Energy efficiency on Monte Rosa

The new Monte Rosa mountain hut above Zermatt / Switzerland is a project of superlatives. 90% energy self-sufficiency at a height of 2,883 meters - this meets the highest technical requirements, and aluminum solutions from Hydro Building Systems (HBS) help considerably.

The Swiss Alpine Club decided to replace its original hut at the foot of the Monte Rosa massif from 1895 with the "mountain hut of the future". It was an exciting project for the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich - and for the HBS construction experts from the WICONA brand.

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Hydro Building Systems Switzerland received two significant orders: for the south facade, which consists of photovoltaic panels, installed in a special WICONA post-bar solution. The second job was more difficult: an 80-meter-long window strip of light running around the building, which decorates it like a string of pearls and above all uses the sun's heat.

The innovative building with five floors and space for 120 guests is largely self-sufficient. Showering and washing is carried out with melt water from the surrounding area. Obtained from snow and ice in summer, & nbsp; the water is stored in a 200 cubic meter cavern in the rock behind the hut.

An important factor is the energy management system: Not only the individual components, but also their interaction are optimized to save energy. In addition to the current climate data and various building data, information such as visitor or weather forecasts is also fed into the system. This allows for a forward-looking control of the overall system and thus a further increase in efficiency.Around 90 percent of the energy required - for heating the hut, for warm water and food preparation as well as for our own sewage treatment plant - is covered by solar energy. & Nbsp; Thanks to storage in batteries a supply is guaranteed even when the sky is cloudy.

Students from ETH Zurich will use the hut as a research station to investigate how energy and resources can be used effectively.

Right from the start

The Monte Rosa hut was built on a foundation made of stainless steel, while the wooden structure is staged around a cascade staircase with a continuous panorama from the dining room to the top floor. The shimmering metallic outer skin made of aluminum sparkles in the sun. Everything shines like on a postcard. But the way there was difficult.

The isolated location at great heights required that the building materials and the prefabricated elements, including the WICONA systems, were first transported by rail to Zermatt. The last part of the route across the glacier to the construction site was managed by helicopter. In addition, Dino Rossi, who worked for HBS on the project, was only able to build three to four months a year because the conditions were so extreme.


The entire construction was calculated using the WICTOP 3D architecture software. The largest element was pre-assembled in the workshop and then assembled on site. "This required very good logistical coordination of the process," says Rossi.HBS had to carry out the planning in technical offices and workshops far away from the construction site. Everyone in the Rossi team in Mägenwil contributed to the success.

"The task placed the highest demands on planning," he continues. "We couldn't make a mistake. Everything had to be right immediately. But we did it and the customer is satisfied. It is a pleasure for us to have contributed to this fantastic building. “

The hut has long had a nickname: "rock crystal".
This text is machine translated. To view the original German text, click on DE on the top right of this window

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