Investing in our home advantage
High standards in education, ingenuity, advanced infrastructure, high quality of life and the ‘Swiss brand’ give us a competitive edge and allow us to continue to bring the ‘Swiss-made’ label to the rest of the world. To continue our successful research, development and production at our Zug site, we are making our creative and working spaces fit for the future and investing in socially, economically and environmentally sustainable sites. The Tech Cluster Zug (TCZ), created in close cooperation with our other partners, represents an integrated innovation quarter for V-ZUG, the wider Zug economic area and Switzerland as a working environment, all at our main site. Here, we aim to set future-focused, pioneering standards. The current and planned stages of expansion can be seen in the graphic.
Renewable energy right on site
From the end of 2022, the Multi Energy Hub (MEH) will supply the site and the surrounding locations with renewable energy from various sources, making the TCZ the primary site supplier. Waste heat, groundwater and water from Lake Zug (Project Circulago) will be used as energy sources. A central component of our plans is the energy production and distribution around the site, which aims for maximum self-supplied power from photovoltaics, energy retention, e-mobility and, in the future, with power-to-gas resources.
The new hub, home to the exchange of various energy and media inputs, is in the ZUGgate high-bay storage facility. If you want to use renewable energy sources with variable availability, you require high-quality energy storage and consumption management. The Multi Energy Hub will therefore help us gauge how excess energy can be used at a later time, for example by converting power into heat or gas. We will expand on the trend of network convergence by connecting energy to mobility, property and industry. For example, solar energy can be converted into hydrogen and used for charging the fuel-cell batteries in electric cars. This opens up a whole new dimension in terms of the goal of self-reliance for power in the cluster, including the area of mobility.
Warmth when you need it
Manufacturing our appliances not only consumes energy, it also generates waste heat, which we would like to capture in our supply system in the future. We will store process heat in the groundwater during summer and recover it for heating in winter, for instance. However, we are not planning on integrating all production processes into the MEH waste heat network, as heat is a form of energy that dissipates quickly, so the faster and closer to the source it is used, the better. We can recycle the waste heat from the enamelling process, for example by putting it straight back into the systems upstream without transferring the energy to the MEH in the meantime.
We are consciously following our environmental building principles for new-builds. We are looking at the concrete opportunities on site and piloting lighthouse projects. We are focusing on building with timber, reduction and optimisation of concrete use, and compact building design. Although concrete has a relatively large carbon footprint, we haven’t completely dispensed with it. Instead we use it where it really benefits us. Our partnership with the ETH Zurich spin-off Neustark is one example of the approach we are taking. Instead of using gravel and sand to make concrete, we are using aggregate recycled from demolished buildings. This aggregate is treated with CO2, making it less porous and reducing the need for cement to bind it. Since the aggregate permanently stores CO2, it prevents the harmful gas from escaping into the atmosphere.
Wood and solar for the new-builds
We are using wood as the construction materials for the second floor of the Zephyr Hangar in Zug. This results in around two-thirds lower greenhouse gas emissions than a steel construction. This makes production less carbon intensive on the one hand, and on the other, carbon is stored in the timber construction for the long term. The slanted roof sections not only allow natural light in, they also provide space for our largest photovoltaic system to date.
For the new V-ZUG Kühltechnik AG building in Sulgen, we even laid the foundations for environmentally friendly energy supply. The solar-power system on the roof produces renewable electricity and, thanks to the opportunity to use the groundwater, the integrated heat pump provides a carbon-neutral way to cover up to 80 per cent of the annual requirement for heat.
Vertical construction optimises production process
The Zephyr complex is a concrete step forward for the Swiss production site, signalling the future of the company while nodding to its history. The investment in the new production facility links V-ZUG’s characteristic demands on quality with increased efficiency, as well as with our vision for industrial and urban development. From 2023, the new Zephyr Ost factory complex will join the Mistral building, which was acquired in 2016, and the ZUGgate high-bay storage facility to form a single production line with an optimised flow of goods. The new plant is based on the concept of vertical consolidation. The production is split across multiple floors and linked by its processes, meaning that, once delivered, components are organised and grouped for assembly as efficiently as possible. Connected processes are viewed and managed as a unit rather than being split up due to lack of available space. This verticalisation allows V-ZUG to cut out links in the chain, meaning we only need to build a fraction of the floor space of a traditional greenfield factory. This results in shorter production times, reduced warehousing requirements and an overall doubling of the area efficiency.
Mobility Hub Zug Nord
Mobility is important for us, and we would like our employees to be able to shape their mobility concepts both easily and sustainably. Our generous garage, which will be completed in 2022 in the north of the site, will allow our employees and guests to make use of the fantastic connections to local public transport without further burdening the local road system. The Mobility Hub is directly connected to the Zug/Baar bypass and will have various features of an intelligent garage. Hub users will have access to electric car charging points, as well as eBikes and eScooters, and a self-driving bus to get them around the site and into the city as efficiently as possible.
The Mobility Hub should support and actively propel Zug’s transformation into a Smart City. In a society that will be defined by its self-driving vehicles, and where ‘mobility as a service’ will replace traditional cars, this kind of hub can be seen as a laboratory for testing, developing and refining new mobility concepts for the city. The Mobility Hub will certainly be connected to the MEH so that, for example, solar power can be used to charge the electric vehicles.