Endowed chair for Sustainable Construction

ETH Zurich is establishing an endowed chair for Sustainable Construction. To mark its 100th anniversary, the construction materials Group Holcim is supporting ETH Zurich with a notable donation. The new professorship takes the place of an assistant professorship of the same name that Holcim has been financially supporting since 2006.

Buildings and their construction, are responsible for about 40 percent of global CO2 emissions. New buildings and the maintenance and renovation of existing ones require energy and make demands on scarce resources, such as land, water and construction materials. Environmentally friendly construction is thus becoming ever more important. ETH Zurich includes sustainable construction as part of its strategic focus in teaching and research.

With its donation to the ETH Zurich Foundation, the Holcim Group is supporting the creation of an endowed chair for sustainable construction. Holcim is under-taking this project as part of its 100th anniversary. As a global producer of cement, aggregates, such as crushed stone, sand and gravel, and ready-mix concrete, Holcim recognizes the need to improve sustainable construction through innovative processes, thereby reducing CO2 emissions and energy consumption.  

Increased pace through partnership
"Support for this endowed chair by Holcim allows ETH to increase its research capacity in a key area into the long term” says ETH President Ralph Eichler. “Now we can increase the pace of urgently needed research in this area. The construction industry will also benefit from these efforts."

Bernard Fontana, CEO of Holcim Ltd, comments: “There is enormous potential in this area, and I am convinced that future generations will be able to construct buildings in a much more environmentally conscious way thanks to innovative methods and processes. We hope that this new professorship will be heavily involved in finding and disseminating solutions for optimized resource usage that can be implemented quickly.”

Commitment from research engineer
Guillaume Habert has been named as the new professor of Sustainable Construction. The 35-year-old French citizen is currently working as a research engineer at the Université Paris-Est in France. His previous research has dealt with the evaluation of concrete sustainability and the development of innovative bonding agents for use in construction. In addition, he has been working on the life cycle assessment of individual buildings and urban areas. Guillaume Habert will assume his duties at ETH Zurich in the summer of 2012.

The new professorship will be established in the Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering. It thus supplements existing endowed chairs or open positions in the Departments of Architecture and Materials Science. A common aspect they share is that they strengthen the strategic area of sustainable construction at ETH.

In 2006, ETH was able to establish an Assistant Professorship of Sustainable Construction thanks to support from the Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction. That chair, which was limited to six years, will now be replaced by the full professorship. This new chair  supports the activities of the globally active independent Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction, which has collaborated successfully with ETH Zurich and other renowned universities for the past decade.

Further information

Holcim is a leading global supplier of cement, aggregates and ready-mix cement and asphalt, including services. The Group is active in approximately 70 countries and has more than 80,000 employees. The subsidiary Holcim (Schweiz) AG is the largest domestic producer of construction materials. With about 1,300 employees, the company has a strong foundation in the areas of cement, aggregates and ready-mix concrete, and offers its customers complete solutions with engineering and logistics support.

ETH Zurich has come to symbolize excellent education, groundbreaking basic research and applied results that are beneficial for society as a whole. Founded in 1855, ETH Zurich has more than 17,000 students from approximately 80 countries, 3,700 of whom are doctoral candidates. Today, it offers researchers an inspiring environment and students a comprehensive education as one of the world’s leading universities for technology and the natural sciences. 21 Nobel Laureates have studied, taught or conducted research at ETH Zurich, underscoring the excellent reputation of the institute.

ETH Zurich Foundation is a private nonprofit foundation which aims to foster education and research at ETH Zurich. With donations to the Foundation, businesses, foundations, organizations and individuals support strategic focal points of ETH Zurich. Thus, the ETH Zurich Foundation is acting as an interface between the university and its donors.


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Holcim is one of the world's leading suppliers of cement and aggregates (crushed stone, sand and gravel) as well as further activities such as ready-mix concrete and asphalt including services. The Group holds majority and minority interests in around 70 countries on all continents.
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