Switzerland - Holcim offers enhanced "Susteno-bility" with cement for WEF prototype

22 January 2019

Increasing greenhouse gas emissions and the scarcity of natural resources are forcing architects and civil engineers to rethink their approach to building materials. Holcim Switzerland has participated in a project led by ETH Zurich’s research teams to harness the huge potential in the building sector for technologies that encourage a more efficient use of materials in concrete structures.


With its purpose-made mix for a self-leveling and easy-to-use concrete, Holcim has made a significant contribution to a Block Research Group project. The newly developed and resource-efficient cement, Susteno 3R was used for a prototype of a slender concrete element, created under the leadership of Professor Philippe Block Philippe Block, Professor at ETH Zurich and member of the Academic Committee of the LafargeHolcim Foundation, at ETH Zurich’s Institute of Technology in Architecture.

cblock research group eth zurich andrei jipa
(©Block Research Group ETH Zurich Andrei Jipa)


The thermally active floor and ceiling system with a lightweight concrete skeleton enables substantial savings in building materials and significantly reduces a building’s energy requirements thanks to an integrated heating and cooling system. A prototype of this lightweight floor element is being exhibited in the ETH pavilion at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

cblock research group eth zurich matthias rippmann 1
(©Block Research Group ETH Zurich Matthias Rippmann)


Susteno 3R, which is unique in Switzerland, is an integral component of the concrete used in this project. With it, our teams are introducing another innovation for sustainable building materials. Susteno 3R is made of high-quality processed mixed granulate from demolition projects, resulting in a cement that fulfills all aspects required for a closed material cycle for the first time.

Concrete mix with Susteno 3R for HiLo

Concrete mix with Susteno 3R for HiLo

In collaboration with ETH Zurich’s Block Research Group, Holcim Switzerland will also use the mix design, i.e. the composition for the concrete components of the prototype at the WEF, for the ceiling elements in the HiLo project which is scheduled to be erected from spring 2019 on the NEST research building of Empa and Eawag.

(Photo ©Block Research Group ETH Zurich Matthias Rippmann) 

“The delicate structure of the floor elements places high demands on the concrete. It must be fluid enough to fill the whole formwork, while also meeting strict quality requirements,”

Thomas Schmidt
Head of Building Segment at Holcim Switzerland