Award-winning sustainability – how is sustainable construction progressing in Switzerland?

Award-winning sustainability – how is sustainable construction progressing in Switzerland?
27 March 2019, Jürg Schneider im Gespräch mit Ronald Schlegel

Award-winning sustainability – how is sustainable construction progressing in Switzerland?

The Andreasturm in Zurich Oerlikon was awarded with the sustainability certificate “DGNB Platinum” by Swiss Sustainable Building Council (SGNI) today. Its Chairman, Ronald Schlegel, presented the certificate to the developer SBB in a ceremony. This was the ideal opportunity for me to ask him a few questions about it.

Ronald Schlegel, what does the awarding of this certificate mean to you personally?

Since the SGNI was founded, SBB has been one of its most active members and has been building according to the DGNB standard for years. Therefore, it was a particularly pleasing for me to be able to honour the Andreasturm, a new symbol of Oerlikon, with the “Platinum” — the highest DGNB certificate.

What exactly is the significance of DGNB Platinum?

Buildings which meet over 40 sustainability criteria with an overall achievement rate of over 80 percent are awarded by the DGNB Platinum certificate. Alongside energy efficiency, CO2 emissions and a lifecycle assessment, topics such as grey energy, flexible use or the recyclability of the materials used also belong to these criteria. Retaining value throughout the entire life cycle is the core issue here.

What are the general benefits of the DGNB label for developers and tenants?

Investors and developers can secure the long-term value retention and rentability of their property with the DGNB. The DNGB certificate stands for objectively tested and proven sustainability and this is becoming a pre-requisite for more and more tenants before signing a lease agreement. In addition, developers benefit from an image boost and a greater public and political acceptance — these are all aspects that are not to be underestimated in the increasingly demanding planning and construction processes.

Tenants also benefit directly from a safe and non-toxic interior, an ideal indoor climate, greater visual comfort and good room acoustics, etc. These are all aspects that contribute significantly to making tenants feel at home in the building.

Who is building in accordance with the DGNB standard in Switzerland? And how do you think sustainable construction is progressing in Switzerland?

Sustainable construction is increasingly gaining in significance and the demand for internationally recognised labels is growing. One of the most important is the DGNB label. Major companies in Switzerland such as Helvetia Insurance, Children’s Hospital Zurich, UBS, Lidl, ETH Zurich and Swiss Post use this label. The climate strike shows that awareness about climate protection and sustainability is gaining momentum in society, which will also increase the need and demand for sustainable buildings.


The DGNB standard of the German Sustainable Building Council enables buildings and neighbourhoods to be planned, built, operated and certified systematically according to a holistic concept of sustainability. The standard is used successfully globally today in over 20 countries worldwide for well over 1,500 buildings.

The Swiss Sustainable Building Council (SGNI) is an association which supports sustainable construction and certifies buildings in Switzerland in accordance with the DGNB.

SBB’s sustainability philosophy.

SBB is committed to sustainable corporate governance. We consider our economic, social and environmental responsibility to our customers, our employees and Switzerland in all our decision-making. More about sustainability at SBB Real Estate.

The Andreasturm is certified to the highest DGNB level Platinum.


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Ronald Schlegel
Ronald Schlegel
Ronald Schlegel is Chairman of the Swiss Sustainable Building Council (SGNI). He is Senior Partner at A. Vaccani & Partner AG, a member of various boards of directors and advisory boards, and a lecturer at the Institute for Facility Management at ZHAW.

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Jürg Schneider
Jürg Schneider
Jürg Schneider is Head of Sustainability at SBB Real Estate. He qualified as an environmental engineer at a Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and has an Executive MBA from the University of Lausanne. In this role, he is focuses particularly on sustainable construction, energy efficiency, climate protection and photovoltaics. He is a board member of the Swiss Sustainable Building Council (SGNI) and the Sustainable Construction Network Switzerland (NNBS).
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