EPFL is the only university in the world to offer a specialization in energy geostructures. Its expertise stems from the work of generations of young researchers at the LMS, which began exploring the technology in the 1990s. In November 2019, Professor Laloui published a new book that provides an in-depth look at the subject. The publication is co-authored by Alessandro Rotta Loria, a former PhD student at EPFL and now an assistant professor at Northwestern University in the United States.
Energy geostructures can be installed in new buildings and tunnels, and they use the earth’s natural warmth to provide a constant source of heating and cooling – meeting between 60% and 80% of a structure’s needs – without having to rely on the vagaries of the weather. Despite its benefits, the technology has yet to catch on: only around 1,000 buildings worldwide are fitted with energy geostructures, and 40 of them are in Switzerland.
The book covers the theory behind the technology and shows how, if deployed correctly, it could become as widespread as solar power. It also underscores EPFL’s ambition to become a global leader in the field.