Institute of Applied Sustainability to the Built Environment (ISAAC)

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Institute of Applied Sustainability to the Built Environment (ISAAC)

The Institute of Applied Sustainability to the Built Environment (ISAAC) promotes the energy transition towards a zero-emission society based on an inter- and transdisciplinary approach in the areas of characterisation and reliability of photovoltaics and their integration in the building, intelligent management of renewable energy in the grid, energy efficiency of buildings and their maintenance. The complex energy transition also includes the proposal of more sustainable choices and lifestyles, involving local and civil society stakeholders.

The Building system sector promotes the sustainable management and development of real estate through the use of innovative tools and methods for the evaluation and analysis of buildings. It supports the building industry in the development of innovative building solutions for the benefit of all, in support of the Swiss Energy Strategy 2050, using the integration of technology and architecture as a holistic approach to building culture. 

The sector operates both at the cantonal level, thanks to cooperation with the "Sezione della logistica" and "Sezione della protezione dell'aria dell'acqua e del suolo" and their various cantonal offices, as well as with various municipal technical offices, and at the federal level, thanks to cooperation with the ETHZ and EPFL and other professional schools (such as HSLU, ZHAW, FHNW and FHB). A number of collaborations, in particular with industries producing innovative building envelope systems, have also led the sector to work internationally with European research and development mandates, mainly in the field of energy and sustainability in construction, with the aim of rationalising energy use and promoting the valorisation of renewable energies. The sector's activities aim at a high quality of the built environment and the achievement of sustainable development goals, focusing on the active and passive envelope and its innovative potential. 

The Building system sector consists of the following teams
  • Building management and energy efficiency
  • Innovative envelope
  • Sustainable buildings and constructions

The three teams work together on joint multidisciplinary projects, with a particular interest in pilot and demonstration projects as opportunities for technology transfer and innovative approaches. The local and international dimension is crucial for the growth of the sector and the continuous development of innovation.


Energy and territory

Implementation of energy policy at multiple levels, promoting energy efficiency and renewable energy in the public and private sector.

Mission and goals

100% renewable energy. The institute's mission is to contribute to the energy transition, to replace the use of fossil and nuclear energy with renewable energy, reducing environmental and health impacts and global climate change effects.

Department of belonging
Department of Environment Constructions and Design

Institute Director
Roman Rudel

​​​​Head of Photovoltaics Sector
Mauro Caccivio

Head of Energy Sustainability and Territory Sector
Nerio Cereghetti

Head of Building System Sector
Francesco Frontini
Head of Energy Systems Sector
Vasco Medici

The institute has a laboratory and two competence centres:

SUPSI PVLab Laboratory -
Centre for Development and Cooperation
Radon Competence Centre
The institute also has two spin-offs:

HivePower: solutions for consumer communities based on Blockchain technology
iWin: an innovative window solution that integrates thin-film photovoltaic cells into venetian blinds enclosed within an insulating window.​​​​​​​



The Institute of Applied Sustainability to the Built Environment offers services in the fields of renewable energies, rational use of energy, energy efficiency, including the renovation and maintenance of buildings, regional and local energy planning based on environmental, economic and social criteria.

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The Institute is active in continuing education by offering Advanced Studies and short courses in the areas of environment, construction, energy and land, cooperation and development. In addition, the Institute promotes outreach activities with schools through engaging educational activities.

The Institute has been collaborating with various research institutes in Switzerland and abroad for many years.

The Institute works closely with representatives of Swiss public administrations such as the Federal Office of Energy (FOE), the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN), the Federal Office for Housing (FOH) and the Section for Air, Water and Soil Protection (SPAAS), the Logistics Section and the DEAS of the Canton of Ticino. Many references in various research areas developed with regional, national and even international companies.

As a representative of Italian-speaking Switzerland, ISAAC is an active member of the BRENET (Building and Renewable Energies Network of Technology) competence network, the Swissolar association, Bauen Digital Schweiz. Swissengineering and Swissphotonic. We also collaborate with various associations and groups such as: Activehouse, Ecobau, EUREC, Solar Power Europe, ISES (international Solar Energy Society), Energo, Ticinoenergia, InfraWatt.

​​​​​​​Main partners:

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L’Istituto sostenibilità applicata all'ambiente costruito ha sede presso il Campus SUPSI di Mendrisio.

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Institute of Applied Sustainability to the Built Environment

University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Southern Switzerland

Campus SUPSI Mendrisio
Via Flora Ruchat-Roncati 15
CH-6850 Mendrisio

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