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Achieving sustainable and at the same time rapidly effective changes is proving to be particularly difficult in the construction and energy sectors. Bringing new technologies and products to the market takes time; many rules and long investment periods make companies unwilling to take risks. This creates a gap between technologies that work in the laboratory and the market, which naturally demands reliable and mature products. The modular research and innovation building NEST (Next Evolution in Sustainable Building Technologies), opened in 2016 by the two Swiss research institutes Empa and Eawag, bridges this gap between the research laboratory and the market and helps new sustainable solutions to gain a foothold in the construction industry more quickly. As NEST is a place where people build, work, live and stay and where there is a constant dialogue about the future of the construction industry, countless exciting people come together every day to share their ideas, visions and opinions with others and thus help to drive the construction sector forward. The NEST podcast aims to give these people a voice. Peter Richner, Deputy Director of Empa, talks to his guests about innovation in the construction sector, opportunities and hurdles and much more that moves the industry.

The current, 37th episode of the NEST-Podcast is dedicated to the actual core topic of NEST: promoting innovation in the construction industry. Peter Richner takes a look at Germany and the “Zukunft Bau” innovation programme there. His guest is Helga Kühnhenrich, head of the “Research and Innovation in the Construction Industry” department at the Federal Institute for Research on Building, Urban Affairs and Spatial Development. Together with her team, the architect is responsible for the “Zukunft Bau” research funding programmes. Together with Peter Richner, she talks about the “government’s fresh cell cure for the construction sector”, the recipes she uses to promote innovative research projects, the cultural change required in the construction industry and the pioneering role that partners from industry play in the innovation process.

Please note that the podcast is in German.

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