Wednesday, November 19, 2008

New Restaurant and accommodation will be built on the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise

Every year, around 550,000 people from all over the world visit the breathtaking Matterhorn glacier paradise in Zermatt, the highest sightseeing point in Europe (3,883 m). In summer 2008, a modern restaurant which can seat up to 120 people, good sanitary facilities, accommodation for 40 alpinists and a vantage window facing Breithorn mountain will be built. The "Glacier restaurant" and the alpinists' accommodation will comply with the Minergie P standard (the highest energy standard).
The energy supply will be provided via the photovoltaic facility which is integrated into the façade. As the main façade is positioned in a southerly facing direction with an angle of inclination of approx. 70°, the facility can achieve a high yield. Photovoltaic facilities in high alpine regions harvest considerably more electricity than similar facilities in the midlands due to the clear air and reflection of the environment (snow). In order to further increase the energy yield, the solar façade has been equipped with rear ventilation. The cold surrounding air is collected from the access tunnel and directed towards the facades rear ventilation system. This cools the solar façade, which has a positive effect on the device's effectiveness whilst warming the surround air. This warmed air is fed into the ventilation system of the restaurant and kitchen and therefore covers a part of the building's heating energy requirements.
The generous windows in combination with the building's good insulation allow the use of passive solar benefits. The ventilation system recycles the solar energy hitting the façade and circulates this through the entire building. With the help of waste heat recovery methods, these thermal gains are also used to preheat the cold outside air. The passive energy generation and the heat produced by the guests cover a large part of room heating requirements.
The remaining heating energy, which cannot be covered by either the solar façade or passive energy generation, is provided using heat pumps. The heat pumps make use of the remaining thermal capacity of the air discharged from the ventilation system. The air, which is released back into the environment, is therefore in the same condition as it was when it left the access tunnels - the material cycle is closed.
The electrical energy required for the building technology, i.e. the warm air pumps, ventilators, hot water pumps etc., is provided by means of the photovoltaic facility which is integrated in the façade. The photovoltaic facility uses the existing electricity network of the mountain cableway as a repository and also feeds overproduction into this network. If the photovoltaic facility cannot produce enough electricity, on cloudy days or during the night for example, the previous overproduction, which was fed into the mountain cableway network, can be used - the annual balance has shown that the photovoltaic facility produces more energy than is used by the building technology.
A sewage treatment facility has been in use since 2 years on the Hohtälli. It has proved to be so successful that the same system will now also be used at the Matterhorn glacier paradise. This will be the highest sewage treatment facility in the world!
Drinking water has to be transported from Trockener Steg with the cableway. It therefore goes without saying that this resource is handled carefully and also reused. If drinking water is used in the kitchen area, for washing hands or for taking a shower, this water is collected and purified using a microbiological treatment facility. The purified grey water can now be used for flushing the toilets. Surplus waste water is cleaned to "bathing water quality" and then fed back into the environment's natural water cycle.
The remaining solids are collected in separate containers and transported into the valley via the cableway. This naturally inert material is passed on to the Zermatt ARA to enable it to be disposed of in an environmentally friendly manner - the material cycle is also closed here.
Hot water is prepared in the same way as the heating energy, via the heat pumps which use the air discharged from the ventilation system. The necessary electrical energy for the warm air pumps is also generated by the photovoltaic facility which is integrated in the façade.