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Biopôle receives Plus* certification from the Nature and Economy Foundation

The Nature & Economy Foundation is committed to the natural development of industrial and residential sites. On request, it awards its Swiss-recognized certificate to sites that have been developed and maintained in an exemplary manner. In addition, its specialists are on hand to provide advice and to support, monitor and encourage processes aimed at enhancing nature and biodiversity in urban areas. For the Plus* certificate, the current criteria, which focus on biodiversity, are supplemented by a catalog of measures for a pleasant urban climate. In December 2023, we became the first site in French-speaking Switzerland to receive Plus certification from the Foundation.

Biopôle's campus

We decided to rethink our outdoor spaces to foster an environment conducive to innovation. To counter the problem of urban heat islands, Biopôle is adopting measures to regulate temperature, becoming the first site in French-speaking Switzerland to obtain the Foundation’s Plus certification.

A satisfaction survey conducted among the campus community revealed a marked need for convivial outdoor spaces. To meet this demand, the campus has been redesigned and redeveloped to incorporate living and relaxation areas. In this urban context, where mineral surfaces predominate, the attractiveness of outdoor spaces is closely linked to ambient temperatures. Particular attention was therefore paid to the thermal regulation of these spaces.

Serine building

This initiative to lower temperatures locally is in line with the objectives of the Foundation, which encourages companies to exploit the synergies between biodiversity and thermal regulation through its Plus certificate. The measures taken on site are based on the 5 key areas of action defined by freiraumarchitektur and the Foundation to regulate temperatures: shading, vegetation, light materials, rainwater infiltration and aeration.

The most notable action undertaken on the site is the major desilting operation that has begun and will continue over the next few years. The impermeable asphalt of the main driveway has been replaced by permeable surfacing: loose gravel, grass gravel and concrete grids. Two gravel islands, home to large trees, have been laid out on the central esplanade. This reduction in impermeable surfaces helps to limit heating due to solar radiation by promoting better reflection, while increasing cooling by evaporation of water stored in the ground.

Biopôle's campus

The site also offers a number of shaded areas to reduce local temperatures. Planted canopies and pergolas have been installed, while the site’s tree planting has been reinforced, particularly along the main driveway. In addition to the shade provided by the trees, which helps to lower the temperature, the latter play a crucial role in cooling thanks to their evaporation capacity, making them preferable to canvas. Extensive greening of roofs and ivy growth on facades also contribute to the site’s thermal regulation.

All these initiatives also benefit nature by creating new natural surfaces such as flower meadows and gravel-sod surfaces. The latter encourage the development of a rich and varied flora, attracting numerous insects.

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