Last month, the Institute for applied sustainability to the built environment of the University of applied sciences and arts of southern Switzerland (SUPSI) participated in an information session to discuss the possibility of integrating a solar plant in a historic church in Viganello, Lugano (Canton Ticino, Switzerland). The building in question requires the replacement of the old oil-fired heating system with a more efficient one combining a heat pump and a solar photovoltaic system. This cost-effective and environmentally friendly solution would solve the church's heating problems and help reach the goal of becoming a self-sufficient building with zero CO2 emissions. The client's interest in this project is to send a signal through the design of this new plant, that wants to be representative and at the same time revitalize the role of the Church in the local social fabric.

For this reason, the Commission for Sacred Art and the representatives of the Parish Council of St. Teresa of G.B. of Viganello accompanied by SUPSI architects, engineers and experts organized a meeting for an open and extended dialogue among all the Institutions, Bodies and persons involved. The meeting was attended by representatives of the Cantonal Institutions, the Office of Cultural Heritage, and members of the Industrial Companies of Lugano (AIL) working in the production and energy efficiency sector and interested in proposing their clients new financing possibilities for the future photovoltaic solar plant.

SUPSI is currently participating in various research projects dealing with this topic. For the Interreg Alpine Space project ATLAS, SUPSI´s experience with innovative solutions for building-integrated photovoltaics in historic buildings is of particular interest. Examples of pioneering solutions, as the ones before mentioned, are documented and made accessible to a wider audience in the Alpine regions.