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Research projects

ServHEATisation : a new business model for heating energy based on servitisation

In Switzerland, heating buildings accounts for around 40% of total energy consumption. Some of this energy is wasted because of a system in which the interests of tenants and landlords diverge. On the one hand, tenants are generally responsible for the heating costs they generate. They can reduce these costs by cutting their own consumption, although this can prove difficult in poorly insulated buildings, for example. On the other hand, renovations to improve energy efficiency are generally the responsibility of the landlord, who does not benefit directly from the resulting energy savings.

To address this divergence of interests, the SME Institute has developed a "temperature service" model that involves a contract between a landlord and tenants to heat a flat to a predefined temperature for a fixed price. This research, carried out over the last 18 months, describes the benefits of such a model in terms of incentives for renovation and energy consumption, as well as the legal conditions required for its implementation.

This temperature service requires service companies that are able to provide it. By adopting an innovative business model based on service (the comfort of living at the desired temperature) rather than product (heating equipment), companies have the control to optimise energy use while adapting to the needs of their customers. This 'servitisation' business model does, however, raise questions about the risks and legal aspects that need urgent clarification, particularly as regards the ownership, maintenance and monitoring of installations, both inside and outside the flat.

This new approach encourages responsible, environmentally-friendly behaviour. It is important to determine the expectations, rights, duties and feasibilities of both customers and energy providers, all of which the ServHEATisation project aims to clarify.

Running time

2023 to 2024

Project manager

Jean-Marie Ayer

Full Professor UAS/Institute Head

+41 26 429 63 77

Project members

Laurence Casagrande-Caille,

Institute/Competence center

Small and medium enterprises