Every year, around 550,000 people from all over the world visit the breathtaking Matterhorn glacier paradise vantage point. Until now, visitors were met with makeshift catering facilities, poor sanitary arrangements and, depending on their footwear, almost impassable routes through ice and snow up to the entrance of the glacier palace. Such conditions do not meet the requirements of today’s visitors: people who go on such an excursion at an altitude of 3,883 metres above sea level expect something very special and unique.
Zermatt certainly did build something very special this summer. The new “Glacier restaurant” and the alpinists’ accommodation will comply with the Minergie P standard (the highest energy standard). A special sewage treatment facility, the highest in the Alps, will ensure waste water is purified in an environmentally friendly way. The entire front of the building will be equipped with solar panels, which, at this altitude, generate almost twice as much energy as systems with a similar surface area in lowlands areas. Solar energy will be stored and used for heating the building, meaning no external energy supply will be required.
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.