PSI Environmental Concept


The Paul Scherrer Institute PSI is the largest research centre for natural and engineering sciences in Switzerland, conducting cutting-edge research in the fields of matter and material, energy and the environment and human health. By performing basic and applied research, it works on sustainable solutions for major challenges facing society, science and economy. PSI recognises its responsibility to the environment in a comprehensive, sustainable manner.

Guiding principles

PSI strives for a leading global role in its research and support of external users of its large research facilities. It provides its services across the board as resource-efficiently and environmentally friendly as possible and optimises the construction and operation of its facilities according to holistic aspects. Through its activities in energy and basic research, PSI makes direct and relevant contributions towards the development of environmentally friendly and energy-efficient technologies in a broad social context.

Goals and implementation

PSI defines the basic principles and fields of activity in environmental management and determines indicators to evaluate the progress in the environmental performance. It sets environmental goals in every performance period with a view to constantly optimising its services and measures for the benefit of the environment.

Basic principles, fields of activity and indicators

The following basic principles and fields of activity define the goals of PSI's environmental management:
  • PSI meets all legal requirements in the environmental sector (legal compliance)
  • PSI measures its resource usage and optimises it with regard to its environmental impact
  • PSI develops its premises according to holistic criteria and constructs and operates its buildings, infrastructures and green areas based on the basic principles of sustainable development
  • Through mobility management, PSI strives to maximise the use of public and non-motorised transport by its members (see PSI Energy Concept)
  • PSI factors environmental aspects into procurement decisions
  • PSI creates prerequisites that its members can live up to their responsibility to the environment at their workstations and in their subject and management areas. PSI raises awareness, motivates and activates its members for environmentally friendly conduct
  • PSI submits a comprehensive and transparent annual report to the ETH Board on key figures, measures and the achievement of objectives
The continuous development in PSI's environmental performance is especially evaluated based on the following indicators:
  • Efficient energy use in infrastructure and research (see PSI Energy Concept)
  • Reduction of the emissions caused directly and indirectly
  • Optimised use of resources (water, paper, chemicals etc.)
  • Advanced waste management with a high proportion of recycling

Responsibilities, reporting and communication

PSI's economic, ecological and social responsibility is anchored in the Direction. It is responsible for the active implementation of the environmental strategy and provides the necessary means. It is supported in its work by the Steering Committee for Environment and Energy, the work groups Office and Lab and Large Research Facilities, and the PSI environmental protection officer. The staff of the ETH Board supports PSI and the other institutions in the ETH Domain with environmental management, has a coordinating role both internally and externally, and is responsible for reporting at ETH Domain level. The ERFA group appointed by the ETH Board Environment and Energy in the ETH Domain provides an exchange of experience between the institutions, monitors the accomplishment of their objectives and informs the ETH Board about the progress achieved (periodical reporting).

PSI's objectives in environmental management

  • PSI has reached an agreement with the Energieagentur der Wirtschaft (EnAW) on an energy consumption analysis with clearly defined target by the end of 2014. It is striving to increase the energy efficiency and reduce CO2 emissions with suitable measures
  • PSI is implementing the action plan The Confederation: exemplary in energy with the appropriate measures and reporting at government level (together with the other institutions in the ETH Domain). It aims for a degree of fulfilment of 80% by 2020
  • PSI supports the ETH Domain's objective of achieving an overall energy efficiency increase of 25% by 2020 compared to 2006 within the scope of the action plan The Confederation: exemplary in energy
  • PSI is intensifying its communication activities for energy and environmental management both internally and externally, thereby sensitizing its employees to environmentally conscious behavior as well as to present goals, concepts, and operational measures.


Publisher: PSI Directorate

Editorial team: Steering Committee for Environment and Energy
Dr. Peter Allenspach
Telephone: 0041 56 310 21 11