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Published on : Apr 13, 2015

Recently a Swiss couple has tried their hands on making an energy-efficient historic home for themselves. In the whole process, they came across many changes in national policy that can put a dramatic effect on the whole process. Manuel Hutterli and Regine Röthlisberger wanted to reduce the carbon footprint of their 116 year old house in Bern, Switzerland to a great extend. However, when they first started adding solar panels to their house roof, they were strictly rebuffed by the Preservation of Historical Monuments office in Bern.

Their home was built in 1898 and is also considered a building that requires the highest degree of historical protection and preservation. Solar panel on such a historic slate roof is definitely not an option. However, something that happened 12,000 miles away from their location changed the whole scenario. In March 2011, the nuclear generating plant that is located Fukashima, Japan went through a catastrophic meltdown which sent shockwaves through the entire nuclear industry.

Till that point, Switzerland was very much committed to nuclear power; however, that attitude changed dramatically after Fukishima and the country encouraged renewable energy, starting from photovoltaics. Change at the top brought change at the local level. Due to which, the plans that Manuel Hutterli and Regine Röthlisberger had for their historic home were no longer prohibited.

The Swiss couple has provided with ways on how to make an historic home energy efficient. The owners of this historic house are both physicists and the whole process is not an easy one. They both had to invent an innovative type of solar panel which would blend in along with the existing slate roof which should not be very much visible from the street.