Q68 – Long-Distance Heating

In times, when society is faced with climate change, long-distance heating offers a chance to reduce all sources of pollutants and CO2 emissions.


Due to the fact we all grew up in the area around Wetzikon and Hinwil, we all know KEZO, the regional waste incineration plant. In the process of burning waste, a lot of heat is produced which can be re-used for heating.
Therefore, we used this project as a chance to get to know the advantages it provides us and how its long-distance heating is actually working. In the following project description you will find interesting answers we received to the questions we asked ourselves.

How does the KEZO heat the greenhouse in Hinwil?
How much energy can be saved with that? Are there any other advantages?

Tuesday 11/20/15, Beerstecher Greenhouse Hinwil ZH

Mr. Beerstecher

Interview with:

Name: Thomas Beerstecher
Job: Owner of Beerstecher Gemüsebau AG

The waste heat of KEZO is heating two greenhouses, one of it belongs to Mr. Beerstecher. He agreed to an interview and showed us around his construction. In the following text you will find all the interesting facts we found out about the greenhouse and also about long distance heating.


What is long-distance heating?

Heating systenLong-distance heating replaces the old individual boilers typically found in the basement of buildings . Distance heating is not dependant on one particular type of energy, it can be created through biomass, any form of coal, solar or as well as from sewage plants. In Switzerland it is even possible to use it from nuclear power plants.
A common misunderstanding is to think that distance heating is the heat which will be absorbed by burning litter. Well it is not. After burning the litter the heat has to be turned into electricity. While turning it into electricity the produced heat will be cooled down and absorbed. As a result we will have the distance heating. So in fact the distance heating is the third product.
The transport of these occur in a pipe system. On the left side you find a picture which shows such a pipe system. Long-distance heating provide beside heat also domestic hot water.
Furthermore there are also long-distance cooling. It functions basically the same way as long-distance heating. Distance cooling is an environmentally friendly, cost-efficient alternative to air conditioning.
In the future the distance heating facilities will be set up as renewable energy.

How much oil can be saved with that?



Further Information

Greenhouse Beerstecher
Tuesday 11/20/15
We were on our way to the greenhouse Beerstecher and had no idea what to expect from this interview. Would it be informative or just a waste of time? When we met Mr. Beerstecher it was a pleasant surprise. We were delighted by all the Information we have received.

Here is a list of the vegetables which are planted there:
Summer: Tomato, Cucumber, Bell pepper
Winter: Radish, Butter head lettuce, lamb’s lettuce

For example a tomato grows 30 cm in height per week and a cucumber plant grows 50 cm per week.

Greenhouse Beerstecher in Hinwil

They are the main suppliers of Migros and Coop, the two biggest grocery stores in Switzerland. Each second vegetable is distributed there.
The environment has a tremendous influence on the growth of the vegetables. For example, this year our autumn is definitely too hot for the winter vegetables. The lamb’s lettuce, which is meant to be for December is now almost ready. (State 11/20/2015)

Lamb's lettuce


There are two main possibilities to plant hors-sol vegetables. The first common one is rock wool. Rock wool is also used as isolation for houses. The second one is coconut fibre compost. This option is used by Greenhouse Beerstecher. Coco compost is dry, but when you squeeze it, plenty of water escapes.

Are there any other advantages?

Greenhouse Beerstecher has agreed to a flat rate with KEZO for the next 25 years, meaning they can use as much energy as they need. For example, if the weather is too humid they can use as much heat as they need to balance it out. This is a huge advantage because otherwise they would have to burn hundreds of litres of oil. The KEZO is even glad when the Greenhouse uses more heat, because they would have to do something else with it if it weren’t used by the greenhouse Beerstecher.

Zusammenfassung in Deutsch

Mit diesem Projekt wollten wir die Möglichkeit nutzen, die Vorteile der Fernwärme aufzuzeigen. In der Gemeinde Hinwil wurde ein Gewächshausprojekt für Gemüseproduktion errichtet, welches seit 2014 mit Abwärme aus der KEZO beheizt wird, auch sogenannte Fernwärme. Wir stellten uns die oben genannten Fragen, welche wir durch das Interview mit Herrn Thomas Beerstecher beantworten konnten. Thomas Beerstecher ist der Inhaber der Beerstecher AG.

Während dem äussert spannenden Interview haben wir zahlreiche neue Informationen in Erfahrung gebracht. Der Prozess um Fernwärme nutzen zu können, ist komplizierter als wir zu Beginn dachten. Während der Verbrennung von Abfällen in einer Kehrichtverbrennung entsteht extrem viel Hitze, welche wiederverwertet werden kann. Die dabei entstehende Wärme wird zuerst in Elektrizität umgewandelt. Während der Umwandlung wird die produzierte Hitze abgekühlt und absorbiert. Der Transport erfolgt in einem Rohrsystem. Somit kann bis zu 1‘600‘000 Liter Heizöl pro Jahr gespart werden, was wiederum CHF 960‘000.00 kosten würde.


Fernwärme bietet eine unglaubliche Möglichkeit, um Energie nutzen zu können. Sie ist nicht auf eine Energiequelle beschränkt, sondern kann zum Beispiel aus Kohle, Sonnenenergie und von Kehrichtverbrennungsanlagen produziert werden. Oftmals wird die Fernwärme aufgrund der hohen Kosten leider nicht genutzt.

Weitere Informationen zum Interview

Das Gewächshaus Beerstecher pflanzt Tomaten, Gurken und Paprika im Sommer und Radieschen, Kopfsalat und Feldsalat im Winter an. Es gibt ein weiteres, durchaus viel grösseres Gewächshaus in Dübendorf. Aus diesem Grund ist die Beerstecher AG der grösste Produzent für Migros und Coop. Jedes zweite von den oben genannten Gemüsen wird in lokalen Filialen vor Ort verkauft.

Source 1: Interview with Thomas Beerstecher

Source 2: KEZO – Zweckverband Kehrichtverwertung Zürcher Oberland (kezo.ch)

Created by Marina and Mara

☷ See the project teams here »
☵ Some words about the contributions »

4 thoughts on “Q68 – Long-Distance Heating

  1. Hallo Zusammen,
    eure Projektarbeit ist extrem spannend. Ich wusste bis heute nicht, wie das Greenhouse von innen aussieht. Die Bilder sind sehr aussagekräftig. Auch die Grafik ist sehr toll und hilft alles besser zu verstehen. Tolle Arbeit!

  2. Dear Team Q68
    Great Job! Your project is very good structured, pleasant and intresting.

    What i liked most was the relation between facts and graphics and your visit by Beerstecher Greenhouse. This is a good mixture. What i really enjoyed were the pictures between the text. They are very good and it is more appealing to read.

    What also would be intresting is, if the KEZO provides other objects with energy?
    Maybe this could be also an interesting point!

    Kind regards
    Sina Sturzenegger, VZA

  3. Hi Marina and Mara

    After seeing the Greenhouse every day from the outside on my way to school, was it really interesting to see some pictures from the inside. I didn\’t know that the Greenhouse is heated by the energy of KEZO. I think you explained, what long distance heating is, very good. I also like the graphic, it’s impressive how much oil and money can be saved by this heating method.
    I really enjoyed reading your post, good job!

    Best regards
    Yannick VZA

  4. Dear Marina and Mara
    In my opinion you made a great job with your contribution to the website. While reading your task I enjoyed most the exclusive insight to the «Beerstecher Greenhouse».
    The graphic gave a good impression of how much oil can be saved while using this source of energy. For me it was very impressive to see how energy from the KEZO can be used. It would be also interesting to know if anywhere in the world this source of energy is also in use or if there is anything similiar.
    But alltogether I liked your post very much.
    Kind regards

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