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ECO-SEE Report Summary

Project ID: 609234
Funded under: FP7-NMP
Country: United Kingdom

Periodic Report Summary 2 - ECO-SEE (Eco-innovative, Safe and Energy Efficient wall panels and materials for a healthier indoor environment)

Project Context and Objectives:
Significantly decreasing energy consumption in buildings, in line with national government and EU Directives, requires more air tight construction combined with much higher insulation levels. An unintended consequence of this approach has been deterioration in the indoor environmental quality, resulting from significantly reduced ventilation rates and the accumulation of airborne pollutants, and this is a bottleneck to successful implementation of legislation. The ECO-SEE solution to this problem is to develop novel building products with the capacity to improve the quality of the indoor environment using their intrinsic chemical and physical qualities, as well as through improved design modelling to enable more effective utilisation of these products for the betterment of indoor environmental quality.

ECO-SEE aims to develop novel hygrothermal and VOC-capture materials and new photocatalytic coatings, including use of nanotechnologies. The advances proposed go well beyond the start of the art to improve the indoor environment by developing: i) novel process to enhance the IEQ contribution of component materials; ii) application of doped photocatalytic coatings onto vapour permeable and wood based substrates; iii) integrated wall panel products for holistic IEQ improvement (including comfort and noise reduction); and iv) developing an holistic design tool to support implementation. ECO-SEE prototype products will be taken to proof of concept through field and implementation testing trials. Product development will be supported by life cycle analysis (LCA) and life cycle costing (LCC) to ensure delivery of lower environmental impact and improved performance.

ECO-SEE will develop natural bio-based insulation materials (sheep’s wool, cellulose, hemp-lime and hemp-fibres), vapour permeable and hygrothermal finishes (lime, lime-hemp and clay plasters), and zero/very low VOC wood-based products, to create both internal partition and external highly insulated wall panels. These technologies must deliver lower embodied energy, enhanced durability and lower costs compared to current market solutions to be acceptable. ECO-SEE will achieve this through innovations in material selection, material processing and material application, and holistic solutions that recognise the full contribution of all components to performance. The expected impact of adopting ECO-SEE technology will be to create healthier and more energy efficient buildings, and reduce post-build costs to remedy poor indoor environments.

ECO-SEE panels will use novel photocatalytic coatings, suitable for interior spaces and applied for the first time to lime and wood based substrates, to improve interior comfort levels, including air quality, thermal, moisture and noise levels. These will create a breathing envelope using natural materials that, in themselves, will reduce pollutant and embodied energy levels, but more significantly will interact with their surroundings to control airborne pollutants levels (including VOCs, humidity, microbiological agents and mould growth), create low energy and acoustically healthy indoor environments. Novel material development will be completed in partnership with world-class experts in indoor environmental quality (IEQ). The ECO-SEE project seeks to create a new holistic modelling framework that combines air quality, hygrothermal performance and acoustic quality, to maximise the IEQ benefits of deploying our novel materials and products. This, combined with training for stakeholders, will accelerate the adoption of the ECO-SEE components and combined ECO-SEE panels.

ECO-SEE project Scientific and Technological objectives are:
• In Work-Package 1 (WP1) create full scientific characterisation of the VOC capture potential and hygrothermal behaviour of selected eco-materials to provide the basis for product development.
• In WP2 develop innovative photocatalytic coating solutions for the improvement of IAQ, tailored to specific application onto timber and lime based internal surfaces.
• In WP3 create a range of compatible and novel insulation, panel and vapour permeable and hygroscopic coating materials.
• In WP4 develop a holistic IEQ modelling tool that incorporates heat and moisture transfer effects, indoor air flow and quality, and acoustic performance and which will support commercial implementation of ECO-SEE products.
• In WP5 produce novel, fully functioning prototype insulation materials, novel coating materials and both internal and external versions of the ECO-SEE wall panel products.
• In WPs 6 and 7 complete proof of concept testing, demonstration and evaluation of the ECO-SEE wall panels in large-scale test cells, field trials and pilot building projects.
• In WP8 complete life cycle assessment (LCA) and life cycle costing (LCC) of the ECO-SEE products.

Project Results:
Progress on each WP, together with main results, is outlined below.

2.1 WP1: Characterising the role of eco-materials in passive indoor environmental control
WP1, completed in M15, has delivered following results:
• A holistic definition for indoor environmental control to enable comparative analysis of alternative eco-materials for IEQ regulation. This has been published in a publically available report.
• Physical and fire resistant properties have been determined.
• Moisture buffering performance and VOC capture potential of all materials has been completed.
• The micro-biological resistance and specific emission rates have been fully characterised.
• Chemical and micro-structural property characterisation of all materials has been completed.
• Stakeholder attitudes and perceptions of proposed eco-materials have been assessed and are available in a publically available report.
• Whole-life performance analysis of existing products has been completed.

2.2 WP2: Innovative photocatalytic coatings for indoor air quality improvement
WP2 has successfully completed with following results:
• Industrial end user requirements for the photocatalytic coatings have been established.
• Performance comparison of doped nanoparticles to improve photocatalytic activity in the visible light range has been completed.
• The dispersion and homogeneous introduction of doped photocatalytic nanoparticles in lime renders has been successfully achieved.
• Formulations for use on wood based panels has been successfully developed.
• Laboratory scale testing has been completed.

2.3 WP3: Beyond state of the art eco-materials for passive environmental control
To date results from WP3 include:
• Successful development of sheep’s wool insulation with improved VOC capture.
• Development of novel wood based panel materials using additives to reduce VOC emissions.
• Development of lime and clay plasters with improved moisture buffering potential and thermal insulation properties.
• Completion of laboratory scale characterisation of novel materials.

2.4 WP4: Develop design tools for holistic assessment of IEQ
This on-going WP is tasked with developing models to optimise deployment of eco-materials for improved IEQ. Results to date include:
• Function definition of pollutants for modelling.
• Development of hygrothermal modelling.
• Calculation model for acoustic performance.

2.5 WP5: Production scale up of eco-materials for passive indoor environmental control
WP5 has successfully completed, including the following results:
• Upscaling protocols developed for photocatalytic coatings.
• Prototype wall panels design and testing complete.
• Publically available report of on durability of materials complete.
• Prototype wall panels successfully produced for demonstration WPs.

2.6 WP6: Field-test validation and energy performance simulation of developed materials
WP6 commenced during the second reporting period and is tasked with conducting comparative field trials of test cell using eco-materials with a standard solution. The test cells are located in two sites: Swindon (UK) and Seville (Spain). Results to date include:
• Construction of four test cells.
• Completion of design guidelines for ECO-SEE construction.

2.7 WP7: Implementation testing: proof of concept; energy efficiency
WP7 aims to assess the ‘proof of concept’ performance of the prototype panels and new products in four real full-scale projects. There have been some difficulties (overcome) finding suitable sites, and results to date include:
• Selection of four test sites (1 in Spain, 1 in Italy, 2 in UK)
• Installation of materials in test sites.
• Commencement of performance monitoring.

2.8 WP8: LCA/Environmental assessment and cost analysis
Over the lifespan of the project WP8 will complete LCA and LCC of ECO-SEE materials and products. Results to date include:
• Agreement on parameters for LCC and LCA.
• Preliminary LCA report completed.

2.9 WP9: Dissemination and Exploitation
WP9 is tasked with communication and exploitation activities, including developing business models for the ECO-SEE materials. To date three stakeholder workshops and three exploitation workshops have been successfully completed. Other dissemination activities are progressing well, with presentations at ECOBUILD 2016 and other events planned in 2017.

2.10 WP10: Financial and Administrative Management
The financial and administrative management tasks have been progressing to plan.

2.11 WP11: Scientific Management and Coordination
Scientific management and coordination has been progressing to plan.

Potential Impact:
The ECO-SEE project has successful developed to demonstration stage a range of innovative construction materials and a wall panel system to deliver improved indoor environmental quality for building users. Novel materials include: improved sheep’s wool insulation; photocatalytic treated wood panel and lime plaster systems; clay and lime based plasters with enhanced moisture buffering properties. A range of designs for external (insulating) and internal wall panels have also been produced. Combined these innovative products will deliver solutions with significantly reduced embodied energy and through design achieve longer life at lower build cost. This will enable future construction of a range of building types using these products with wider benefits to society through healthier buildings and reduced climate change impact of construction by using more sustainable resources whilst also requiring less energy.

List of Websites:


Peter Walker, (Director BRE)
Tel.: +44 1225 386646
Record Number: 193316 / Last updated on: 2017-01-17
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