The EU-funded HIFIVENT (High durability and fire performance WPC for ventilated façades) project developed a fully recyclable ventilated façade system for outdoor construction applications made of high-durability wood plastic composites (WPCs). The solution will boost resistance to weather, improve mechanical and fire properties, and enhance mechanical performance. Work began by modifying raw materials, namely natural fibres and nanoparticles, to improve the durability and fire performance of WPCs. Natural fibres, polymers, fire retardants and additives were selected for the compounding process of WPCs. Project partners investigated the durability, fire performance and mechanical properties of over 60 formulations, 5 of which were chosen for upscaling. They also examined to what extent the compounds could be processed and recycled. The formulations needed some modifications to produce good quality profiles. The viability of using WPCs was studied based on mechanical and thermal simulations. Different alternatives were proposed based on wood, aluminium and WPC structural profiles and cladding. This led to a WPC ventilated façade design. The design and components were then characterised according to various EU building laws and standards for construction work. Results were very promising for fire reaction performance and the wind load test. As a first step towards commercialisation, market and life cycle analyses were conducted, and a business plan was drawn up. HIFIVENT developed a new generation of high-performance and environment-friendly ventilated façade systems made of highly recyclable and non-hazardous products. With its preservative treatment of WPCs, the solution will provide longer service life because of its superior durability while improving resistance to fire.
Building façades, HIFIVENT, ventilated façades, wood plastic composites