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Materials for building envelope


Specific challenge: When improving the level of energy performance of buildings in operation, embodied energy in materials presents an increasingly high percentage of the energy spent in the whole life cycle of a building. The same applies for CO2. Therefore, the development of new sustainable construction materials with lower embodied energy and lower CO2 emissions is needed. New approaches in material science and production technologies will help to minimize the embodied energy of the main construction materials such as concrete, glass, gypsum, ceramics or steel, involved in the structure, envelope and other building components of energy efficient buildings. At the same time, components with improved insulation and air tightness properties (which are influenced by construction tolerances) are needed, aiming at the overall target of reducing energy consumption and CO2 emission during the whole life cycle. Higher insulation can be achieved by improving bulk or surface properties in combination with novel mortars, plasters and coatings.

Scope: Proposals should address the development of new materials and/or solutions for building envelope components with reduced embodied energy, lower CO2 emissions and improved insulation properties during operation. The new components may also contribute to improve indoor air quality, by limiting VOCs emissions and/or by advanced properties aiming to absorb and biodegrade indoor contaminants. The proposed solutions should go well beyond the state of the art and take into account the final performance properties of the new materials and of the respective building components.

The following factors should also be considered: enhanced durability for increased use duration, reduced maintenance and consequently reduced costs, respect of sustainability principles (the sustainability of each developed solution should be evaluated via life cycle assessment studies carried out according to the International Reference Life Cycle Data System - ILCD Handbook); application to both new build and renovation; lightweight construction and ease of installation; realistic solutions at a reasonable price; increased comfort and noise reduction. Recycling/reuse of materials may also be addressed. Standardisation aspects can be considered particularly in relation with the work carried out in CEN/TC 350.

Proof of concept in terms of one (or more) component(s) containing the new materials developed should be delivered within the project, excluding commercially usable prototypes (2006/C323/01), but convincingly demonstrating scalability towards industrial needs. Information guides for applications, installation and training on the new solutions should be provided before the end of the project. The participation of public authorities may also be an asset for the proposals, as public authorities own a large part of the building stock at European level.

To maximise their impact, the funded projects will be expected to cluster with each other in order to facilitate research cohesion, integration, and advancement of the EeB-PPP agenda.

For this topic, proposals should include an outline of the initial exploitation and business plans, which will be developed further in the proposed project.

Activities expected to focus on Technology Readiness Level 6 and above.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU between EUR 3 and 6 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected impact: Compared to state of the art materials and components, the newly developed materials should bring:

                   Reduction by at least 30% of the embodied energy and CO2 at component level;

                   Improvement by at least 20% of insulation properties;

                   Reduction by at least 15% of the total costs compared to existing solutions;

                   Demonstration of at least a 5% reduction of the energy spent during the whole life cycle of a building;

                   Improvement of the quality of information from product manufacturers to facilitate better decision making;

                   Strengthening of the competitiveness of the European construction sector in the field of “green” construction technologies.

Type of action: Innovation Actions.