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Final Report Summary - FLUIDGLASS (FLUIDGLASS)

Executive Summary:
The FLUIDGLASS project ended by end of August 2017 after 4 years of research on new façade concept for multifunctional solar thermal glass facades systems. The FLUIDGLASS approach turns passive glass facades into active transparent solar collectors while at the same time controlling the energy flow through the building envelope. 11 partners were contributing to the results of the project, with an overall budget of 5,1 M€, and 3,9 M€ funding from European commission in the frame of FP7 framework.
The major objective of the FLUIDGLASS project was to develop an innovative concept of solar thermal façades for use at building and district level, increasing flexibility and energy efficiency. Basic principle of the concept is that liquid is circulated in spaces of transparent window panes, transforming passive façades into active collectors that are capable to react on changing interior and exterior environmental conditions. This opens new routes of advanced thermal building management embedded in energy networks at district level to significantly improve the thermal performance of the building envelope and the comfort for the user.
FLUIDGLASS unites four key functionalities in one integrated system: The system firstly acts as a fully transparent solar thermal collector, which enables harvesting of solar energy even in buildings with large glass share. It secondly acts as transparent insulation layer and thirdly controls the solar radiation transmission and inner glass surface temperature thus increasing the thermal user comfort and reducing the demand for heating, cooling and lighting. At the same time FLUIDGLASS substitutes conventional HVAC components such as cooling and heating panels.
Replacing four different systems by one, FLUIDGLASS brings a significant cost advantage compared to existing solutions. FLUIDGLASS increases the thermal performance of the whole building resulting in energy savings potential of 50%-70% for retrofitting and 20%-30% for new low energy buildings while the comfort for the user is significantly improved at the same time. Compared to state-of-the-art solar collectors FLUIDGLASS has the elegant but neutral aesthetics of clear glass. This allows full design freedom for the architect in new built applications and enables retrofits that do not destroy the original look of an existing building.
The crucial targets for a successful achievement of FLUIDGLASS objectives was the development of individual components fulfilling project targets concerning the adjustable transparency and the solar thermal collector function and to prove the potential of applying this technology to different types of buildings for all European climates. In a nutshell, the target for the transparency achieved in FLUIDGLASS was a variable g-value with a range from 0.6 to below 0.03. This was a completely novel approach for solar collectors and also well above the range of current state-of-the-art smart windows. Concerning the energy harvesting functionality an average collector efficiency exceeding 50% was envisaged. These target values have been achieved with prototype components at laboratory scale within the second project year and with an operating container prototype by the end of projects.
Despite the importance of development of individual components, the significant innovative aspect of FLUIDGLASS lied in the integration of the solar thermal façade as HVAC sub-system, responsible for significant increase of energy efficiency and decrease of operation costs. This approach connected generally divided activity of façade construction and HVAC (or whole building energy management systems).
To achieve full flexibility for validation a cost-effective solution was proposed. A intermodal shipping container was equipped with all auxiliary systems required for the developed system components. When integrated, validation tests have been performed at two locations – one representing southern European conditions (Nicosia, Cyprus) and one in a cold climate (Vaduz, Liechtenstein).
The proof of the potential of the product to act as a low temperature heating element was very successful. Additionally, performance results of shading and cooling aptitude in transition time showed a very good shading and cooling performance which was carried on in Cyprus where the container was shipped to generate measurement data in hot climate during summer. Regarding the validation of the simulation model there is a high accordance between the simulated and measured data which shows that the simulation type can be used to simulate yearly energy performance of different buildings in different climates.
Finally, business model has been developed with the evaluation of the custom segments, value proposition, channels, customer relationships, revenue streams, key recourses, key activities, key partnerships and cost structure. The business plan reveals that FLUIDGLASS delivers a special added value to the client desires compared to conventional solutions. It provides a system which does not exist on the market yet.
Project Context and Objectives:
The construction industry accounts for more than 10% of the EU's GDP and employs 32 million people in large, medium and small enterprises (direct and indirect employment). The creation and operation of built environment is the highest contributor to the emission of Green House Gases with an average value estimated in most developed countries at close to 33%, knowing that around 40% of the total energy use corresponds to buildings, while their fossil fuel heating represents a major share. Therefore, in the near future, the built environment in Europe needs to be designed, built, operated and renovated with much higher energy efficiency.
Due to the global urbanisation phenomenon the population growth is concentrated in cites while the rural population is expected to decrease. The creation of sustainable living and working spaces in cities will be a major challenge for architects and urban planners. City buildings, especially office buildings are dominated by glass architecture. Since transparency is an important element of architecture, many large-scale buildings are equipped with more transparent area than it would be recommended from an energetic and comfort point of view.
High solar irradiation during summer time results in overheating of the building. In wintertime the low U-values of the glazing result in huge heat losses and low surface temperatures leading to decreased comfort. Both effects, the overheating in summer and the low uncomfortable surface temperature of the glass in winter were traditionally compensated by a powerful cooling and heating system that consumes a huge amount of energy. Designing net-zero energy buildings has so far been limiting architecture: regarding the ratio of transparent and opaque parts and regarding the visual appearance.
Solar thermal collectors on the roof help to reach a sustainable energy level, but they are an additional limitation for architects. For high rise buildings the roof area becomes a minor part of the building envelope and plays a minor role for energy harvesting since it also hosts much technical infrastructure such as forced ventilation systems. Actively controlling the transmission of the solar radiation passing through the building envelope is crucial to exploit solar gains and to avoid overheating.
Nowadays, the main approach still relies on double and triple glazed windows to reduce these losses. No other new concepts have made it to the market yet. There is a need to develop new and innovative concepts of solar thermal façades, which significantly improve the thermal performance of the building envelope. To achieve this ambiguous goal, it is not sufficient to consider the opaque part of the envelope, a comprehensive approach is required that considers the whole building envelope including the transparent parts.
In FLUIDGLASS, a new and innovative concept of solar thermal façades was proposed to be developed for use at building and district levels, increasing flexibility and energy efficiency at both levels. Liquid can be circulated within the entire building envelope including transparent and translucent parts turning passive façades into active collectors that are capable to react on changing environmental conditions. This opens new routes of advanced thermal building management embedded in energy networks at district level to significantly improve the thermal performance of the building envelope and the comfort for the user.
The proposed project proposed to develop and implement a novel modular approach to match perfectly the application requirements with different types of absorbers (e.g. control of solar radiation by controlling the transmittance of in the fluid) and implementing up to two fluid layers (outer layer controls solar radiation, inner layer controls room temperature). New solutions for handling the static pressure and a sealing of the glazing unit has been introduced. The building simulation allows to determine effectively the best combination of the modular approach and recent progress in building energy management systems (affordable sensors and complex controllers) allows to integrate the FLUIDGLASS in the HVAC and operate in such a way that the thermal building performance increases significantly.
The FLUIDGLASS system has been validated in laboratory conditions and demonstrated in different real-life conditions and exposure scenarios. The real measured data, which is necessary for wide market acceptance has been collected and disseminated for faster market adoption.
The main objectives of the technical development of the FLUIDGLASS façade were:
• to design a modular concept of a transparent solar thermal collectors, which improve comfort of the user and at the same time absorb and utilize thermal energy for increased building performance,
• to develop a fully automatic device to control the transmittance of energy-absorbing fluid. The development of this system will provide fast transition between transparent and opaque mode of the façade,
• to develop a robust glazing unit (incl. edge seal stability), stable under various challenging conditions (e.g. physical, thermal, constructional, chemical) suitable for further industrial production,
• to develop an easy to install modular frame system, including a state-of-the-art integration into the new construction as well as refurbishments of commercial, public and residential buildings,
• to integrate the FLUIDGLASS system into the HVAC system and increase the use of renewable energy at building and district level via advanced thermal management capabilities (e.g. free cooling or free heating)
• to deploy and demonstrate the whole system under real conditions in at least 2 geographical locations with different exposure scenarios in hot and cold climate,
to assess the implications of such a system from an economical and legal point of view and demonstrate its economic benefits,
• to offer a unique and aesthetic reference design for eco-friendly buildings and whole district(s) in smart city.

Project Results:
All results of the project are summarized in the project publications, deliverables and in the AMBASSADOR webpage (
Following chapters describe the main S&T results obtained in key domains connected with the development of the FLUIDGLASS façade.

Façade development

Fluid-particles system
A fluid with the required specifications was found. It is Dowcal20 diluted in demineralized water, which fulfils the temperature requirements. To achieve the very low freezing point of -25°C a concentration up to 45% is required. The high concentrations lead to a viscosity increase and are very challenging for the particle selection. Therefore a concentration of 30% was mainly used as a compromise for the further investigation.
Concerning the fluid-particles system, magnetic particles are still preferred because it would allow a simple magnetic separation system, which has a low energy cost (see D2.7). Furthermore, as summarized in section 0, magnetic products are very promising however most of them do not fulfil the FG specification “black”. The iron oxide dispersions (magnetic) tested within the Sigma Aldrich products showed that PEG functionalization can be a good nanoparticle coating for the FG application. The optimization of the particles dispersion (fluid stabilizer, surfactant, (example with PVP)) can be important to stabilize the particles in the fluid.
The two products fulfilling the temperature tests are Xfast Black 0050 from BASF and Levnox from Lanxess. The Levanox is however not magnetic and therefore, for this time being, the product Xfast Black 0050 is recommended even if the particles depositions within the FG element could be an issue.
The study of the different components shows that hydrophobic materials are preferred for their chemical stability and to reduce the particles deposition. Furthermore, the geometry of the components, for example of the nozzle band, plays also an important role in the particles depositions. It is therefore recommended to use polyfluoropolymers (for example polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) or polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF)) for the components of the hydraulic circuit and within the glazing. As well, a hydrophobic coating, which is resistant against abrasion is necessary to avoid glass corrosion and minimize particles deposition.

Fluid connections, spacers
Fluid connections were developed and tested. The connections are tight even when they are submitted to temperature variations. Different concepts for spacers have been evaluated experimentally and numerically. FE-simulations of climatic loads show, that primarily due to the thermal gas expansion both panes of a fluid layer are subjected to a bowing in same direction, which provides a relative displacement between them. This makes impossible application of any punctual spacers with a reasonably small size and dense distribution for a low optical disturbance. Fixed spacer bonding on pane surface by welding or adhering provides very high notch stresses, whereas simply supported spacers will lead to high contact stresses and fretting. The concept of mechanical spacer fixation with small laser holes in glass additionally leads to inacceptable weakening of glass.
Structural problems in case of small punctual spacers due to their high local stresses, led to the development of the most appropriate solution from the structural and economical point of view – vertical strips. Application of plastic strips with considerably lower elastic modulus than of glass will significantly reduce the risk of glass damage due to the fretting. Plastic strips and nozzle bands can be made from the same material and bonded into one assembly providing very low production costs and easy mounting during the glazing production. The width of the strips can be chosen of the same order as the size of fluid cavity, providing acceptable optical disturbance.

Separation and distribution methods applicable in the FLUIDGLASS (FG) for the fluid-particle system were developed and tested.
First, fluid circuits were designed, and an evaluation of different separation and dispersion methods was carried out. According to this evaluation, different separation/dispersion methods were investigated. Two different methods were tested. A magnetic separation method and a filter with a reverse flow procedure. With both methods, the particles can be separated from the fluid and the dispersion process can be controlled to obtain several hues between clear and fully coloured FG element.
Several hydraulic circuits and separator/dispenser devices were designed built and experimentally tested for later application in the exhibition sample and the container. A setup with a two automated valves and tubular separator/dispenser has proven to be the most promising approach for further use. The operation of coloring and decoloring can be automated, but the degree of transparency of the FG cannot be controlled accurately. Main hurdle for longtime operation is the sedimentation of particles within the whole hydraulic circuit. In order compensate the effect of uncontrolled sedimentation additional particles are injected in the circuit.

Within the FLUIDGLASS project USTUTT in cooperation with ALCOA was responsible for the design of the FLUIDGLASS façade system. The design process comprised the choice of profiles for the Transom and Mullion solution (TMF) and for the Modular solution (MF). Moreover, it contained the adaptation of the profiles in order to match the FLUIDGLASS requirements, most of all the dimensions of the infill (width 60 mm) and its extensively higher loads compared to conventional glazing for facades.
At an early state of the project, USTUTT and ALCOA found out which of ALCOA´s façade systems are appropriate for modification in order to match those requirements. At the same time, it was clear, that crucial adaptations to the system would be needed. ALCOA performed finite-element-simulations for the profiles and defined all of the needed measures. Meanwhile, USTUTT concentrated on the design of the façade systems as a whole. During the project it turned out, that pipe-routing from the infill to the fluid-circuit box is crucial for a satisfying result of the façade design. USTUTT and ALCOA realized that the optimization of profiles, joints, gaskets, corner cleats etc. had to be executed at an early state by means of simulations and 3D CAD design. Thus, USTUTT and ALCOA developed a 3D model used as virtual mock-up based on standard profiles. During an optimization process the dimensions and the construction of profiles, joints and additional elements have been optimized, using the virtual 3D mock-ups. These measures were needed before the production of the profiles could start. As a consequence, the physical mock-ups, which have been built by USTUTT and ALCOA with the profiles and elements produced by ALCOA.

Prototypes manufacturing and testing
Two collectors for labscale testing were designed. Once the configuration, size and design of the collectors was defined, the different components were manufactured or ordered. The assembly of the first collector with one fluid layer took place at MTG. The second collector prototype with two fluid layers was assembled after finishing of the tests of the first one in order to be able to incorporate lessons learned. The collectors were connected to the hydraulic circuit developed and tested with several thermal and mechanical tests. The results of the tests were subsequently used to validate the simulation model developed.
HVAC system connection
FLUIDGLASS elements can be connected to regular HVAC hydraulics in new and existing building stock. If needed additional heat and cold generation devices, distribution systems and room conditioning devices, controllers and concepts for implementation are state of the art and available on the market.
The hydraulics for a fully functional FLUIDGLASS system need a smart individual planning supported by special FLUIDGLASS and building (simulation) models to find the optimum systems for each individual building and use case.
To make optimal use of the possibilities of a fully equipped FLUIDGLASS building a mixed use like offices, hotel, etc. seems to be most promising.
To reduce the chance of bugs in hydraulic control or wrong flow in the hydraulics a clear hydraulic system separation is recommended to avoid hydraulic short circuits, especially for change over systems. This can be done e.g. by electrical controlled valves in the distribution lines.
Different basic systems for heating and cooling the fluid layers are available. The final dimensioning has to be done for each individual use case based on standard HVAC dimensioning guidelines compared with FLUIDGLASS models.
For a FLUIDGLASS system a clear control interface will be necessary. Still the main heat and cold generation as well as the distribution can be handled by conventional HVAC controllers. These controllers can be connected to the special FLUIDGLASS controllers based on standard central building control system protocols.

Façade validation and demonstration
Design and assembly of the FLUIDGLASS container could be considered as the most important result of the project. The aims of the FLUIDGLASS container are the following:
- Demonstrate the successful integration of the FLUIDGLASS elements with the HVAC system and instrumentation & control infrastructure within an envelope comparable to the use in a building (small scale)
- Establish a test environment for long term system level tests in different climate zones (Liechtenstein, Cyprus)
- Provide measured data for a validation of FLUIDGLASS models on a system level (as compared to the validation of the glazing model enabled by the prototype measurements)
To reach these aims, the following measurements has been gathered from the container at a reasonably detailed sampling rate:
- Detailed energy balance for each fluid cycle (mass flow, inlet temperatures, outlet temperatures)
- Indoor and surface temperatures for each measurement room and all relevant glazing surfaces
- Detailed weather data (ambient temperature, relative humidity, horizontal and vertical solar irradiation, wind direction and speed)
The FLUIDGLASS project envisioned a field test container with the additional use as show room for dissemination purposes. Discussions among the consortium members have shown that while a container is a very good tool for field tests, there are several issues with its simultaneous use for dissemination.
• Although the container is mobile, transporting and placing needs great efforts. Interested audiences will therefore have to travel to the container for it to be used for dissemination, which will be difficult especially during the last 6 months of the project when it will be sited in Cyprus.
• Furthermore, the use at dissemination events such as trade fairs (i.e. Glasstec in Düsseldorf) will not be possible due to the transport/placing effort. A container design optimised for field tests will be less effective as a show room because the changeover times of fluid colouring will be relatively long
• Showing people around in the inside of the container, which would be an expected part of any tour, risks influencing the measurements and thereby affecting the effectiveness of the field tests
• Effects such as particle deposition on the glass over the course of the field tests might render the use for dissemination less useful
A solution was found within the consortium to optimize the two functions of field tests and dissemination:
• Splitting of the test container work into two equally important functional units:
o A container optimized for field tests - to increase the value of the field tests by reducing the FLUIDGLASS glazing to one facade and include thermal separation to create two identical measurement rooms. This allows testing FLUIDGLASS against a reference glazing during identical weather conditions
• A smaller, transportable show case element demonstrating the FLUIDGLASS concept which is able to demonstrate FLUIDGLASS fluid colouring and decolouring through fast colour changeover times

Container design
To obtain a testing room which can be placed both in Liechtenstein and in Cyprus, the transportation of the container is a basic aspect for choosing the container. Due to this requirement, the aim was to organize a 40’ shipping container which can be modified according to the needs of the field tests. After the modifications, the container can be re-certificated - ready for shipping.
The original container envelope consists of a metal envelope. The modification to simulate a real building environment consists mainly out of adding insulation to the envelope. The insulated container surface consists of: outer walls, roof, bottom and also the insulated separation wall between the two test-rooms. Moreover, four openings for the glazing and another entrance on the short side of the container have been added.
In order to be able to receive an insulated surface, the walls of the container had to be modified. The new walls consist out of insulation of a total thickness of 110mm and a wooden subconstruction. The walls and ceiling to the inside of the container is finished with OSB-boards. To optimize the insulation within the testing rooms, in this area the insulation is not realized with conventional but with high-efficient insulation. With this thermal insulation the same wall thickness can be achieved.
Inside of the container, there are two testing-rooms and two rooms for measurement tools and devices inserted. The two testing rooms are located in the middle of the container due to achieve the same measurement conditions, and are insulated with a high-tech insulation aerogel. The insulation has been chosen to achieve the U-value around 0.24 W/m2K and to minimize the wall thickness. To the left side of the container, there is the heating/cooling system integrated. To the right side the measurement and controlling system is located. The inner walls consist of dry construction and the separation wall between room1 and room2 can be easily removed.
In the cut-outs in the container envelope for the windows there is a transom/ mullion construction out of metal profiles installed. So the glazing can be easily changed for the different testing periods on the one hand and also for the transportation. During the transportation the openings of the container can be closed with OSB-board from the inside. During the shipping the devices etc. can be placed in the inside of the container.
The original floor of the container has been insulated and a double floor has been integrated.
The technical installation such as the installation for the fluid circle and the electrical installation is installed inside the accessible double floor. The hydraulic installation is installed openly under the ceiling of the container.
HVAC design and FLUIDGLASS hydraulic circuits
The key conditions influencing the design of the FLUIDGLASS container are:
- Glazing setup (Reference low emissivity, reference solar protection, FGGF clear, FGGF fully coloured)
- Ambient temperature (minimum and maximum, in measurement time and climate zones)
- Solar irradiation on the exposed container face (maximum, in measurement time and climate zones)
To determine the design parameters for the HVAC setup and the FLUIDGLASS hydraulic circuits, a simulation study was performed for the container by University of Liechtenstein using the building simulation tool TRNSYS.
The peak annual heating and cooling power demand (kW) as well as the total annual heating and cooling energy demand (kWh/m2) were determined within a pre-simulation with TRNSYSlite. To simplify the simulations the FLUIDGLASS window was represented in its extremal states (clear and fully coloured) with windows of equivalent properties in those states. These values were expected to be sufficiently conservative for the design phase of the container. Based on measured values and detailed control strategies the simulations can be extended to capture the effects of actual FLUIDGLASS control strategies.

Based on the design cases determined using the simulations of the container power and energy demands, the partners University of Liechtenstein, NTB and Hoval have designed and specified the container HVAC design and the FLUIDGLASS hydraulic circuits. It is important to mention that these designs show the state of the container design as it stands at the end of October 2016 that is used for the current container built. Depending on the experiences during the actual operations the design might be adapted and optimized on site to ensure the best possible container operations.

The automated circuit includes all components necessary for controlling and measuring the fluid flow rate, temperature and absorption rate (via the particle concentration). The setup was tested in the automated form during the trade fair Glasstec 2016 using the FLUIDGLASS show case and has shown good performance during the four days of the fair. The interior and exterior layer have separate fluid circuits, each circuit can accommodate between two and four FLUIDGLASS elements.

Show case element development and assembly
The aim of the exhibition sample was to have a showcase that could be presented at a fair. Development and assembly of the technical parts in the exhibition sample was performed by NTB. The exhibition sample was technical operational end of August 2016 and ready for the use .
The design and covering of the exhibition sample to be a showcase was done by UNILI. Several tests have been performed in order to determine the optimum configuration to show a background image behind the FLUIDGLASS with a LED Screen or just printed pictures. Finally, three different background situations have been picked to show that the FLUIDGLASS element is still transparent also in coloured shading mode. A white box to just attract the focus on the glass itself has been designed and built up .
Finally, the exhibition sample was exhibited at the Glasstec fair in Düsseldorf in September 20th – 23rd 2016. Coloring and delcoloring was shown for the first time to wider public.

Validation in cold/hot climate
The objective was to evaluate the thermal performance of the FLUIDGLASS in cold and hot climate. This was done with measurements of a test container in the winter (summer) months in a location in cold (hot) climate. The field test was carried out in Vaduz, with the container installed at the facilities of the University of Liechtenstein and in Nicosia, in the premises of CYRIC. The instrumentation was provided by INES and the controllers and measurement system was given by CYRIC, while UNILI was in charge of the implementation of the controlled strategies or scenarios and the measurements itself.
A measurement concept has been elaborated that has been followed up where possible and adopted were necessary. Different experiments were carried out to measure the thermal comfort and performance of the FLUIDGLASS system in winter with low outside temperatures. The different settings of mass flow, fluid inlet and outlet temperatures as well as room temperatures were controlled automatically or manually, depending on the experiment. The automated control panel was accessed online.
The outside conditions were measured with a weather station. The inside conditions of both of the test rooms in the container were also monitored with the use of different instrumentation. The data was collected daily and transferred to the simulation software TRNSYS to validate the information comparing it with the existing model. Different strategies were followed having as the main variables, the operative room temperature and the irradiance. For this aspect, different colourizations in the FLUIDGLASS were tested obtaining good results for its function as a shading device.
The measured results have been also evaluated and validated with the simulations to prove the accordance of model and measured values of the test container
The proof of the potential of the product to act as a low temperature heating element was very successful. Additionally, first performance results of shading and cooling aptitude in transition time showed a very good shading and cooling performance. The proof of the potential of the product to act as a cooling element was also very successful, keeping the room temperatures within the desired comfort zones even under extreme heat conditions and outside temperatures reaching 45°C . Additionally, enhanced performance results of combined shading and cooling function in summer conditions showed an improved performance, achieving low g-values comparable to reference glazing. Finally, the potential for use of FLUIDGLASS as a solar collector was validated with an excellent efficiency.
Regarding the validation of the simulation model there is a high accordance between the simulated and measured data which shows that the simulation type can be used to simulate yearly energy performance of different buildings in different climates. Optimistic observations concerning thermal comfort have been done. During sunny winter day in a room with standard glazing overheating might occur. Tests with colorization of the outer fluid layer showed a cooling effect of about 5 K compared to the reference room with a standard glazing. The colorization can cause a ratio of inner and outer vertical irradiation down to 0.05 nevertheless, offering sufficient translucency for required daylight at the same time. Further, the heat radiated by FLUIDGLASS produced less asymmetry of the surface temperatures in the room, compared to the heat emitted by the fan coil and the standard glass. A thermally symmetric environment is one of the most important aspects to reach a high thermal comfort category.
For hot climate, it could be proved that the cooling energy of FLUIDGLASS façade system is sufficient to achieve comfort temperatures of category A without needing any additional cooling from a supplementary fancoil cooling system. Additionally, enhanced performance results of combined shading and cooling function in summer conditions showed an improved performance, achieving low g-values comparable to reference glazing. Finally, the potential for use of FLUIDGLASS as a solar collector was validated with an excellent efficiency.

Potential Impact:
FLUIDGLASS is an adaptive façade system that integrates all buildings components concerning thermal comfort in one system: shading, solar thermal collector, cooling, heating and insulation. The customer saves technical components for the heating and cooling system as well as the shading device. With FLUIDGLASS the vision of fully glazed buildings with comfortable temperature controls and full flexibility concerning a comfortable light transmittance and full clear view, has become reality. Moreover, it is possible to create a comfortably energy flow also in the winter and transitional periods. The customer can let the room temperatures be totally controlled by FLUIDGLASS – always using the free solar energy.
Following customer`s requirements are fulfilled by FLUIDGLASS:
• one integrated system
• flexible system according solar radiation/ interior temperatures
• outer appearance of a regular window
• heating and cooling with renewable energies
• flexible shading in a wide range of g-values with clear view
• comfortable energy flows because of big surfaces
• no overheating, but full transparency
• good light transmittance despite shading
• control of energy flow of the building
In comparison to other conventional systems, FLUIDGLASS helps to solve problems which appear especially in buildings with a high percentage of glazed surfaces: overheating, too many components, little flexibility, massive interfere with the design of the building, no surfaces to install a solar thermal collector, to narrow range of different g-values of smart façades, insufficient thermal comfort, limited view to the outside.
Following benefits FLUIDGLASS can offer to the customer:
• Reduction in investment as FLUIDGLASS can replace up to four building components at once
• Energy savings in heating, cooling and light, because FLUIDGLASS can directly control and optimize the energy flow in the building
• Increased comport by controlling transmission of the surfaces
• good aesthetical integration to the outer appearance of glazing facades
• Lower energy requirement
• Reduction of operating costs
Additional to the product the customer receives services like consultation, installation and maintenance.
To evaluate the benefit of the product, it is necessary to consider the customer’s point of view and his fears, needs and wants. The customer needs a product which is not too high prized and the maintenance costs are comparable low, he expects reliability and a look which is comparable a conventional façade. He expects high comfort and environment friendly devices. His fears might be the long-term stability, since the product is a new component and experiences of a long-term use do not exist. Also, he might fear that the system is too complex due to the combination of several components in one element. Using a liquid inside of a building might cause a fear of the customer that there exists a risk that the fluid leaves the system.
Customers using FLUIDGLASS have a flair for innovative materials and are looking for an energetic, innovative overall concept. They emphasize the intelligent combination and effectiveness of building components. The customers are keen to integrate different functions within one façade element. In most cases, the customer’s buildings have a high percentage of glass surfaces, for which they fear an overheating with a standard façade system. The customer is attracted by the range of g-values which are possible and the visual freedom and light transmittance offered by FLUIDGLASS. They also emphasize the fact that using the outer layer of fluid is a suitable substitute for conventional sun shading.
With the future product FLUIDGLASS following customers should be addressed: architects, engineers, façade planers, project developer and private persons or companies with interest in innovative façade systems or clients who want to shift their existing façade to an energetically optimized level. The mentioned customers are searching for special solutions and are willing to invest more into the façade element instead of investing into several building parts of a conventional solution.
FLUIDGLASS can be used both in new buildings as well as in existing buildings. The system is interesting for multi floor buildings, in which conventional shading is very limited because of allowed wind loads. It is suitable for buildings with a high percentage of glass and the necessity for an intelligent HVAC-solution. Especially buildings, which have a bigger facade surface than the roof surface, are highly qualified to use FLUIDGLASS.
FLUIDGLASS would be preferably applied according to following building characteristics: Building use - commercial buildings, offices, schools, retail buildings, hospitals, hotels or airports, residential buildings also possible; construction type - curtain wall constructions, façades with a high glass share; both retrofit and new-built.
A market analysis of FLUIDGLASS in its complete function is not possible in a direct comparison to other systems, because FLUIDGLASS combines several components in one system and a comparable system is not accessible on the market yet. There is no direct competitor. Nevertheless, to benchmark FLUIDGLASS against existing systems and to make the possibilities and market chances visible, it is necessary to set up comparable building solutions.
The benchmark with other existing solutions shows clearly the advantages of FLUIDGLASS. Next to the standard building components like insulation, heating and cooling, there are special components as the function shading and solar thermal collector. These two elements will be analysed in detail to be able to evaluate the market chances for the single elements itself.
The document “Solar Heat Worldwide” version 2017 reveals the global market development and trends in 2016.
It becomes visible that the use of solar thermal energy is very high since many years. Although the market is on a high level, a growth rate of only 5% for 2016 has been delivered. Usual solar thermal systems are “facing challenging times” according to this research. This trend becomes visible in the continuous shrinking of the annual collector capacity, which declined from 18% in the period 2010/2011 to 5% in the period 2015/16. Especially, the large markets in China and Europe are under market pressure. Small-scale solar water heating systems for detached single-family houses and apartment buildings represent approximately 90% of the annual installations.
One major reason for the low growth rate is the increasing of the use of photovoltaic, because the prices for photovoltaic are shrinking and the heating systems with heating pumps are growing with photovoltaic as energy supplier.
Buildings usually require electricity and heat. In this respect, both technologies and the using of it make sense. Particularly in multi-storey buildings, the combination is of interest: photovoltaics could deliver high summer yields on the roof, while solar thermal energy on the façade can make good contributions to building heating.
Building-integrated, especially façade-integrated solar concepts have a significantly higher architectural relevance than conventional collectors mounted on the roof. This creates a new technological challenge for photovoltaics’ as well as for solar thermal - and new opportunities with innovative products.
Since the solar thermal heat systems which are on the market in the current situation have the disadvantages that they are not integrated in the whole building system, they do mainly exist on roofs, not on façades. The market growth shown here does represent the solar thermal market with the existing products. A development of the elements to an integrated building component would attract its use. FLUIDGLASS achieves to integrate different functions in one element, which gives an added value to the product compared to a standard solar collector. If a customer is mainly interested in the shading effect of FLUIDGLASS, he gets another feature – the solar collector system – additionally for free.
The potential for systems using flexible shading systems in the façade is very high. Switchable glass can change its light transmittance by changing the glass temperature or by the influence of electrical voltage. Both in the automotive sector and in the construction sector, the product could play a major role in the future. The global market is to grow from $ 2.34 billion in 2015 to about $ 8.13 billion in 2022 [3].
In the field of flexible shading systems there are several products on the market. Especially electrochromic systems have a good market chance, for example the product “Sage Glass”. Sage glass however, is not able to provide additional functions. FLUIDGLASS has a wider range of possible g-values and gives more value to the customer and the overall energy concept.
The FLUIDGLASS project disseminated its results to the European research and industrial community and targeted also all stakeholders in use of renewable energy and assured an on-going communication between the general public, municipalities, housing associations, architects and engineering consultants, equipment producers etc. on one side and partners of the project on the other. The dissemination strategy was set up in order to plan the best dissemination routes for the FLUIDGLASS results (e.g. through project webpage, project dissemination materials, FLUIDGLASS workshops, participating in events, clustering activities etc.).
The FLUIDGLASS website ( has been operational since November 2013. The webpage is considered as a successful tool for raising awareness of the project and its activities. In total the website had more than 17.000 users with their peak around the time of the FLUIDGLASS workshop (November 2015) and FLUIDGLASS event (July 2017). The website has been maintained during the whole course of the project.
During the project, several dissemination materials were developed including the project leaflet, project brochure, project roll-ups as well as several FLUIDGLASS videos. The first FLUIDGLASS video created by Swiss Radio and Television broadcasting company SRF was released summarizing the project basics, stressing the main technical principles and functionalities. FLUIDGLASS project was also presented in Euronews. Video shooting was done in the premises of University of Liechtenstein, where FLUIDGLASS container was installed at that time. Video spot includes description of the FLUIDGLASS basic principle as well as presentation of the FLUIDGLASS container. FLUIDGLASS project was also presented on the server Science technology today. Video spot contains the interview with project coordinator on basics of the FLUIDGLASS façade. Both videos are available on the FLUIDGLASS website.
FLUIDGLASS press release was prepared in the beginning and in the end of the project and shared through partners’ networks. Objective of this press release was to announce the end of the project, to highlight the main achievements and perspectives for future exploitation. In the relation with the FLUIDGLASS final event, numerous Cypriot national newspapers having the highest reading rates, presented articles dedicated to the FLUIDGLASS project’s scopes and targets.
Clustering activities were planned as a necessary part of the project dissemination. FLUIDGLASS project established closer links with with EU funded Smart Window and fluidised facade research projects (InDeWaG, EELICON, HarWin, MEM4WIN, SmartBlind, Winsmart). The main goal of discussion was to discuss and understand the positioning of the two projects towards each other, to identify common actions and share ideas on possible cooperation. Key common areas of interest were identified, action list proposed and further cooperation between the projects had been foreseen.
Publication of FLUIDGLASS results to relevant scientific and industrial periodicals, journals and key conferences in Europe was assured during the whole project lifetime. The project participated with a project booth in conferences such as BAU 2015 (January 2015, Munich), World Sustainable Energy Days 2016 (February 2016, Wels), Central Europe Towards Sustainable Building 2016 (June 2016, Prague) or GLASSTEC 2016 (September 2016, Düsseldorf) with also oral contribution from the project coordinator. Furthermore, the project was represented at Eurosun 2014 (September 2014, Aix-les-bains), Energy Forum (November 2013, Bressanone), Zukunftsperspektiven im Fassadenbau 2014 (June 2014, Vienna), Fassadentagung Verband SZFF (October 2013, Balsthal), Facade 2014 (November 2014, Luzern), Japanese Modelica Conference 2016 (May 2016, Tokyo), PowerBuilding & Data (May 2016, Zurich), MSE-Kolloquium 2016 at the TUM (2016, Munich), Fachforum Glas und Fenster (2016, Munich). Peer reviewed articles were prepared for 8th Energy Forum 2013 on Advanced Building Skins conference as well as Journal of Facade Design and Engineering and are available in respective proceedings.
FLUIDGLASS results were also disseminated through organization of FLUIDGLASS events, especially FLUIDGLASS training workshop for energy managers that took place in the frame of FLUIDGLASS M24 meeting in Oskar von Miller Forum premises in Munich, Germany in the beginning of November 2015. During the training event, the participants received not only information on the principle of the FLUIDGLASS façade system, but also on the possibilities of building façade refurbishment towards sustainable energy, as well as they were introduced to the first outputs of the FLUIDGLASS project. FLUIDGLASS was one of the core topics at the workshop dedicated to the glass application in architecture. Event was organize by MGT in Feldkirch, Austria in May 2016.
At the end of the project the FLUIDGLASS final event took place (Nicosia, Cyprus, July 2017). During the event the project was revealed to the public and the results were made well known to the audience. This was a very important action for the recognition of the project to the public and for giving the importance of project’s targets regarding the renewable energy management in building and district community level. The representatives from the whole project’s consortium were giving all the necessary information and gladly answering all the questions given from the public. The conference attracted a wide range of stakeholders from the whole value chain, such as representatives from the industrial sector and the public authorities, engineers from different field as well as students and private investors. Additionally, national media, having high broadcasted rates, covered the final conference of the FLUIDGLASS project and make it well known to the national audience.
FLUIDGLASS exploitation activities were designed in order to evaluate the collective impact potential of the consortium by evaluating the market potential and to determine product opportunities in relation to the customer/product requirements throughout the course of the project. In order to ensure a successful exploitation of the research results from project FLUIDGLASS, it was important to include the entire product value chain in both the development and the commercialisation of the product. The value chain for adaptive façade products was analysed in detail during the proposal phase and the consortium was selected to represent all steps necessary for the delivery of an integrated facade system.
Due to the modular nature of the product which was also reflected in the work package structure, the production of several independent units forms the first element of the value chain (glazing, frames, fluid circuit with separator and control). In a second step, these preliminary products were integrated into full FLUIDGLASS facade elements. The next step included provision of facade systems to potential clients, which includes consulting and building simulations, integration with building HVAC systems and the technical and commercial project management. Once a project has been awarded and was under way, the installation on site and afterwards the commissioning form the next steps of the value chain. Finally, the operation and maintenance of the system closes the value chain in focus.
Based on the discussion within the consortium it has become clear that a central product owner is necessary to integrate the FLUIDGLASS system, represent it in the market place and be able to take over the project risk. The installation and commissioning work will most likely be outsourced to contractors, which will be guided and supervised by the central product owner. The key relationships between the FLUIDGLASS Inc. and the other stakeholders in the value chain has been identified and described. The exact nature of this entity has not been decided; however several consortium members have expressed openness to explore the possibility of a joint venture to take over this function. The discussions within the consortium are ongoing, with the aim to have a working structure for the successful exploitation. A key consideration is to ensure that the interests of all partners (industry and research) are met by the structure and contractual set-up of the exploitation strategy.
List of Websites:

Project coordinator
• Anne-Sophie Zapf, MSc Arch (University of Liechtenstein)
• E-mail:
• Tel: +423 265 11 42

Project manager / Dissemination manager
• Dr. Václav Smítka (Amires s.r.o.)
• E-mail:
• Tel: +420 732 304 379

Exploitation manager
• Ms. Jessica Stelljes (GlassX AG)
• E-mail:
• Tel: +41 44 389 10 71