CORDIS - Forschungsergebnisse der EU

Functional Adaptive nano-Materials and technologies for energy efficient BUILDings

Final Report Summary - FOAM-BUILD (Functional Adaptive nano-Materials and technologies for energy efficient BUILDings)

Executive Summary:
The first external thermal insulation composite system (ETICS) was built over 50 years ago in Berlin, and the systems have since then become common throughout the EU. An ETICS is a useful protection of the façade and a versatile element when it comes to retrofitting: ETICS can be used for new buildings and for renovating existing buildings. Moreover, if the surface of the façade is weak and could not carry the weight of the ETICS, it is possible to use anchors for fixation. Of course an ETICS can also be used for individual façade designs.
FoAM-BUILD used nanotechnology in the development of materials with lower thermal conductivity and incorporated halogen free flame retardancy, for application within façade systems. Health issues are also addressed in the project; by protecting the façade system against mould, algae and fungi with a multi-functional element, FoAM-BUILD solves existing problems concerning health and environment – less material needed for maintenance and renovation.
New types of nucleating agents for particle foaming have been studied in an extrusion process. A wide range of cell sizes were created and it was possible to lower the cell size of polystyrene foams with low density. The autoclave process was introduced to further reduce the cell sizes. Nano-cellular foams were achieved.
Thermoplastics, with their inherent benefits, have been combined with nano-technology to produce a solution using polystyrene bead foams and silica aerogel. The resulting concept is an efficient alternative solution in the handling and installation of aerogels, results in a 30 % lower thermal conductivity and up to 30 % lower thickness than conventional panels. This new technology also led to new EPS panels and to update of standards. To eliminate halogenated flame retardants halogen free compounds were developed, meeting the flame retardancy standard DIN 4102 B2 with densities as low as 22.5 kg/m³.
The growth of microorganisms like algae and fungi has been investigated under several static and dynamic conditions. For this purpose a new testing device was developed and tested. CFD and hygrothermal simulations were also performed to investigate the influence of an air stream on the water content of a façade surface under different ambient conditions.
The gathered data serves as a basis for a sensor based moisture control system. The moisture control system improves the long-term behaviour of external thermal insulation composite systems (ETICS) and simultaneously reduces the renovation effort. FoAM-BUILD prevents algae and fungi growth on the façade without the use of non-environmentally friendly chemical substances. The innovation consists of a maintenance free sensor network and intelligent moisture prediction system that controls a ventilation system which is drying the façade surface.
A new nozzle for applying mortar to EPS has been developed which reduces the amount of adhesive used by approximately 7 % whilst maintaining a high pull-off strength.
New mortars, Armatop X-press and Alsitop SF, decrease the overall ETICS construction time and increase general efficiency by reducing the curing time.
All newly developed systems/ elements have been implemented in demonstrators showcasing the technologies.
Project Context and Objectives:
The most commonly used insulation strategy in the EU at present are ETICS, consisting of separate adhesive, anchors, rails, thermal insulation material, base coat, glass fibre mesh for reinforcement, and plaster. State-of-the-art ETICS require a thick layer of insulation material to achieve the desired thermal properties. This increased thickness results in a large dead-load and greater greenhouse gas emissions due to the massive and resource intensive elements necessary. Many ETICS also incorporate persistent, bio-accumulative and toxic (PBT) substances, making them non-sustainable. Facades are also vulnerable to moisture, which decreases their service life and leads to the growth of microorganisms.
Project outline and idea:
To comply with current and future building codes and regulations as well as to reduce the overall CO2 emissions it is necessary to improve building insulation system. The FoAM-BUILD project therefore aimed to develop thermoplastic particle foam using newly developed raw materials, additives and processing set-ups to reduce the thermal conductivity of the foam. A nano-scaled structure was used for the particle foam cell morphology to achieve the targeted insulation behaviour; new polymer blends and nano-scaled nucleating agents in combination with a new high-pressure drop rate expansion process were developed to realise the nano-cellular foam.
To reduce waste, FoAM-BUILD aimed to improve the long-term behaviour of ETICS and simultaneously reduce the renovation effort through the development of a new active moisture monitoring and control system to prevent the growth of algae and fungi on the façade surface. A control system needed to be established based on a sensor network to measure moisture and liquid water. Data from the sensors was combined with an intelligent system for moisture prediction, which responds by activating a ventilator system to dry targeted areas of the façade. This also leads to a healthier environment around the building, as no harmful substances are used to avoid the growth of microorganisms.

FoAM-BUILD addressed the following limitations of existing external insulation systems:
• Insulation efficiency – by harnessing the inherent benefits of thermoplastics (polystyrene), and combining them with nano-technology to produce lightweight, highly efficient nano-cellular foams with up to 50 % reduction in thermal conductivity down to 0.023 W/mK.
• Economic barriers – by using cost-effective new materials and processes, and demonstrating the economic benefits through a detailed cost analysis at all stages of the process (to include raw materials, production costs, purchase price, installation and maintenance costs).
• Design constraints – by delivering significantly thinner insulation elements (reduced thickness of 30-40 %) to achieve the same or better insulation behaviour.
• Fire risk – by developing new, non-brominated fire retardants, and incorporating them into the new foamed material fulfilling at least standards on EN 13501 Class C.
• Durability – by developing a complementary and intelligent moisture control system for the external surface of the insulation, inhibiting growth of fungus, algae or other biological organisms for the whole lifetime of a facade (20-50 years).
• Speed and ease of installation – by developing an easy and simple fixing system compatible with the new insulation elements, and appropriate for a wide range of surface finishes.
• Environmental footprint – by eliminating harmful or toxic substances in the insulation elements and by reducing the energy consumption of buildings, and thus their carbon footprint.
• Health concerns – by avoiding volatile organic compounds, inhibiting the growth of biological organisms, and contributing to the maintenance of a more uniform and comfortable internal environment with emphasis on sick building syndrome.
The materials and systems developed were tested and demonstrated within the project by industrial end users in the consortium, with the creation of a demonstrator insulation material (Norner Research, Sunpor, Fraunhofer ICT), sensor network and intelligent system (Demokritos, Ateknea Solutions, Fraunhofer IGB), ventilation system (Fraunhofer ICT, DAW SE, Demokritos) and a full-scale façade system (DAW SE, TBC). All developments were accompanied by life-cycle analysis (SRSP) to ensure economic and ecological viability (including carbon footprint and recyclability). NEN evaluated the possibility of standardization for the FoAM-BUILD developments.

Scientific and technological objectives of FoAM-BUILD
FoAM-BUILD focussed on nanotechnology solutions in the development of new insulation material and flame retardants, and combined these with new designs and processes. In this approach new materials e.g. polymer blends and additives were developed in parallel with the new compounding processes, composite processing as well as foaming processes.
To achieve the overall aim of creating a holistic new ETICS for commercial application, research and development in FOAM-BUILD covered three areas:

1. Improvement of the insulation material using nano-technology
a. Thermal insulation material
The FoAM-BUILD project developed thermoplastic (polystyrene) particle foam using newly developed raw materials, additives and process set-ups. A nano-scaled structure was used for the particle foam cell morphology to achieve the targeted insulation behaviour; new polymer blends and nano-scaled nucleating agents in combination with a new high pressure drop rate expansion process was developed to realize the nano-cellular foam. Additionally aerogels were incorporated into polystyrene bead foams in different ways, to achieve the above mentioned goals.

b. Advanced environmentally-friendly flame retardancy using nano-based synergists
Non-brominated flame retardants based on phosphor in combination with synergists have been integrated in the newly developed foam to ensure highly efficient fire protection with small added amounts. The incorporation into the bulk of the foam was achieved by an extrusion process (main feed/side feed).

The materials and system developments were supported by simulation of the new concept.
2. Improvement of the moisture control by active monitoring and ventilation
The aim of FoAM-BUILD was to improve the long-term behaviour of ETICS and simultaneously reduce the renovation effort through the development of a new sensor and drying system preventing the growth of algae and fungi. Wetness of the building surface cannot be avoided; however targeted drying can prevent conditions arising in which microorganisms thrive. FoAM-BUILD prevents algae and fungi growth on the façade without using environmentally damaging chemical substances like algicides or fungicides. The innovation consists of a sensor network, acquisition and processing system, and ventilation system.

a. Moisture prediction and monitoring sensor network
A sensor network to measure moisture at specific points of the outer façade surface, as well as outdoor environmental conditions was targeted for development. The position of the sensors was evaluated by computer simulation of the critical points on the façade. The sensors meet the following requirements:
• Measurement of wall surface moisture and temperature
• Low cost of the sensor package (under 1000 € for whole network and control unit)
• Low power: the total energy consumption of the sensor network is lower than 1 W in active mode, and the network works at a duty cycle of 10 % or less, thus allowing it to be powered by small energy amounts from energy harvesting sources such as solar panels, or alternatively household power lines. This results in a yearly energy consumption of less than 1 kWh
• Lifetime of the sensors of 50 years
• Sensors can be applied below the plaster of the façade, and resist the alkaline ambience

b. Moisture reduction by active ventilation system
FoAM-BUILD developed an active drying system for the outer surface of the façade by an airflow to avoid algal and fungal growth. This airflow has been simulated by numerical computer simulation, which enables calculation of the necessary position of vents, velocity, temperature and dryness. The new system was incorporated into the façade. The moisture reduction system met the following objectives:
• Sustainable protection against algae / fungi growth on façade surface
• Increase of lifetime (factor 4) of the outer surface to 20 years (reduction of restoration)
• Avoiding the use of chemical substances
• Energy consumption: power can be covered by the energy of 1m² solar panel for 40 m² surface
• Easy to install
• Low cost
• Lowering the water content to under 10 g/m² in less than 2 hours
It was based on a fundamental understanding of algae / growth conditions:
• Needed environment for growth
• Empirical testing of the system / validation of simulation

A virtual model of the system demonstrates the transferability of the developed technologies to other applications. A standardisation work package (led by the experienced partner NEN) ensured that European standards are fulfilled and adjusted to the new developments. Finally, the project included a work package for dissemination and training activities to ensure that results are shared with the wider scientific and industrial community.
Project Results:
The major achievement of FoAM-BUILD was the development of a flame retardant high performance insulation material for ETICS. Two main types of materials were investigated: polystyrene foams and composite aerogel-polystyrene foams. The material design was supported by a proper establishment of key targets for design generated by the industrial partners (Sunpor, DAW SE) as well as by thermal simulations made by partner TBC, considering both the insulation board and integrating it in the ETICS and the whole building.
The following subchapters will explain the results which lead to the ETICS system as a whole.

1. Polystyrene based insulation
Modification of nanosilica in the development of DOPO based flame retardants
DOPO is a phosphor-based flame retardant that has been used with success in a broad range of polymers due to its double flame retardant activity both in the gas and condensed phase and its enhanced activity upon its chemical modification. Norner Research suggested the possibility of upgrading the flame retardant activity of nanosilica by attaching DOPO to its surface. Elkem, a producer of nanosilica and former project partner, took responsibility for executing the synthesis task and DOPO-nanosilica hybrids was produced with success.
The synthesis of this novel hybrid flame retardant opens opportunities for the application of these hybrid compounds in the flame retardancy of other polymers.

Development of halogen-free flame retardants (HFFR)
The project targeted the development of halogen-free flame retardants for polystyrene foams (expandable polystyrene (EPS)) due to the environmental challenges posed by the use of HBCD, a flame retardant that was recently banned for use in polystyrene foams in Europe. The activity was extensive considering the relative low activity of HFFRs compared to brominated flame retardants which were the target for replacement. Candidates proposed by Fraunhofer ICT and Norner Research AS were screened, including the hybrid DOPO-nanosilica. During the screening phase, it was identified that mixtures of commercial flame retardant compounds modified with additional flame retardants and processed in the particle foaming process reached the flame-retardant targets needed for their application in ETICS. The polystyrene based foams were further developed by selecting the most favourable polymer matrix and the loadings of flame retardants. The concept was successfully up-scaled by Fraunhofer ICT and incorporated in the demonstrators by DAW SE.
Beyond the environmental benefits, these HFFR polystyrene compounds are especially advantageous in foams where conventional brominated polystyrenes do not reach the required flame retardant performance, for instance in composite foams where a higher flame retardant activity in the condensed phase is required.

Development of advanced polystyrene foams for improved insulation performance
The development of a nano-sized cell structure in low density polystyrene based foams was conducted by incorporating nano-scaled nucleating agents as well as by developing new processing routes. Reaching the desired morphology is a requirement in order to achieve the targeted low thermal insulation performance.
The work in FoAM-BUILD, performed mostly by Fraunhofer ICT and Norner Research, was focused on material and process development. It developed systematically from examining opportunities in the conventional foaming process of EPS using pentane-loaded granules through to autoclave foaming with CO2. The list of screened nucleating agents was broad; micro and nano particles as well as oligomers and polymers of various types were tried. The conventional EPS process resulted in low densities and in cell sizes which, although low, were too high to meet the target. On the other hand, the quick decompression of CO2 from high pressures achieved in autoclave foaming resulted in submicron cell sizes but densities close to the polymer density. The autoclave foaming with CO2 was the most promising starting point for further process and material development. The effect of the polystyrene matrix was also studied by using commercial materials with broad variations in molecular weight and rheology. Modification of commercial grades was also tested. The most promising matrices were selected for the follow-up work. Interestingly, it was found that a specific type of acrylic polymer and a silicon-based nanoparticle were the most promising nucleating agents which resulted in porous structures with submicron morphologies. Later a multistage autoclave foaming process was studied and resulted in submicron morphologies and bulk densities in the order of 150-300 kg/m³. Additionally, the system with silicon-based nanoparticles was studied in detail by using various polystyrene grades, various nanoparticle modifications and various loadings. The results from this study identified promising leads for follow-up work in future projects.
Despite those efforts, the trials did not result in the targeted density and cell size, but significant improvements were made in the project in this direction. Follow-up projects should be envisaged following the most interesting leads identified during the project.
Submicron porous polystyrene based materials, the main outcome of this activity, may have relevance in other fields where the enhancement of the surface area per volume or weight unit is important, such as ion exchange resins, waste water treatment and catalyst (biocatalyst) supports.

Polystyrene – Aerogel composite insulation
Silicon-based aerogels (AGs) have some of the lowest thermal conductivity values reported in the open literature, and have therefore been used as additional possibility to achieve the FoAM-BUILD goals. Aerogel production is currently still expensive and therefore the application has been limited by cost and availability. It is therefore one option to use hybrid aerogel-polystyrene foam materials to reach an intermediate optimal balance of cost and performance between EPS and aerogels. Aerogels are commercially produced as granules around 1mm in size or as 1 cm thick sheets comprising aerogel granules, fibers and binders. This second option is more costly but solves many issues related to the handling of the granules. The granules could, however, be integrated in the present process for the fabrication of the insulation boards. Fraunhofer ICT and Norner Research, supported by DAW SE, advanced the development of composites insulation boards with both aerogel types, which finally led to a successful implementation of the sheets in the EPS. The paragraphs below will explain this process in detail.

Development of aerogel sheet – EPS composites
As a clear option, sandwich structures made of aerogel sheets and EPS were developed, upscaled and included in the demonstrators of the project. Several issues related to the integration of the materials in the ETICS were successfully solved. These issues appeared in particular regarding the anchoring, adhesion between layers and fire performance (fig. 1).
The composites of EPS and aerogel sheets are a proof of concept of the advantages of the composites. However, the sandwich structure has some disadvantages when it comes to the fabrication of the insulation boards. Nowadays, these insulation boards are made from large EPS blocks produced in an inexpensive process. The integration of aerogel sheets therefore results in an additional processing step.

Development of aerogel granules – EPS composites
The other option is to mix the aerogel powder with EPS with subsequent sintering. Trials showed that producing blocks of foams comprising aerogel granules and EPS beads with higher aerogel content is not possible due to the lack of adhesion between the AGs granules and the polystyrene beads, as well as fire behavior issues that appear once the two types of materials are put together. As a solution to this challenge, aerogels were coated with a flame-retardant adhesive that was formulated in the project. The solution was successful in the laboratory screening but has shown inconsistencies when up-scaled, showing the need of further RTD efforts (fig. 2).
The hybrid materials, comprising aerogel sheets or granules, comply with the target for the thermal conductivity and result in an interesting and promising material for use in ETICS but also in other applications where a high performance insulation is crucial, such as processing equipment, oil and gas, appliances and automotive. In each case, the materials need to be tailored, optimizing the fire/mechanical/cost/performance ratio.
To sum up the first subchapters, is was possible to develop a hybrid low thermal conductivity material with halogen-free flame retardancy according to building standards.

2. Moisture control system
The prevention of microbial growth on façade surfaces was another major aim of the FoAM-BUILD project. Several partners working within different research fields successfully developed an environmentally friendly façade protection system. The system replaces biocides in façade painting and prolongs the maintenance intervals of the façade surface. The following subchapters show the results which were achieved within the following approach:
• Investigation of general living conditions for algae and fungi
• Development of equipment and procedures for microbial testing
• Modelling and simulation surface material drying with air streams
• Development of moisture control system including sensor network
• Microbial analysis of samples from demonstrators

General living conditions for common algae and fungi
Influence of biofilms on external façade materials
Biofilms on façade materials are microbial coatings on the material surface. They are imbedded in a matrix of extracellular polymeric substances produced by the microbes. Biodeterioration produced by the biofilms on façades is characterized by disruption of the material, degradation of the material by microbial metabolism. Aesthetic changes resulting from colours are produced by the biofilm organisms, which are very often pigmented or coloured.
Micro-organisms observed on the façades of buildings are responsible for green, blue-green or even red colours. The colours depend on the composition of the biofilms settling on the surfaces. Mainly algae, lichens and moulds are involved in the biofilm development in these cases. The most important species reported in Europe are the following algae: Stichococcus bacillaris, Chlorella spec., Haematococcus pluvialis, Klebsormidium flaccidum. According to Johansson (2012, Biological growth on mineral facades) about 10 % of the biofilms are caused by moulds. The most important are: Cladosporium spec., Penicillium spec., Aspergillus spec.
The most important parameters for microbial development on surfaces are the amount of water available for the organisms, temperature, nutrient supply (organic or inorganic), light intensity, and some material-dependent influences like porosity and chemical composition. As regards the water requirement of the organisms, the mentioned fungi have obviously lower requirements than algae. But algae are nevertheless able to change into resistant microcysts, which give them the chance to develop again after drying procedures if water content on the surface or in the material increases.

Development of test units for experimental investigation of biofilm growth and correlation with environmental conditions
The testing procedures have to follow several important requirements. There are multitude parameters that influence biofilm development on façade elements. Few standardized methods are able to cover the measurement of all these influences. The testing procedure needed to take into account: temperature, light, humidity, nutrient supply, velocity of liquid and air stream, mixture of fluid, drying process, material composition and properties of the material surface as well as biological characteristics depending on species’ specific properties.
The situation facing Fraunhofer IGB at the start of the project regarding existing procedures was that only fungal growth is described or measured in lab. Also, standardized procedures for algal biofilms are exclusively reported in literature. So methods for both types of microbiological growth had to be developed following the ASTM D3274 (reapproved in 2013) “Standard Method for Evaluating Degree of Surface Disfigurement of Paint Films by Fungal or Algal Growth, or Soil and Dirt Accumulation”.
Six different fineries were tested to characterize the influence of porosity, hydrophobicity as well as inorganic and organic surfaces on the algae and fungi. The parameters tested were temperature (8, 20, 30 °C) and humidity (70, 95 % r. h.), additionally in dark and illuminated conditions.
The method was shown to be very time consuming and it was complicated to adapt it to different material compositions. Another disadvantage of the test purpose was that, apart from the humidity in the air, conditions were too dry for algal growth, which leads only to a poor algal growth.
Development of a test set-up adapted to the requirements of algal growth
To overcome these issues, the aim was to develop an experimental set-up to run investigations with micro-organisms under defined conditions but analog to outdoor experiments. The developed system is based on a photo-bioreactor system and can be pursued as a dynamic process (fig. 3). Parameters like pH-value and humidity can be measured and regulated. A light source of LEDs is integrated with the possibility to choose different light intensities. Additionally programming to study the influence of time dependent illumination changes (for example: dark, light) is provided. For experimental testing 24 positions for samples of a diameter of 55 mm are currently provided. The filling level of the bioreactor is variable to simulate dry and humid conditions. The drying procedure is realized by variable air flow.
Defined conditions are: species, cell concentration, temperature, pH-value, humidity, ventilation, illumination intensity and time, supply of organisms with nutrients and / or CO2.
The benefits of the test unit are flexibility and the reproducibility of the results. The test conditions cnan be adapted to the needs of organisms with high requirements for water, nutrients or light. Regulation of the test conditions is integrated.
Test procedures running in outdoor experiments need a long time exposure and the test conditions are depend on the weather and climatic influence. Information about growth behaviour is not available at the moment time and under reproductive conditions.

The influence of algal growth was investigated using five different fineries and three different algae species. The relative humidity was varied between 100 %, 95 %, 82 % and 60 % relative humidity. The temperatures tested were 14, 17 and 20 °C. The results characterizing the first adhesion of the organisms at the material surface were particularly interesting. The most intensive adhesion was visible with Stichococcus bacillaris. Chlorella vulgaris also showed a high tendency to adhere to the surfaces. For Haematococcus pluvialis a different behaviour was detected depending on the growth conditions.
The results were compared under different humidity conditions. An example of investigation conditions is shown in fig. 4. In these cases, which were seen as the most important ones respecting the project aim, a time range of about 3 to 4 hours was needed to dry the samples integrated in the photo-bioreactor system. The samples were assessed every week macroscopically and compared as visible in fig. 5, fig. 6. The pictures were taken after a period of three to four weeks.
Investigations on Haematococcus pluvialis: after 4 weeks of testing with 82 % r. h. only two samples were very slightly green, and at 60 % r. h. only very poor growth was visible on some samples. Regarding the influence of the relative humidity, nearly no difference was visible. Haematococcus pluvialis is well-known as one of the most widespread algal species in regions where wet conditions predominate, and is visible very often as a red color on façades. 82 % and 60 % rel. humidity did not provide the organisms with enough available water.
Investigations on Chlorella vulgaris: after 4 weeks of testing with 82 % r. h. the samples were slightly green (on all samples nearly homogenous), at 60 % r. h., only very poor growth on some samples. Most algae need high amounts of humidity for intense growth behaviour. 60 % was too low for good growth. In experiments with longer periods of flooding, an intense green color was observed.
Investigations with Stichococcus bacillaris: after 4 weeks of testing with 82 % r. h. the samples were intensively green (on all samples nearly homogenous), at 60 % r. h. growth showed nearly the same amounts as with 82 %. Stichococcus bacillaris is applied as test strain for the development of algae on surfaces. Even in suspensions cells tend towards agglomeration. Adhesion was striking and growth extensive even at 60 % r. h.
To compare the results of the three different test strains, the samples are represented in fig. 5 and 6.
Conclusion: under relatively dry conditions algae do not grow extensively. It is nevertheless important to be aware of the species’ specificity.

Assessment of biological growth on façades equipped with the ventilation system
The basic idea for ventilation was to minimize the time the surface of the wall remains wet, and therefore to prevent algae growth. At two locations walls equipped with mechanical ventilation systems were installed through the cooperation of several partners of the project. One ventilation wall with different sensors was installed at DAW, the other at SRSP. The difference between the parallel-running test units was that at DAW façade finery was used, whereas at SRSP the finery was painted with façade colour. The ventilation systems were divided in segments: ventilated and not ventilated, and segments inoculated with algae suspensions and segments where no algae treatment was realized. The algae species used in these outdoor experiments were the same as those investigated in the lab-scale experiments at the Fraunhofer IGB.
Microbiological support to outdoor experiments
The Fraunhofer IGB supported the partners with suspensions of algae, which were cultivated in the lab scale.
Suspensions used for inoculation of the ventilation system were composed in a biomass concentration of 0.166 g/l, correlating to 106 cells/ml according to the concentration in the photo-bioreactor (test unit). The suspensions were characterized microscopically (fig.7) and by cultivating samples for monitoring the inocula.
Assessment of the environmental conditions
To better understand the parameters with influence on the microbial growth, the surroundings of the ventilated walls at DAW were measured. Examples of environmental conditions at the ventilation system are selected data of 4 days during a period of 4 month (April, May, June, July). Examples of the data can be seen in fig. 8.
In April the temperature was very low during the night and humidity was high. Low temperatures do not support growth even if there is measured a high humidity. During May the temperature was much better for microbial growth, but the humidity was too low. In June mostly the humidity was too low, despite some rain, and during July the humidity measured was too low. Therefore growth of the organisms was limited.
Biological characterization of the surfaces
The next step was to cut out samples of the surface of the wall at DAW for microbiological characterization. The investigations cover macroscopic characterization, microscopic measurements and the cultivation of fungi and algae using suitable cultivation procedures in the lab. The samples were tested by a stereo-microscope to obtain a deeper view on the surfaces.
The samples show only slight growth. Macroscopically there was a grey colour found on the surfaces, mainly on samples taken from the bottom of the walls. By microscopic investigation the slight growth was visible, too, but no significant difference between the different fields was estimated. Growth of fungi and algae was assumed according to the observations. The microscopic investigation of the samples from the ventilation walls of SRSP show that there were nearly no colonies like those visible on the surfaces at DAW (finery), but a slight grey shimmer of small deposits (fig. 10). Growth behavior was different from the results from the DAW samples. No mycelium was observed. Growth was not spot-like but more or less uniform.
Correlation between environmental conditions and biological growth
The samples taken out of the ventilation test walls were investigated by cultivating the micro-organisms in two different processes:
- Cultivation on an agar-solidified medium to stimulate fungal growth
- Cultivation of the micro-organisms in shaking cultures under illumination to support algal growth (two different media)
Results of the investigations of the surfaces by direct contact of the surface with the nutrient media:
Cultures from the samples taken from the ventilation test walls at DAW were inoculated using contact agar plates. As a result many different fungi developed (fig. 11). No difference between ventilated and non- ventilated segments was visible, and there was also no difference between inoculated and non-inoculated segments. The micro-organisms are widespread. Their origin is the surroundings.
Even though the surface of the samples at SRSP did not show mycelial growth, in the investigations by cultivation of the cells settled on the sample surface plenty of growth of fungi was detectable. No difference between the different segments was observed. Examples are shown in fig. 12 with a high divergence between the species which could not be explained. All of them are molds.
The surfaces were originally inoculated with an algae suspension to measure the influence of ventilation on microbial growth. After a period of several months samples were taken from the ventilation test system and investigated in the lab. To check algal growth the surface was treated by swabbing and the organisms suspended in two different nutrient media adapted to the growth requirements of the algae species sprayed on the surfaces for inoculation.
Testing algal growth:
The cultivation of the samples was carried out in nutrient broths with two different compositions. After two months’ cultivation in the Erlenmeyer flasks a dark green colour was visible. This was surprising because no growth was measured during that time. Microscopic pictures were taken of both types of cultures (fig. 13, fig. 14). In DSM cultures Stichococcus bacillaris developed, in Ohm-medium Haematococcus pluvialis and Chlorella vulgaris grew.
Dry conditions reduce microbial growth, but the organisms survive due to resistant cells.

Microbial growth on the façades of buildings is a widespread problem. Solutions are developed by several techniques. No test equipment is currently available to provides the researcher with results about the acceptability of a new solution within a short timeframe. To assess the products or processes, test methods are necessary which provide the investigator as well as companies with reproducible and significant results about the behavior of microbial growth on the surfaces, in a relatively short time.
To accommodate this situation in this project a test unit was developed which enables the growth of algae or if necessary fungi in a photo-bioreactor system under defined conditions. The influences of different parameters on algal growth are comparable and the characteristic properties of fineries, paints and façade elements can be determined through to biological testing.
The newly developed system has been demonstrated with different algae and fineries and shows reproducible results in a time range of about one month. Distinctions between different algae species were visible.
The influence of drying the surfaces by ventilation was investigated in an outdoor test unit at two sites within the project. The organisms sprayed on finery or painted elements did not grow due to dry conditions, but they were detected as viable cells on the surfaces even after more than six months after application but without production of macroscopically relevant biofilm development.

Modelling and simulations
Contributing to the tasks on microbiological growth and the wetness of the wall, the partner Demokritos developed several tools for the evaluation of the drying behavior of façade surfaces with ventilation systems (see also fig. 15). The tools are presented below:
• A 1d-hygrothermal model for the calculation of the evolution of temperature and humidity within porous materials. The model includes a material database for calculation of hygrothermal properties. The model was successfully validated against the HAMSTAD-BM5 and the EN-15026 benchmarks
• An integral static evaporating film model for calculation of the evolution of water film temperature and height.
• A radiation model (short wave from sun and long wave from atmosphere) for arbitrarily inclined surfaces.
• Full coupling between the above models and the pre-existing in-house CFD tool ADREA-HF (Venetsanos et al., The ADREA-HF CFD code for consequence assessment of hydrogen applications, Int. J. Hydrogen Energy, 35 (8) (2010) 3908–3918)
The fully coupled model (without radiation) was applied in the ETICS drying (by mechanical ventilation) experiments performed in the Fraunhofer ICT climate chamber within the framework of the project. The simulations captured the experimental trends regarding drying behavior dependence on ventilation speed and ventilation temperature. The simulations also provided information regarding levels of mass fluxes as well as film existence periods beyond which the ventilation unit dried the ETICS top layer.
The fully coupled model was next applied to a real-scale ventilated ETICS wall equipped with windows in order to study the effect of windows on the drying behavior.

Active monitoring system
One further aspect flanking the question of how to prevent microbiological growth is the developed monitoring system. Active monitoring of a façade’s surface conditions is key for the proper performance of the protection system against biofilm growth developed in FoAM-BUILD. Not having found any commercially available solution that met the requirements of the FoAM-BUILD application, a new complete end-to-end monitoring solution was designed and developed within the project. The monitoring solution consists of sensors that are embedded in the ETICS render, measurement devices, a gateway device and a system controller.
This monitoring solution is briefly described in the following paragraphs. As a result of the research carried out in the project only two sets of variables are measured: render temperature and surface moisture. Two new sensors have been developed for this specific purpose that are both low cost and robust. The sensors are measured by means of tiny electronic devices that are installed close to the measuring spots and which transmit the data to a gateway device through a wired serial bus supporting multipoint network configuration. Power is also supplied to the measurement devices through this bus. This approach allows the system installer to configure the sensor network in diverse ways according to the needs of the building, regardless of the distance needed between the devices. The gateway device translates commands from the system controller into actions to be executed by the measurement devices or the ventilation equipment. It provides an Ethernet interface to the system controller which enables the integration of the monitoring system in higher level building automation solutions. Finally, the system controller is a computer software application designed to automate sensor data acquisition, data processing and control of ventilation equipment according to the façade’s surface conditions as well as to provide a graphical user interface for system configuration and data visualization.
The system is intended for long-term façade monitoring applications but can be easily adapted to other applications where continuous surface moisture and temperature measurements are required. The fields of application are therefore huge. When considering applications in the building industry, new business opportunities may come up such as, for example, new services linked to proactive maintenance of building envelopes or commercial exploitation of sensor data to researchers or manufacturers.

3. Integration of developed elements and demonstration
A third aspect of the project is the assembly and mounting of the newly developed elements, which needs to be carried out according to building industry standards. DAW SE developed a new mortar and a new mortar application method.
The fabrication of the demonstrators of the ETICS and the application of the ETICS to the wall were the focus of developments. Suitable solutions for both tasks were elaborated and investigated by test wall setups. In addition, a demonstrator of the whole system was set up to validate it.

Fabrication of the ETICS panels
Different variations of the ETICS were fabricated to validate the concept. All of them were based on the following setup:
- Base protective plate as substrate:
This plate served as a substitution for the wall in the real setup.
- Adhesive to install the insulation composite system
- Insulation composite system
- Reinforcement (base coat and mesh)
- Top coat.
The implemented variations of the ETICS consisted of different insulation composite materials.
For all types, Armatop X-Press was used as adhesive for the installation of the insulation material. By this method a suitable adhesion was achieved, so the application can be transferred to a large-scale industrial process. Armatop X-Press and the mesh 650 were used for the reinforcement.
Fig. 16 shows the ETICS of type A. For this insulation composite system, the following steps were conducted:
- A FoAM-BUILD EPS with a halogen-free flame retardant (HFFR) was used.
- An aerogel panel with a thickness of 1 cm was glued to the EPS panel.
- A second FoAM-BUILD EPS panel with HFFR as flame retardant was glued to the aerogel panel.
- A reinforcement as well as a top coat were applied on the EPS panel.
The second variation is based on another type of EPS foam. Here, DAW Dalmatiner 032 was used. For this type of foam, the standard flame retardant was applied. Again, a 1 cm thick aerogel panel was placed between the two EPS panels. This demonstrator is shown in fig. 17.
For the third demonstrator, which is also based on EPS DAW Dalmatiner, a higher number of layers was used. The implemented sequence is the following:
- EPS DAW Dalmatiner 032
- An aerogel panel with a thickness of 1 cm was glued to the EPS panel
- EPS DAW Dalmatiner 032
- A second aerogel panel with a thickness of 1 cm was glued to the EPS panel
- EPS DAW Dalmatiner 032.
This demonstrator is shown in fig. 18.

Formulation of the mortar
To enable the quick installation of the ETICS on the façade, a suitable mortar was needed. During the project life time different variations were developed. A special one-component mortar with accelerated curing was developed which is suitable for application in winter and sold as a winter product. Due to the accelerated curing time, the mortar enables a higher work capacity per person and therefore less unemployment in winter for craftsmen. Since this mortar is offered as a special winter product, it enables DAW SE to enter a new market segment free from competition to other DAW’s products.
Additionally, a second mortar with accelerated rendering, an optimized shrinking behaviour and adjustment of the fatigue strength to avoid crack formation was developed. For this purpose, different compositions of the mortar were investigated. Finally, a suitable combination of an accelerator, a retarder, an expanding agent and a hardener as well as a reduced binder content was found, which enables a fast rendering, a sufficient pot time, a suitable shrinking behaviour and the required early strength. This was not only shown in lab experiments but also by application on test walls (fig. 19).
This product is already in application too, especially in the field of ready-build houses.
The reduced binder content enables a reduced price of the mortar despite the necessary additives for acceleration.

Application of the mortar
As described above, the connection of the panel to the wall is based on the application of the mortar on the EPS surface. For this, a nozzle is used. Investigations of the application of mortars using different viscosities showed that a special nozzle was needed to achieve an easy handling and reduce the consumption of the mortar.
For an easier use of the nozzle, a 360° freely rotatable joint was added to the construction (fig. 20). The handling was also improved by arranging the nozzle tip in a certain degree relative to the surface as can be seen in fig. 21. In the first step, the nozzle was flattened on the ground side to have a bigger contact area between the EPS board and the nozzle and hence a higher grip to guide the nozzle in the right direction. This nozzle is driven across the EPS board surface manually to applicate the mortar, as shown in fig. 22. To optimize the guiding behaviour, a round piece of rubber was attached underneath the nozzle (fig. 23).
Using this nozzle, further tests of the application of mortar on the EPS boards were conducted. The results showed that the application was successfully improved. The guiding of the nozzle was simplified clearly. Additionally, it was found that the surface did not show any signs or damages resulting from the rubber.
The mortar consumption and the adhesion were also investigated. It was found that a rounded exit of the nozzle leads to a high consumption of the mortar since some parts do not contribute to the effective load bearing (fig. 24). To avoid this and reduce the consumption of the mortar the exit was designed as shown in fig. 25.
The results of the further investigations showed that the mortar still remained in its shape even being compressed by the glass (fig. 26). Thus, the modification of the nozzle (broader middle part) did not have a negative influence on that behavior. Resulting from the remaining shape, which is not rounded, parts of mortar which do not contribute to the connection could be avoided (fig. 26). Thus, the material consumption was reduced as intended.
Furthermore, the adhesive strength had to be considered since it could be reduced by the formation of a film between the two layers during the time between the application of the mortar and the installation of the board on the wall. Hence, investigations on the pull-off force were executed to determine the effect of the splitting on the adhesive strength of the mortar (fig. 27). The mean value of different procedures of the application was about 0.3 MPa. A reduction of the adhesion by the formation of a film during the delay was not detected and the adhesion was high enough to fulfil the requirements.

Concept of the ETICS walls and setup of test façades
To investigate the concept of the ETICS walls, a test façade was set up. The concept of the test wall with ventilation was developed as can be seen in fig. 28. To investigate the growth of algae on the surface as well as the influence of the ventilation on it, metal plates were firstly attached to the wall to separate the areas in order to hinder the transport of microorganisms. The EPS boards and temperature and humidity sensors were also attached (fig. 29). For this purpose a temperature sensor was developed which can be integrated into the rendering (fig. 30). A top coat which was found to be relatively smooth but most sensitive regarding the growth of algae was used (fig. 31).
After the setup of the ETICS had been completed, the pretreatment of the wall was conducted. For this, a concentrated solution prepared by the Fraunhofer IGB was used (fig. 32) as described in section “Microbiological support to outdoor experiments”. After this, the installation and the setup of the sensor network was conducted (fig. 33) together with the partners and indoor as well as outdoor investigations were started.
In outdoor tests (fig. 34), weather data (temperature, wind direction and speed, barometric pressure and rain fall) were also measured continuously. The main results were:
- By ventilation with ambient air, drying of the surface can be accelerated considerably after rain.
- Furthermore, by using ambient air when the air temperature is higher than that of the façade temperature condensation can be hindered, even when humidity is 100 %.
- No changes of the colour of the surface due to the growth of algae were observed.

Setup of the large demonstrator of the façade system
To confirm the suitability of the whole system and the feasibility of fabrication as well as application, a large demonstrator of the ETICS was installed to a building.
To set up the demonstrator, the insulation system based on the following layers was applied to the surface of the wall:
- Adhesive
- Insulation layer
- Reinforcement
- Top coat.
The system was applied on a mixed masonry wall (fig. 35).
For this reason, the wall had to be coated by mortar as base coat. Adhesive was applied between the wall surface and the EPS panels. For this, the adhesive of the type CT190 was used. The thickness of the adhesive layer was 1 cm. For the insulation, a layer of mineral wool with a thickness of 10 cm (under the ventilation units) and, for all other parts of the façade, EPS panels of the type Caparol Dalmatiner 032 with a thickness of 16 cm were applied. Figure 36 shows the mineral wool layer. The ventilation units were installed above it. During installation, wooden beams were used to avoid a displacement of the layer on the soft adhesive bed. Later, the beams were removed. The setup of the ventilation units on the mineral wool is shown in fig. 37. Fig. 38 shows the EPS panel which had been attached to the rest of the façade and the ventilation units on top of the mineral wool boards (under the roof overhang). At the bottom of each unit, there are ventilation outlets which must not be covered. For the reinforcement, the base coat Armareno 700 and the mesh 650 were used. The overall thickness of this layer was about 5 mm. As top coat, the render CT134 was applied. Interstices were sealed by joint tape. The gaps between the different units were sealed by polysiloxane.
An overall view of the façade after installation of the EPS panels is shown in fig. 39.
In addition, the ventilation system was set up. The ventilation units which were selected and used for the demonstrator are also shown as a construction scheme in fig. 40. The mounting of the ventilation unit allows variable length. To avoid noise that can be transmitted by the fixing construction, an intermediate rubber layer was used (fig. 41). After installation of the EPS panels, the mounting disappears in the thermal insulation layer (fig. 42).
The wiring was placed below the EPS panels. Each unit was connected by a single wire and was wired in parallel. The control signal has values between 0 and 10 V and was united to one connection. When the value is 0 V, the unit is switched off. Where it is 1 V, the unit is switched on, but there is only a low air velocity. By increasing the voltage, the velocity can be increased up to the maximum value of 10 V. Also, the feedback signal for the LEDs as well as the grounding are wired in parallel. The feedback signal shows whether the motors of the ventilation are operating or not to check the performance. The signal was made visible by using LEDs in the control unit (fig. 43). The wires for grounding and the control signal are interconnected in the control box, which can also be seen. More details regarding the control system have been reported in a deliverable report, which is not public. Fig. 44 shows the whole control unit with the closed control box of ATEKNEA, the fuse box and the PC which can be controlled by remote maintenance software.
Up to now, the ventilation units are controlled together. An operation of a single unit is not required. However, it is possible by wiring in parallel.
For the suitable operation of the ventilation network, the temperature and the humidity have to be measured. For this, sensors were installed on the EPS panels. Fig. 45 shows the way these two sensors were glued to the surface. The humidity sensor was also used in other test walls. It is well integrated into the finished surface and almost invisible - only small metal pins can be seen on the surface (fig. 46). The temperature sensor is completely integrated into the reinforcement and not visible at all.
As in the case of the test walls, the measurement of humidity and temperature is evaluated by the control software, and the operation of the ventilation is controlled based on these results.
The completed demonstrator is shown in fig. 47.

To summarize, in the project, different types of insulation system were developed and investigated. A suitable solution for the application of the system including the ETICS panels and the ventilation systems was also elaborated. The fabrication of the system and the application can be conducted by industrial processes. In outdoor tests, it was shown that the surface can be kept dry by suitable ventilation.
The demonstrator of the whole system consisting of the ETICS, the ventilation units as well as the measurement and controlling system was set up successfully. It was shown that the developed concepts were feasible and the operation of the systems is possible. As shown by the project partners, the system offers suitable insulation effects.
Hence, DAW SE is pursuing the serial production and marketing of the ETICS system. Pilot projects are currently planned. The accelerated mortar suitable for application in winter, which was developed in the project, is also already sold by DAW SE.
Fraunhofer ICT, Ateknea Solutions, Demokritos and DAW SE applied for a joint patent covering the ventilation system to dry a surface of a façade. The patent application was submitted under the name "Ventilationssystem für die Wandfläche eines Gebäudes und Verwendung des Ventilationssystems für die Trocknung von Fassadenoberflächen oder für die Verhinderung der Kondensation von Wasser an Fassadenoberflächen" with the number EP17175205.8.
The large demonstrator is suitable to convince customers and marketing staff that walls can be dried by ventilation and that this will hinder the growth of microorganisms. As a next step, regulations given by law have to be considered, as well as the application for the CE-certification and additional fire tests. The impact on the market will strongly depend on environmental conditions like a possible ban of biocides. An estimation of the turnover is therefore not possible yet.

Simulation of insulation system
The development of the FoAM-BUILD system was mainly supported by simulation, but this task also had an impact on the general idea of the whole ETICS system in terms of how the ETICS needs to be optimized for which requirements. The following subchapters will explain how the simulation was integrated into the project.
Building level simulations
A dynamic thermal simulation software – Pleiades + COMFIE - was used to define the thermal properties required for the insulation system. The building thermal simulations took place under three different climates – Mediterranean, Temperate and Cold – that represent the main environments faced in Europe. The thermal behavior and requirements of the insulation system were studied for both existing and new buildings and for both current and upcoming thermal regulations of the studied countries.
The purpose here was to find the adequate thermal resistance of the insulation system (thermal conductivity λ (W/(m.K)) and thickness) to fulfill the thermal regulations of each country. Thanks to these values, several couple values of thermal conductivity and thickness were proposed.
TBC studied the optimal thermal transmittance of external walls for different climates, type of buildings (existing and new) and energy requirements. For Madrid, Hamburg and Stockholm the thermal transmittance of the wall was determined in order to reach the energy requirements of their national building code and the next building code expected for 2020 in Europe (see Table 1).
The results of these simulations showed that the insulation in the FoAM-BUILD project will be very useful in the near future as it will greatly reduce the thickness of the insulation needed to fulfill the energy requirements of the 2020 horizon. For instance, in the case of the retrofitting of existing buildings in Germany for the 2020 horizon, the U-value of the wall is expected to be near 0.18 W/(m².K). As is shown in fig. 48 only 10 cm of 0.02 W/(m.K) EPS are needed to reach this value but with a standard insulating material up to 20 cm of EPS would be needed.
By decreasing by almost 50% the thickness of the EPS, the ETICS will be easier to implement on and to transport to the site, and will decrease the needed space for the building, which is a crucial question in cities with high densities like in Europe, while still reducing the energy consumption of the building.
Impact of local climate and thermal bridges
The basic simulations were realized in standard configurations with respect to local climate, building orientation, moisture transfer and thermal bridges. TBC then modified these configurations to assess the robustness of the results of the basic simulations.
Local microclimate was the first element that was studied through three parameters: wind exposure, local temperature and shadows from the environment. The results of the detailed simulation showed the ability of the studied multifamily building to perform effectively in many environments and especially to limit impacts from wind exposure and local shadows. Modifications to the weather from Urban Heat Islands (UHI) are more important, therefore their impacts on the reference building are significant, with a very limited increase of energy demand due to cooling in Mediterranean climate and a more visible decrease of energy demand due to UHI in Temperate and Cold European climates.
Moisture transfers in expanded polystyrene are very limited. The effect of the water absorption on the thermal performance of the EPS is generally considered to be limited to a maximum of 0.2 mW/(m.k). As the development of the new insulation material was not completely finished at the time of this task, it was difficult to assess the reaction of this new insulation material to water absorption. The work focused on what level of change of thermal conductivity of the EPS starts to have an impact on the overall energy demand of the building. The impact that the change in the thermal conductivity of the EPS has on the energetic performance of the building is unknown. A parametric study on the thermal conductivity of the EPS with a range of variation from 0.2 mW/mk to 5 mW/m.K was therefore conducted, and showed that a change by 2 mW/(m.K) is a starting point for observing an impact in the heating load of the building (by only 1 kWh/m²). This is 10 times the usual impact of water absorption on thermal conductivity for a classic EPS, so moisture transfers should not be a problem for the newly developed high-insulation expanded polystyrene foam.

Thermal bridges in ETICS were also studied by TBC using a FEM analysis performed with the BISCO software to evaluate the impacts of two types of fixing anchors on the performance of the overall ETIC system and then on the whole building. The results showed (see fig. 49) that with a high insulating material, any non-continuity of the material (like linear or punctual thermal bridges) has a noticeable impact on the thermal resistance of the complete system, with a degradation of the performance of the façade up to 27%. A highly insulating material therefore must therefore be used with performing material like anchors. In our example, the addition of an insulating plug on top of it reduces the influence of the thermal bridge by almost 2.
When looking at the global energy performance of the building, anchors could have an impact of up to 2 kWh/m² - a noticeable influence for building elements that are usually not chosen for their thermal performance.
Summing up the findings using simulation, it is to be said, that the FoAM-BUILD high-insulation material will allow reducing the thickness and quantity of insulation material required, and it will perform effectively for every type of climate and building code in Europe, even if it will be more appropriate in temperate and cold climates. Its thermal performance will even be sufficient to meet the potential requirements of upcoming building code around 2020. This study also demonstrated that it should perform effectively in locations with a significant wind exposure, urban heat islands or with limited solar exposure due to shadows from other buildings.

4. Literature research
TBC’s main developments for the FoAM-BUILD project are to learn, model and disseminate.
To learn about the main developments in ETICS and its environment based on a continuous bibliographic study. Information has been compiled about ETICS and also about aerogel, nucleation, nano-cellular foam, fire resistance, ventilation system, moisture development (etc.) and has been summarized using an online platform.
To disseminate the main developments of the project using the online platform but also to a virtual façade model shown on a wall: new insulation system with flame retardant, new sensor and ventilation system and the new mortar.

Bibliographic study and online platform for dissemination
For the duration of the project an analysis of the state of the art, the patent situation and literature of ETICS was conducted by partner TBC. All parts of an ETICS that were developed further or introduced within FoAM-BUILD have been taken into account. Also the current market situation and technical and industrial requirements in Europe were analysed and are described.
Three reports were delivered during the project and the evolution of the key words shows the main thematic of work at different stages of the project. It is obvious that the idea to use aerogel influenced the choice of key words, and also the tendency to detail the foaming aspect of the project.
For the first report and second report the key words were:
ETICS, External Thermal Insulation, expanded polystyrene, EPS, extruded polystyrene, XPS, polyurethane foam, PUR, nano-scaled cell insulation, nano-cellular foam, moisture control, moisture reduction, moisture prediction
And for the last report at month 42 the key words were:
ETICS, External Thermal Insulation, expanded polystyrene, EPS, nano-scaled cell insulation, nano-cellular foam, moisture control, moisture reduction, moisture prediction, aerogel based insulation, aerogel blankets
All the patents, news, scientific articles were collected using an automatic research tool. All the partners were also invited to propose the more important documents they used for the project and it is all shared for dissemination on an online platform ( and the projects website ( The findings are presented as links to the relevant documents and are open to the public to provide basic support on the different topics which have been relevant in FoAM-BUILD.
5. ETICS evaluation strategy
The aim of the ETICS evaluation strategy is to describe the overall requirements for the FoAM-BUILD ETICS system and the active monitoring and control of moisture system, and define the experiments and testing procedures in order to validate the performances achieved by the FoAM-BUILD products.
TBC found while analysing the market expectations that there are strong requests from the distributors and applicators of ETICS for systems that are easier and faster to install. The second requirement concerns the efficiency of the system, with a need for high-performance insulation materials in order to be able to decrease the thickness of the systems. Then, from the owner point of view, there is also a strong requirement for a control of the algae and fungi growth on the façade, to decrease the frequency and the cost of the maintenance.
From the legal point of view ETAG 004 has been studied. This document presents all the requirements and the tests that an ETICS system should fulfil before being commercialized in Europe. Also several standards and documents have been studied, such as the Low Voltage Directive, concerning the requirements for the control of moisture system.
The health requirements were described with a particular emphasis on the dangerous substances in the presence of an ETICS. A life-cycle analysis (LCA) method has been introduced and some ETICS LCA already conducted in Europe have been presented. Energetic and noise requirements were also addressed. Concerning the energetic requirements, a case study has been conducted to develop an initial approach to the sizing and possible problems that such a system could face.
An evaluation strategy has been produced for both components and system levels. The components that have been considered are: the insulation material, the adhesive foam, the render and base coat. Then ETICS system as a whole and ventilation and sensors network have been considered and suitable tests have been described.
The evaluation strategy is summarized in tables describing:
- The properties to be measured
- Standard or test method used
- Size and number of samples needed
- Partners in charge.
Time constraints have also been considered in order to propose a schedule for all the tests (details on all tests can be found in table 2ff).
6. Standards
Standards play an important role in innovations. Since FoAM-BUILD is a project with different innovations, standards also play an important role in the development of the FoAM-BUILD project.
In the beginning of the project, standards were used to find out what requirements should be set. Further on they were used to carry out some (standardized) tests. And finally new standards will be developed to help the innovations achieve a secure market, and to benchmark them against existing products.

Existing standards
The most important standards have a relation with legislation. For example, they are referenced in Building Codes. Also European regulations apply, like the Low Voltage Legislation, Electromagnetic Compatibility Directive (EMC) and Construction Products Regulation (CPR).
ETICS are building products. All building products that are placed on the European market must comply with the CPR. This is to ensure that the products are safe and sustainable, and also to prevent barriers to trade within the EU. The CPR therefore identified basic requirements for construction works:
1-Mechanical resistance and stability
2-Safety in case of fire
3-Hygiene, health and environment
4-Safety and accessibility in use:
5-Protection against noise
6-Energy economy and heat retention
7-Sustainable use of natural resources
Products that conform to these basic requirements have to carry the CE marking.
Building products need to be tested to see how they perform on these basic requirements. These tests are standardized.
In Table 7 these basic requirements, as well as other regulations, are checked against the different stages of development of the project.
ETAG 004
ETAG 004 Guideline for European Technical Approval of External Thermal Insulation Composite Systems with Rendering [2] is made under the CPR . The reference to this ETAG was published in the Official Journal of the European Commission on 13-10-2011, and the date of enforcement is 27-06-2013.
The ETAG describes all basic requirements that are relevant for ETICS. The ETAG also gives the standardized testing and/or measuring methods for these requirements. The ETICS manufacturer will test and/or measure its products according to these tests. The results are printed in the CE-marking on his product.
Member States shall presume that the approved products are fit for their intended use, i.e. they enable the use thereof to satisfy the essential requirements during an economically reasonable working life, provided that:
• the products are properly designed and built,
• the conformity of the products with the ETA has been properly attested.
The ETAG is binding for the issuing of ETAs for the products for the defined intended uses.
Standards that are in ETAG 004 are therefore highly relevant for this project.
Market relevance dictates that aspects like squareness and flatness shall be tested. Also organizations like W.H.O. provide guidelines.
Listing of standards
Using the research above, 112 standards and guidelines were identified that ware relevant for FoAM-BUILD. 17 of them have not been used in the project, for several reasons. But the other 95 are used. Most of these standards concern thermal properties, reaction to fire, mechanical properties and environmental aspects.
Because the list was rather long, the standards were classified:
A: Essential-necessary-required-mandatory
Standards are 'essential' if they are needed according to national or European regulations. If it is not possible to prove that the systems perform according to this standard, it is not possible to bring them onto the market. An ETICS needs CE-marking, so the A-category are basically the ETAG 004 (ETICS) and the standards used in there. Some of the standards included in ETAG 017 (Anchors) also fall into this category.
B: Essential to prove specific advantages of the FoAM-BUILD system
The FB product has certain advantages compared to other ETICS, such as the prevention of algae and fungi growth. This can be stated in commercial information, and, if it is backed by official standards, it will certainly help to convince potential buyers. The same applies for the quick assembly. The purchaser/builder will be convinced if we can state that the time for hardening of the glue is X hours, which is X times faster than normal glue, according to standards XYZ. However, the time and effort to be put into developing the standards needs to be in line with the expected benefits.
C: Required-mandatory, but not in the scope of FoAM-BUILD
Parts of the FoAM-BUILD system will be made up of standard parts currently available on the market. Conformance to the relevant regulations has already been proven by the manufacturers of these products. This is the case for example for the electronic parts. Of course the FoAM-BUILD system will conform to the EMC, but since it uses standard parts, this is already assured.
D: Nice-to-have standards
Some existing standards were looked into only once, to obtain information and ideas. They were used for inspiration for aspects of the project such as the full scale test set up. They were used broadly to find any gaps or misfits.
Using the different categories, only 32 standards were considered class A, and therefore needed to be prioritised in subsequent work. This was a helpful information because all tests which are related to the standards were planned to be performed on the newly developed ETICS system.
Fig. 49 shows the relative number of standards in each classification.
New standards
Decision tree
All innovations in the project were assessed according to the following question: is there a need for standardization? This was carried out in a structured way using the decision tree, see fig. 50.
In this process there are three main questions:
- is the idea/innovation technically advance enough? How far is the innovation process developed?
- how will the market react to the idea? Is the idea/innovation subject to regulation(s) and/or does it show an advantage of the product/system? Or is there no need to describe the specific feature? This relates to the classification of standards (A essential, B shows advantages, C required but out of scope and D nice to have),
- What is the best form of standardizing? There are several forms, from trade secret to full standard.
Note that this decision tree is a 'living' analysis– the situation could change rapidly (dramatically) if new legislation or competitors arise.
Specific innovations
As explained above, in FoAM-BUILD various innovations have been developed. In an accompanying work package it was necessary to elaborate how standards are needed to support them, and whether standards could help to exploit them.
The algae-test chamber is a photo-bioreactor to test the growth of algae and fungi. A standard test could be useful to compare this test with other tests. The reactor is still in the design/production phase and has not yet reached its final stage. However, the idea is substantial since the photo-bioreactor is built, is used and will be used more often. We know that other institutes have similar reactors, so standardization could certainly be an advantage. There is no regulation in place, and none is expected, but algae protection is a very specific feature of the FoAM-BUILD system, so it is important for consumers. This idea is ready for standardization. A procedure to develop a performance-based standard is likely to start when the design is advanced enough. At the same time, parts of the reactor can be patented.
A new faster glue was developed. It is already technically advanced. There is no legislation/regulation yet. But do the buyers believe the really fast time of the glue? This can be shown by a neutral standard. But it can also be proven with quicker and cheaper methods, for instance demonstrations at fairs, or by letting the costumers try it themselves with samples. There is therefore no need for standardization yet, and it will be kept as an internal standard for the producer.
The ventilation system and the sensor network are specific innovations for the FoAM-BUILD product. They are technically not advanced enough to start standardization now. The systems or part of them will need to comply with regulations, but existing standards seem to be sufficient. Market reaction (buyers, competitors) is difficult to predict. The manufacturer will apply for a patent.
Other ideas and developments in the FoAM-BUILD project relate to already existing standards, as was seen for instance using the standards for the test requirements). It emerged that the relevant tests (e.g. the test in fire retardancy) could be performed without problems and were suitable for the FoAM-BUILD ETICS. This led to the conclusion that there is no need to add requirements or to write new parts of standards to cover the FoAM-BUILD ETICS system. Nevertheless, some of these standards need an update in order to be used for the FoAM-BUILD system. Here, too, the decision tree is followed, but it emerges that the need to standardize is driven by the CPR for all gaps. This is true for:
1. Adhesion between EPS and granulated aerogel;
2. Adhesion between EPS and aerogel layers;
3. Extensional stiffness of the render;
4. Bond strength between the insulation material and the render;
5. Delamination
6. Carrying capacity of anchors.

7. Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) and Life Cycle Cost (LCC)
LCA and LCC were carried out on the insulation foams, the aerogel composites that were developed during the course of the project, and complete ETICS structures that were constructed using these foams and composites. Both studies have been performed to evaluate the benefit of the FoAM-BUILD façade.
In the case of the LCA, the results showed that moving away from a halogenated flame retardant system reduced the impact on the environment, although the LCC revealed that this option was more costly. In the case of the aerogel composites, assessments were made and reported for insulation foams that contained aerogel granules or were comprised of mixtures of sheets manufactured from aerogel foam and EPS foam. Initial LCA data was produced, but important assumptions had to be made and a further assessment is needed taking into account a full data set from a large scale production. This was not scheduled within the project lifetime. The LCC work on these products demonstrated that a significant reduction in price is required in order for these materials to be a viable alternative to conventional insulation materials.
End-of-life challenges and solutions for ETICS products were investigated within a Construction Waste framework and, although attention needs to be given to the creation of a more fully developed recycling infrastructure for such waste, a number of options were identified for the recycling of all the components of ETICS structures into new products.

8. End-of-Life and Recycling Options
The end-of life assessment has placed the FoAM-BUILD ETICS product into the context of Construction Waste Management and has detailed the complex series of processes and procedures which need to be available in the infrastructure to enable successful recycling to take place, namely:
- Collection; Segregation; Separation; Generation of recycled raw material; and Manufacture of new products from recycled raw material
Some specific examples of the possible recycled products that could be produced from various recovered parts of the ETICS structure (i.e. EPS, mortar, aluminium frame etc.) have been identified, for example for the EPS insulation:
- Civil engineering, e.g. road surfaces
- Building products, e.g. mixed with concrete, roof tiles etc.
- New insulation materials
- General products, e.g. coat hangers, garden furniture
Recycled aluminium is a good quality product that can be used to manufacture the typical products that are produced from virgin aluminium. These include:
- Food cans
- Car parts
- Aircraft parts
The recovered fibre reinforcement can be used in a wide range of applications such as:
- Transport, e.g. aerospace, automotive, railway locomotive, boats and aircraft
- Construction, e.g. vehicle construction and wind turbine components
- Sports goods
The technology exists for recycling the mortar and top coat into the following products:
- Textured wall sprays
- Gypsum stucco
- Agricultural products
The work that has been carried out has also provided an overview of the other options that exist in terms of disposal (e.g. landfill or incineration) and recycling (energy recovery)
Overall the end-of-life assessment has demonstrated that there are a large number of options for the recycling of the FoAM-BUILD ETICS.

Virtual façade model
The FoAM-BUILD project is at the heart of two important questions for the building industry: how to improve the thermal performance of the wall and how to increase its life expectancy?
A new and performing insulation product with a low thermal conductivity and high fire resistance is a first important answer to these questions and the main goal of the project. The second objective is to block the degradation of the external surface of the façade due to fungi and algae growth. To achieve this, a new active monitoring and ventilation system was invented to keep the façade clean and improve its life expectancy.
Other innovations and product developments came out of this project, like the development of a new glue and nozzle for a high speed adhesive assembly with a lower quantity of glue.
TBC combined these innovative products and solutions together in a 3D virtual façade model in order to have an overview of the technologies developed in the FoAM-BUILD project and their integration into a façade. A picture of this 3D model is shown in fig. 51, which provides a good overview of the main achievements in terms of the “FoAM-BUILD-façade”.
Potential Impact:
All partners have been very eager in disseminating the project and the development. Mainly SRSP, who was in charge for dissemination, attended several fairs, workshops and events. Besides SRSP also the other project partners chose their specific ways to present their results to stress the impact of the project to their company or institution.
The main activities and exploitable results will be presented per beneficiary below:

Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft zur Foerderung der angewandten Forschung e.V. (Fraunhofer ICT/ IGB) - Germany
Fraunhofer used internal and external communication channels to disseminate the project results, meaning website applications, articles in scientific journals and also in more popular magazines related to the building and construction sector to reach industry as target group. During the project lifetime about 8 exhibitions were used to present the latest results of the project on posters and in talks. As future plans for dissemination, a flyer highlighting the most important information about the ETICS and the advantages for customers will be created in order to inform potential customers. Additionally a joint publication by several partners involved in the project is under preparation, and also a publication in Plasma Processes and Polymers.
As a non-profit research organization, Fraunhofer ICT will use the results of the project in future research, regarding for instance the development of nanocellular foams to offer new services to potential customers. The foams will be further investigated to bring the results to a higher TRL level.
The solution for high insulation materials, namely the combination of EPS and aerogel, resulted in superior thermal and handling properties. It was possible to develop a new hybrid material with gain of knowledge in inline processing and in the bonding of completely different materials.
The development of halogen-free flame retardant foams was very successful and will also be evaluated to estimate the possibilities for industrial exploitation/ patenting.
The ventilation unit which was developed within the consortium was applied for a patent. Industrial exploitation will result in licensing fees for Fraunhofer ICT.
The Fraunhofer IGB offers the new developed test equipment to characterize biological interactions between surfaces and algae or fungi. As the photo-bioreactor test equipment simulates outdoor conditions under defined parameters construction materials will be investigated for customers with the big effort that results are available for them in shorter time and under controlled conditions. Thus the process will be extended to companies in industrial projects. In addition Fraunhofer IGB plans to standardize the procedure.
Summing up, for Fraunhofer, the project was a success, as know-how was created in many sectors, e.g. foam processing, flame retardancy, microbial analysis and material science.

DAW SE (DAW) - Germany
The industrial partner DAW, which is close to the market, carried out dissemination activities also in the area of standardization (presentation in a workshop of the AMANAC cluster).
DAW was strong in exploitation, as the work within FoAM BUILD has led to products that have already been introduced onto the market. These are the accelerated renders Alsitop SF and Armatop X-Press that have been developed and optimized within the project. They have been well accepted in the market and will be further commercialized in the future.
The experiments on the density distribution have led to a higher efficiency of the production even for the standard EPS in the Hirschberg facility.
DAW pursues the production and commercialisation of the ETICS. The construction of a large demonstrator for the ventilation system at the end of the project has brought the step of commercialization has closer. Furthermore, a patent application was submitted, meaning that a technology leadership was generated.
The commercialisation of products can be seen as a different dissemination strategy compared to other partners (e.g. Fraunhofer, who will commercialize know-how), and was very valuable as the developments in FoAM-BUILD could be showcased through physical results.

SUNPOR Kunststoff GmbH (SUN) - Austria
SUN participated in the FoAM-BUILD project with the aim of upscaling the production of a nanocellular particle foam based on polystyrene with low density and a significantly lower thermal conductivity than state of the art EPS foams by using the “Knudsen Effect”.
During the project it emerged that a nanocellular foam based on polystyrene with low densities could not be produced in principle due to the limitations of the material properties and the physical requirements. The development of a nanocellular EPS foam with low densities aimed at by Sunpor could therefore not be achieved.

Stichting Nederlands Normalisatie - Instituut (NEN) - Netherlands
The standardization aspects of the project have been disseminated mainly by NEN, who for example made presentations or talks about the standardisation strategy for the project. As an impact Fraunhofer IGB and NEN will explore the possibilities of standardization of an algae-test unit further, so this can be used beyond the lifetime of the FoAM-BUILD project.
Technical Committee CEN/TC 88 started to work on standardizing tests for thermal insulation for the hybrid EPS-aerogel material.
A decision tree which was developed by NEN in FoAM-BUILD, helping to decide under which circumstances new standardization is needed and which level of standardization. This tool will be further proposed as a first working tool at NEN for future projects.

As a research institute Demokritos disseminated the project results mainly in the academic sector and in scientific journals, but also organized a workshop for the AMANAC cluster. On the topic of simulations Demokritos will further develop the models established in the project. For instance, the integral film model will be extended to other substances, same and modified to a 2d shallow layer model to account for spreading. In the hygrothermal model I a third dimension will be implemented.
Another publication together with Fraunhofer ICT is also planned focusing on the fully coupled model including simulations.

Ateknea Solutions Catalonia, SA (ATEKNEA) – Spain
For dissemination Ateknea Solutions introduced project details on Facebook and their company website at the beginning of the project and throughout the project lifetime. The latest update was a short report of the final Review Meeting. They also presented the project at exhibitions like the Contrumat in 2015.
Ateknea Solutions is contributor in a patent application together with DAW SE, Fraunhofer ICT and Demokritos for a ‘Ventilation system for the wall surface of a building and use of the ventilation system for the drying of facade surfaces or for the prevention of the condensation of water on facade surfaces’ (EP17175205.8).
Ateknea gained knowledge through the results covering the Façade Condition Monitoring System and sensors expertise in technology to solve a need in the building industry, and will use the knowledge for future research in the field of smart and more energy efficient buildings. Here, new business opportunities have been identified, such as the remote monitoring of building elements and proactive maintenance services

Smithers Rapra & Smithers Pira Limited (SRSP) – UK
As the main dissemination partner, SRSP implemented a dissemination strategy to widely exploit the results of the project. Posters, flyers and postcards were made available at the start of the project (and updated regularly throughout) to raise awareness of FoAM-BUILD at conferences, exhibitions and workshops. A large number of events were attended throughout the project lifetime and presentations given to inform the target industries of the FoAM-BUILD project.
Hosting the website SRSP established a knowledge library including all public reports and the Handbook of Environmental and Economic Benefits. In addition, a number of project videos and dynamic presentations were produced covering an initial project overview, mounting ETICS, short interviews and a final project summary in the form of a brochure.
A detailed market report was prepared as part of 7.11: Final plan for dissemination and use of foreground (PUDF), and covers market potential and value, growth sectors, future trends and other technologies. This information provides the beneficiaries with supporting data for their organisations and business planning.
SRSP’s major aim was to provide supporting materials for the project partners and to assist with marketing activities and support future exploitation.

Norner Research AS (NOR) – Norway:
NOR was active in promoting the project on its web page, Norner’s Newsletter (08-2016) as well as in articles for Norwegian technical magazines (Fremtidens Byggenæring | Magasinet 01-2016) and also in conferences (MoDeSt 08-2016).
In terms of exploitation and impact, building & infrastructure is one of Norner Research’s focus areas, and the results and competence that has been obtained in FoAM-BUILD will strengthen this area. NOR is a global polymer service provider and participates in innovation projects, both funded and directly for customers, offering consultancy services and testing of materials. The knowledge obtained from the project will be important for other areas where flame retardancy and insulation properties are highlighted. The project allowed Norner to broaden its experience beyond its core competence, and opened options for networking with the partners in the project, and within the AMANAC cluster.

TBC Innovations SAS (TBC) - France
As dissemination activities, TBC Innovations shared news and videos of the project through the linkedin pages of TBC collaborators. We also introduced the project in the company presentation for our customers and in the answer documents for research project calls and public contracts.
In terms of exploitation, the project allows TBC to gain new knowledge on innovative materials and solutions for insulation products and systems. As a consultancy company for the building sector this knowledge allows us to increase our relevancy in order to win new contracts.
The patent, news and scientific literature that we have conducted and shared through the diigo platform is also very important for our internal market intelligence service. This work allowed us to broaden our field of expertise that we can potentially highlight for our customers. We also plan to reproduce the methodology that we used in FoAM-BUILD in other projects.

List of Websites:
Address of project public website and relevant contact details
Christoph Mack
Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology ICT
+49 (0) 721 4640 721