Final Report Summary - ECO-SEE (Eco-innovative, Safe and Energy Efficient wall panels and materials for a healthier indoor environment)
Modern energy efficient buildings using higher insulation levels and greatly improved levels of air-tightness can unintentionally lead to poorer quality indoor spaces which increased levels of airborne contaminants such as volatile organic compounds, as well as unhealthy humidity levels. ECO-SEE (Eco-innovative, Safe and Energy Efficient wall panels and materials for a healthier indoor environment) has been a 4-year project which had the specific aim of developing new eco-materials and components for the purpose of creating both healthier and more energy efficient buildings.
The ECO-SEE solution to the problem of IEQ in energy efficient buildings has been to develop novel building products with the capacity to improve the quality of the indoor environment using their intrinsic chemical and physical qualities, as well as through improved design modelling to enable more effective utilisation of these products for the betterment of indoor environmental quality. ECO-SEE has successfully developed novel hygrothermal and VOC-capture materials and new photocatalytic coatings, including the use of nanotechnologies. The advances go well beyond the background start of the art to improve the indoor environment by developing:
• Novel technical solutions for composite use of different materials in ECO-SEE wall panels, including panel design, adhesion of coatings onto novel substrates, manufacture processes, and, fixings onto supporting structure;
• A holistic IEQ design tool to support efficient use of ECO-SEE wall panels.
ECO-SEE prototype products have been taken to proof of concept through field and implementation testing trials. Product development has been supported by life cycle analysis (LCA) and life cycle costing (LCC) to ensure delivery of lower environmental impact and improved performance. The project was organised into 11 work-packages, including eight technical work-packages, one work-package focussing on dissemination and exploitation, and two dealing with management and coordination of activities.
ECO-SEE has worked with natural bio-based insulation materials (in particular sheep’s wool, cellulose, hemp-fibres), vapour permeable and hygrothermal finishes (in particular clay and lime plasters), and low VOC wood-based products, to create both internal partition and external highly insulated wall panels. The ECO-SEE panels have used novel photocatalytic coatings, suitable for interior spaces and applied for the first time to lime and wood based substrates, with the aim of improving air quality. The panels can be used to create a breathing envelope using natural materials that, in themselves, will reduce pollutant and embodied energy levels, but more significantly will interact with their surroundings to control airborne pollutants levels (including VOCs, humidity, microbiological agents and mould growth), create low energy (PassivHaus standards or equivalent) and acoustically healthy indoor environments. The key novel outcomes from the ECO-SEE project include: 60% improvement in thermal resistance of clay plasters; 80% improvement in moisture buffering performance of clay plasters; Over 100% improvement in VOC capture potential of sheep’s wool insulation; Up to 50% reduction in energy performance of ECO-SEE test sites compared to standard timber framed and masonry construction.
This report presents the context and background for the project, followed by a more detailed description of the work completed in each of the technical work-packages. The project impact and dissemination activities are also summarised, followed by lists of the peer reviewed publications produced, as well as other project dissemination activities.
Project Context and Objectives:
The European Council (March 2007) set clear goals for 2020, requiring European business sectors including the construction industry to change current practice and move towards a more sustainable model with the mission to achieve: a reduction of 20% of total energy use (below 2005 levels) and a 20% reduction of GHGs below 1990 emissions (14% below 2005 emissions). In 2012, the EU27 implemented a comparative methodology framework for calculating cost-optimal levels of minimum energy performance requirements for buildings, and building elements, to promote the improvement of the energy performance of buildings (No 244/2012). By 2018-2020, the Directive requires all new buildings within the EU to be almost zero-carbon. National Governments, such as Denmark, Germany and Norway, have already introduced limits on total energy requirements for dwellings, and other EU Member States are introducing similar legislation to reduce carbon emissions associated with new buildings.
A significant decrease in energy consumption in buildings requires more air tight construction combined with much higher insulation levels. An unintended consequence of this approach has been deterioration in the indoor air quality, resulting from significantly reduced ventilation rates and the accumulation of airborne pollutants, and this is a bottleneck to successful implementation of legislation. Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) incorporates Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) as well as other health, safety and comfort aspects, including acoustics, lighting levels and temperature. Proactive post occupancy evaluation studies, research and reactive consultancy activities, including studies by ECO-SEE partners BRE and FRAUNHOFER, have shown that, as a result of insufficient ventilation provision in buildings, lack of air infiltration can lead to poor air quality. If stale indoor air is not replaced at a sufficient rate by fresh outdoor air, this can result in a build-up of concentrations of pollutants in the indoor air from building materials, furnishings, consumer products, as well as people and their activities. Associated with this, is the risk of high humidity and condensation, with the attendant risks of mould growth, damage to structures and proliferation of house dust mites.
Indoor air quality (IAQ) is strongly influenced by the emission of VOCs including odorants which have a direct influence on people’s well-being and health. Uncommon or intense odours may have a negative psychological influence on occupants. The suppression of VOCs may be achieved by good ventilation, the specification of low emission materials or the use of materials with air purification properties, all of which improve air quality indoors. Indoor air pollutants include very-VOCs (such as formaldehyde), VOCs (such as benzene, fragrance compounds), semi-VOCs (such as PAHs, flame retardants), inorganic pollutants such as particles and fibres, allergens, radioactive gases such as radon, and pollutants of microbiological origin such as moulds or fungi (such as spores, endotoxins). Pollutants can originate from outdoor sources, such as traffic and other forms of combustion (CO, NOx, SOx), or from indoor sources, such as people, their activities, tobacco smoke, building and furnishing materials, electronic equipment, cleaning products or heating, ventilating and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems. Current strategies to reduce formaldehyde emissions derive from reducing the use of formaldehyde in the manufacture of products (i.e. through the use of novel formaldehyde free resins for the panels industry) or through the use of scavengers (e.g. the use of free urea to bond with excess formaldehyde). The use of active air cleaners has been shown to be problematic, and in some cases even contributing to air pollution through improper performance and generation of primary (e.g. ozone) or secondary pollutants (e.g. products of reaction or transformation of air pollutants occurring in the unit, or reactions in the air due to the presence of the primary emissions such as ozone).
Relative Humidity (RH) is one of the most important parameters, not only influencing indoor comfort and air quality, but also impacting energy performance and durability of the envelope. Uniform indoor climate with minor variations in temperature and as well in RH, produces a comfortable environment for the occupants. However, RH levels below 25% are associated with increased discomfort and drying of the mucous membranes and skin, which in turn can lead to chapping and irritation as well as increasing the risk of contracting diseases as a result of reduced mucosal membrane function. Low RH also increases static electricity, further causing discomfort. High humidity levels can result in condensation within the building structure and can support the development of moulds, mites and chemical reactions. To minimize health risks and discomfort, the optimal range for indoor RH lies between 30% and 60 % RH.
The ECO-SEE solution to the problem of IEQ in energy efficient buildings has been to develop novel building products with the capacity to improve the quality of the indoor environment using their intrinsic chemical and physical qualities, as well as through improved design modelling to enable more effective utilisation of these products for the betterment of indoor environmental quality. ECO-SEE has successfully developed novel hygrothermal and VOC-capture materials and new photocatalytic coatings, including the use of nanotechnologies. The advances go well beyond the background start of the art to improve the indoor environment by developing:
• Novel technical solutions for composite use of different materials in ECO-SEE wall panels, including panel design, adhesion of coatings onto novel substrates, manufacture processes, and, fixings onto supporting structure;
• Lower implementation costs through efficient design and multi-functionality of components;
• A holistic IEQ design tool to support efficient use of ECO-SEE wall panels.
ECO-SEE prototype products have been taken to proof of concept through field and implementation testing trials. Product development has been supported by life cycle analysis (LCA) and life cycle costing (LCC) to ensure delivery of lower environmental impact and improved performance.
The implementation into one building system of hygrothermal materials, VOC absorbing insulation materials and vapour permeable photocatalytic coatings has previously never been successfully achieved. The unique system proposed by ECO-SEE aimed to deliver benefits including healthier buildings, more energy efficiency, and lower embodied energy and carbon. To achieve this affordably required innovation in: design; materials; manufacture; implementation; and in-service life performance. To ensure ECO-SEE panels are affordable compared to the competition, materials will need to perform multifunctionally (e.g. contribute to thermal comfort, moisture buffering and cleansing indoor air).
To support uptake of ECO-SEE products the project developed a novel holistic IEQ design tool using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) computer modelling of air flow and pollutants, heat and moisture modelling (WUFI) using high quality material properties, and acoustic modelling. The tool aims to integrate use of existing software models to achieve optimum solutions for deployment of multifunctional materials to achieve healthier building spaces. CFD models of the boundary (near the wall) layer has simulated the emission of gaseous compounds from air to wall and wall to air respectively. Models for moisture buffering and release have been developed and enhance the existing hygrothermal calculation model (WUFI). The model has been aligned to the transient behaviour of thermal storage/phase changes. Another important material property is its sensitivity to microbial growth. Using the isopleth systems, the model can predict risk for mould growth. The modelling has been performed using commercially available software, based principally on standard calculation methods. The principal factors include: environmental noise break-in, internal sound insulation properties and room reverberation. The models developed have been integrated into a common tool infrastructure to allow an easy to use holistic assessment of a new eco-efficient material application, falling back on definitions for BIM.
ECO-SEE has aimed to develop new eco-construction products for the improvement of IEQ, for intelligent deployment in new-build and retrofit applications. At the start of the project the Scientific and Technological objectives for ECO-SEE were:
• To create, in Work Package 1 (WP1), full scientific characterisation of the VOC capture potential and hygrothermal behaviour of selected eco-materials to provide the basis for product development, resulting in improved IEQ and at least a 20% enhancement in durability.
• To develop, in WP2, innovative photocatalytic coating solutions for the improvement of IAQ, tailored to specific application onto timber and lime based internal surfaces for the prototype ECO-SEE wall panels.
• To create, in WP3, a range of compatible and novel insulation, panel and vapour permeable and hygroscopic coating materials with a 20-25% improved performance (either VOC capture or moisture buffering potential), as well as 15-20% reductions in embodied energy or carbon, for application in the ECO-SEE wall panels.
• To develop, in WP4, a validated holistic IEQ modelling tool that incorporates heat and moisture transfer effects, indoor air flow and quality, and acoustic performance and which will support commercial implementation of ECO-SEE products, deliver a healthier indoor environment, and lead to 20-30% cost reductions through recognition of multi-functionality and intelligent use.
• To produce, in WP5, novel, fully functioning prototype insulation materials, novel coating materials and both internal and external versions of the ECO-SEE wall panel products that will deliver a healthier indoor environment, with 15-20% lower embodied energy, 20-25% enhanced durability, 20-30% lower costs and contribute to improved energy efficiency in both new and retrofitted buildings.
• To successfully complete, in WPs 6 and 7, the proof of concept testing, demonstration and evaluation of the ECO-SEE wall panels in large-scale test cells, field trials and pilot building projects.
• To complete, in WP8, life cycle assessment (LCA) and life cycle costing (LCC) of the ECO-SEE products with the aim to deliver 15-20% reductions in embodied energy and carbon levels, 20% improvement in durability and maintenance costs, and 20-30% reductions in life cycle costs.
• To engage, in WP9, with relevant CEN TCs, including TC350 and TC351, and to recommend standardised testing relating to IEQ.
ECO-SEE has worked with natural bio-based insulation materials (in particular sheep’s wool, cellulose, hemp-fibres), vapour permeable and hygrothermal finishes (in particular clay and lime plasters), and low VOC wood-based products, to create both internal partition and external highly insulated wall panels. As these technologies must deliver lower embodied energy, enhanced durability and lower costs compared to current market solutions to be acceptable, our approach has been innovations in material selection, material processing and material application, and holistic solutions that recognise the full contribution of all components to performance. The ECO-SEE panels have used novel photocatalytic coatings, suitable for interior spaces and applied for the first time to lime and wood based substrates, with aim of improving interior air quality. The panels can be used to create a breathing envelope using natural materials that, in themselves, will reduce pollutant and embodied energy levels, but more significantly will interact with their surroundings to control airborne pollutants levels (including VOCs, humidity, microbiological agents and mould growth), create low energy (PassivHaus standards or equivalent) and acoustically healthy indoor environments. The novel material development has been completed in partnership with world-class experts in indoor air quality (IAQ) and more broadly, indoor environmental quality (IEQ). The ECO-SEE project has also successfully created a new holistic modelling framework that combines air quality, hygrothermal performance and acoustic quality, to maximise the IEQ benefits of deploying our novel materials and products. This, combined with training for stakeholders, is to be used to accelerate the adoption of the ECO-SEE products.
The main scientific and technical results of the ECO-SEE project are presented in the following work-package sections.
126.96.36.199 WP1 Characterising the role of eco-materials in passive indoor environmental control
The objectives for WP1 were to:
• Establish holistic definition for indoor environmental control framework for comparative analysis of eco-materials (Deliverable 1.1)
• Complete physical performance characterisation of eco-materials (D1.2)
• Complete IEQ performance characterisation of eco-materials (D1.3)
• Complete micro-biological property measurements (D1.4)
• Complete chemical and micro-structural characterisation of eco-materials (D1.5)
• Complete stakeholder consultation (D1.6)
• Complete whole life performance of current products (D1.7)
WP1 started in M1 and was successfully completed on schedule in M15. The tasks focussed on characterising existing eco-materials, alongside selected control samples, and establishing frameworks for comparative assessment. In addition construction industry stakeholder attitudes to eco-materials and whole life cycle performance were also considered.
By Month 3 (M3) the indoor environmental control framework (D1.1) was established, which was used later for comparison of material performance in WP 3 and WP5. The indoor environmental quality, from a user point of view, is described by the protocol shown Figure 1.
In total, 21 existing eco-materials (insulation, wood based panels and lime and clay coatings) were selected for initial characterisation testing. UBATH coordinated Task 1.2 (Physical and mechanical characterisation of the materials). Of the six coatings tested, there were three lime-based and two clay-based that were compared to a gypsum control specimen. The physical and the mechanical properties of the coatings are varied, but all showed good correlation to the gypsum control specimens. The lime specimens show the greatest correlation to gypsum. Eight insulation samples were considered, that included three rigid insulation samples, four flexible samples, and a commercially available flexible mineral wool sample. Acoustically the most similar sample to mineral wool sample was the Thermaflex. Seven panel products were considered, including MDF, chipboard and HDF, with a melamine faced equivalent of each as well as a clay based board. As expected the addition of the lamination did not significantly change the properties of the boards. Many of the properties tested in Task 1.2 set key benchmarks for future innovations.
FRAUNHOFER coordinated Task 1.3 (IEQ and hygrothermal performance). All coatings investigated showed low area specific emission rates of formaldehyde and total volatile organic compounds (TVOC) and were of no particular concern. The M3 clay plaster showed the highest formaldehyde emissions but calculated TVOC and formaldehyde room concentrations were all well below current IAQ guideline values. The results of the thermal conductivity for insulation showed values between 0.03 and 0.08 W/mK. A big difference showed the result of water capillary saturation of the two wood fibre boards Spigot and Groove (947 kg/m³) and Thermal Flex (279 kg/m³). All but Thermal Flex insulation material showed low area specific emission rates of TVOCs and formaldehyde; TVOC emissions of Thermal Flex may lead to room concentrations close to IAQ guideline values (though only if open, which is not the case in reality). Wood based materials offer high moisture storage functions. The measurement of the water vapour diffusion resistance factor of laminated panels needed extremely long time periods because of the tightness of the laminate. Wood panel products tested also had low area specific emission rates of TVOC leading to TVOC concentrations in a room below current IAQ guideline values. Except for the M1 Clay Board area specific emission rates for formaldehyde were quite high with the P2 Chipboard Control sample likely causing formaldehyde room concentrations to exceed the 100 µg/m³ guideline value (if all walls were covered).
FRAUNHOFER coordinated Task 1.4 (Micro-biological testing). The aim of this work was to define the microbial characteristics of the selected eco-materials which could have an influence on the indoor environment quality. The measured values and characteristics build a baseline for the newly developed material formulations in view of an improved indoor environment. A potential flaw of the EN ISO 846 test for fine fibrous and pale materials has been detected since it may be difficult to assess the amount of mould growth on these materials with the naked eye. The isopleth ranges were determined. The mineral wool insulation was, as expected, the most resistant material against mould growth. Other materials showed different susceptibilities against mould infestation. In all tested materials the susceptibility against mould growth laid distinctly above the so called lowest isopleth for mould (Lim0, baseline). Rather resistant were the wood fibre board (Claytec e.K.) the clayboard with reed (Claytec e.K.) MDF laminated, HDF laminated and chipboard laminated (all Kronospan LTD). The latter two were more resistant than their control materials.
BANGOR coordinated Task 1.5 (Chemical and micro-structural characterisation of eco-materials). An understanding of microstructure developed an understanding of the diffusion pathways and the porosity of the materials. An understanding of the chemical make-up of the product also helped the understanding of the off gassing from the product and the synthesis of the volatile organic compounds. The chemical and microstructural characteristics of the base materials were successfully analysed. The tests as part of this work package generally showed good correlation between the results reported by the three partner institutions.
ACCIONA coordinated Task 1.6 (Consultation with stakeholders and national government and certification bodies). This task aimed to define the stakeholder’s attitudes and perceptions towards the proposed eco-materials, through questionnaires, on-line surveys and round table discussion, focusing in Spain, Germany and the UK. Key findings included:
• Legal Frameworks in most of European countries are not currently providing bonuses for the use of eco-materials in building. However, the potential of eco-material for sustainable building planning is increasingly growing awareness of public authorities and policy-makers in Europe in its intention to fulfil their energy reduction targets by 2020. The alignment of building technologies with the forecast greener trend in Construction is necessary.
• Significantly, environmental performance is a major impact nowadays towards building construction materials because of the global warming issues everywhere in the world. This is why intensified Building Regulations on environmental impacts and certification tools such as EPDs and labeling for environmental assessment of building materials can be an aid to drive the sustainability of construction products.
• Concerns on decreased health and productivity as consequence of IEQ problems are leading to increased demand for efficient building design that can achieve the balance between energy savings and occupant’s wellbeing. In this context, new technologies in construction materials can contribute to the procurement of buildings taking care of thermal and acoustical comfort, dampness issues, and even air quality and concentration of pollutants in air.
• The most important barrier factors for the adoption of eco-materials in the construction sector are the lack of awareness and supportive education, equal performance to reference traditional materials, support of legislative bodies and incentives for investment and innovations and the high prices of the products and technology for large-scale production.
• The most important drivers that could accelerate eco-materials uptake identified from the surveys are the development of eco-materials with a competitive price with equivalent performance compared to conventional materials used for the same purpose, the growth in the eco-materials demand, a greater understanding of benefits of IEQ on occupant health and well-being, incentives for investment and innovations, future regulations imposing new standards and training of building representatives.
BANGOR took on coordination of Task 1.7 (Whole Life Performance), successfully producing a report for consortium partners, covering all materials, outlining the whole life of products, providing quick reference guide to the raw materials, production, use and End of life.
188.8.131.52 WP2 Innovative photocatalytic coatings for indoor air quality environment control
The aim of WP2 was to develop innovative solutions targeted at improving indoor air quality, based on the development of photocatalytic coatings tailored for application onto specific surfaces of indoor panels and with durable activity in the visible light range. WP 2 was divided into five specific tasks, which had the following objectives:
• To analyse in detail the end-user requirements, including cost, product and process specifications of the desired photocatalytic coatings (D2.1).
• To develop novel doped photocatalytic nanoparticles with higher efficiency (50% above current photocatalytic nanoparticles) in terms of photocatalytic activity in the visible light range (D2.2).
• To achieve a formulation that required a final thermal treatment well below current solutions (which require thermal treatments at 500-600°C) and were compatible with the ECO-SEE lime (D2.3) and wood panel (D2.4) substrates of interest.
• To fully investigate the photocatalytic behaviour of the novel coatings with respect to VOC pollutants and micro-organisms (e.g. moulds) and to assess whether photocatalytic coatings were able to degrade many pollutants at once (D2.5).
Task 2.1 (Definition of end-user requirements), led by ACCIONA. The requirements regarding the photocatalytic solutions for selected surfaces were determined and analysed. The following commercial products were selected: Melamine Faced Medium Density Fibreboard (MDF) (wood panel); and lime plaster (Tradical Décor/Tradical Lait de Chaux).
Led by UAVR, Task 2.2 (Doped photocatalytic nanoparticles selection), defined the main nanoparticles to be used as photocatalysts in later tasks. These were commercial nanopowders Evonik P25 and KRONOClean 7000, as well as a silver-modified nanotitania developed by UAVR (produced via a green sol-gel procedure). Modified photocatalytic (PC) coating were successfully developed, achieving a 50% higher photocatalytic activity under visible-light exposure than the most commonly used photocatalytic nanoparticles. UBATH developed titanium dioxide nano-particles for deposition on wood based panels. In methylene blue tests under white light irradiation, the Cobalt-doped nano-particles showed strong PC activity superior to commercial products.
In Task 2.3 (Development of photocatalytic coatings for lime surfaces) TECNALIA developed p-c coating formulations for lime plaster. Different levels of dosage were trialled to establish the optimum amount required. Additionally, experimental nanoparticles developed by UAVR were also incorporated to the lime mortar coating. Nine mortar formulations were applied by TECNALIA onto the A4-size lime mortar panels. The mineralogy, microstructure, colour and porosity of these panels were evaluated. TECNALIA also developed and later shared two detailed protocols for the preparation, mixing and application of the BCB lime plaster coatings onto the A4 lime substrates. Besides TECNALIA developed four lime milk dosages with different amounts of TiO2 commercial nano-particles and applied onto lime mortar renders whose microstructure and colour were characterized. UBATH prepared a novel lime photocatalytic coating formulation, applied onto lime plaster panel substrates by mixing nano-TiO2 with lime mortar or nano-lime. These samples were successfully evaluated for photocatalytic activity using three commercial indicator inks (Ink Intelligent). The colour change was quicker and more noticeable in the samples containing a higher concentration of nanoparticles. BRE’s technical contribution to this task was focused on conducting the VOC/formaldehyde emission tests on new A4 sized prototype coated panels using their 2-litre chamber. BCB provided to this task valuable support on mortar application technology and provided the lime-based materials required for the work in Task 2.3. All the made panels were sent by Task 2.3 partners to FRAUNHOFER for evaluation of PC activity in Task 2.5.
In Task 2.4 (Development of photocatalytic coatings for wood panels) UBATH completed the development of suitable photocatalytic coatings, which included photocatalytic microparticles rather than nanoparticles. This decision was supported by the task leader (TECNALIA) and avoided any concerns regarding potential health hazards or negative public perception of nanoparticles. Tests for PC activity were reviewed including methylene blue dye testing, indicator inks, RGB testing and residual gas analysis; their relative merits had been examined. Commercial TiO2 grades were also evaluated experimentally. Besides Co-doped TiO2 nano-particles were synthesised by a sol-gel technique. These synthetic nano-particles were photocatalytically active and in tests with methylene blue solutions they performed well with respect to commercial nano-particles. Co-doped TiO2 nano-particles were sol-gel coated onto alumina micro-particles for applying to flooring grade MDF boards. Thin adhesive photo-catalytic coatings have been formulated for application to décor finishes on MDF panels. The coatings were based on a combination of TiO2 particles, water, isopropyl alcohol (IPA) and commercial polyurethane/acrylate (PU/A) resin. The combination of water and IPA dispersed the particles and allowed the décor finish to be coated. The PU/A resin bonds the particles to the surface. KRONOSPAN scaled up by spraying the coating onto the surface of MF MDF. The application is simple and KRONOSPAN was able to introduce it into the existing production process. Boards were sprayed so they could be analysed for photocatalytic activity at FRAUNHOFER and BRE. BRE performed adsorption/desorption tests in 2-litre chambers on prototype PC coated boards. Although further optimisation of PC coatings will be necessary it has been demonstrated that it is feasible to produce commercial MDF panels finished with active PC coatings.
In Task 2.5 (Lab-scale testing of photocatalytic coatings) FRAUNHOFER undertook photo-catalytic performance testing of prototype materials. Initial testing focused on formaldehyde degradation, performed in accordance with the ISO 22197 series. Illumination of the test specimens led to a significant release/generation of formaldehyde from the samples themselves, but some samples seem to have a high adsorption capacity for formaldehyde. In total 27 samples have been measured; of those 5 were selected for thorough VOC degradation testing and 6 for anti-microbial activity testing, always against blanks. As WP2 leader, TECNALIA examined and discussed with all WP2 partners the preliminary results on the photocatalytic performance of the developed lime-based coatings, which resulted from the work by FRAUNHOFER. The preliminary results were difficult to interpret due to the emission of VOCs arising from the fibre board substrate, which interfered with the VOCs added to the chamber (continuous mode) during the test. Accordingly, in order to ascertain the real performance of the P-C lime mortar formulations with Krono Clean 7000, TECNALIA prepared four additional A4 size mortar samples without board substrate that were sent to FRAUNHOFER for later testing on formaldehyde degradation. These samples made only with Tradical Décor and nano-TiO2 gave a good starting point for assessing the reduction of formaldehyde (HCHO) by light or adsorption. UAVR undertook photocatalytic testing in a new reactor, using benzene as polluting gas and a white LED lamp as the light source. Results from the ETDK3 sample testing at ACCIONA (toluene degradation test) and for other tests on several other related samples at BRE have also provided additional evidence of photocatalytic activity in terms of VOC degradation of the P-C lime mortar panel prototype.
In this task UBATH prepared four samples of MF-MDF board, one uncoated and three of them coated with three different coatings whose compounds and their concentrations were the same, differing in the kind of nano-TiO2. TECNALIA inspected at macro and micro scale the appearance of the three MF-MDF coated samples, proving that their appearance was identical to the non-coated MF-MDF panel. Besides, aesthetic parameters such as colour or gloss were measured by TECNALIA, no changes were found. TECNALIA prepared four A4 size lime mortar coatings. TECNALIA analysed the aesthetics of such mortars at macro level, including their colour. No noticeable changes were found. Additionally, TECNALIA studied the microstructure of those four samples that was similar too.
TECNALIA also measured the porosity of these four Tradical Décor lime mortars and found that that porosity values (≈29%) were not significantly altered when the p-c additive was added. TECNALIA sent two samples to BRE who measured their specific surface area, finding that the addition of nanoparticles almost doubled the surface area with respect to the reference mortar. The comparison with previously collected data showed that vapour water permeability was marginally improved. TECNALIA measured the adhesion of those four lime mortars to the substrate: it was good, ranging from 0.12 MPa to 0.15 MPa.
Other work performed by UBATH for this task included the calculation of thickness and cost/unit area of photocatalytic coatings developed for MDF décor finishes. The calculations were based on a formulation comprised of clusters of nano-TiO2 as the active photocatalytic component. The density of the wet coating, the thickness of the wet coating and the thickness of a dry coating were calculated from weighing measurements and a calculation of cost/unit area of the coating. The microparticles do not suffer from the perceived risks to health associated with nanoparticles. Hence they are suitable for coating panels for indoor locations. More formulations of cobalt-doped and tungsten doped TiO2 nano-particles were manufactured via the sol-gel method and their photocatalytic activity was assessed using the UBATH’s residual gas analyser.
In this task BRE performed several tests on prototypes, including specific surface area tests. Emissions tests (VOCs and formaldehyde) were carried out at 3 days and 28 days. The main VOCs emitted were 1-butanol and hexanal, which may be prevalent from the lime. The formaldehyde found in the emissions may be from the resin used in the MDF panel. Samples with higher specific surface area were found to emit less formaldehyde, which may be due to the adsorption of formaldehyde on the surface of the lime during the diffusion. Using the BRE 2-litre chamber rig (as also used in WP3 and WP4) the adsorption and desorption behaviour of the surfaces boards with respect to three VOCs (toluene, limonene and dodecane) and formaldehyde were investigated. These experiments were carried out in dark conditions, hence the interactions between materials and VOCs will have been mainly physical (e.g. surface area, porosity and pore size, polarity of VOCs). It was observed that in the adsorption phase, the sink effect for VOCs followed the trend dodecane > limonene > toluene; and for formaldehyde the sink effect increased with an increase in the concentration of nanoparticles on the material surface. In the desorption phase, samples with an increased concentration of nanoparticles on their surface were able to retain a higher amount of dodecane and formaldehyde.
184.108.40.206 WP3 Beyond state of the art: eco-materials for passive indoor environment control
WP3 built on the baseline data collected in WP1 with the aim of developing:
• Prototypes of new and novel bio-based insulation materials with increased VOC capture capabilities (by at least 20%) without deterioration in other base line properties (D3.1) M6-M15.
• Prototypes of new and novel panel products (suitable for indoor use) with a reduced release of VOCs (not
just formaldehyde but all VOCs) and mechanical and physical properties as stated in BS EN 312 (Task 3.2). Additionally the prototyping of panels that sequester VOCs and aldehydes from the air and close contact coating such as paints or facings were undertaken (D3.2) M6-M15.
• Prototypes of novel lime or clay plasters and composites using bio based additives with lime or clay, developed to aid the manufacture of a breathable, VOC neutral plaster coating system to work in conjunction with the other novel products (D3.3) M9-M18.
• Up scale the production of the innovative products and assess them through an agreed matrix of testing (D3.4) M12-M24.
• Comparison of formaldehyde emission testing methods – the standard method and the new simplified method (D3.5) M34-M46.
Task 3.1 Novel Insulation materials: Task 3.1 was completed and D3.1 submitted with accordance to the description of work. A state of the art report was completed on the modification of wool and cellulosic insulations. Research into three areas of modification was undertaken: mechanical, physical and chemical. A number of treatments to wool were performed and initial assessments were made on their effectiveness. The main conclusions of the work were as follows: Wool has a natural affinity for formaldehyde that shows inter breed variation; Mechanical methods are able to change the structure of the wool fibre which may improve sorption properties; Anhydride modifications of the wool have been made in order to improve the uptake of VOC’s covering the range of polarities, such as limonene, toluene and dodecane; Anhydride modifications reduce the ability of wool to absorb formaldehyde; Carbon fibre does not absorb formaldehyde. Led by BANGOR, BCB, BMI, UBATH, MODCELL and NESOCELL contributed to this task.
Task 3.2 Novel Panel Products: Task 3.2 was completed and D3.2 submitted with accordance to the description of work. Initially a state of the art report completed on the modification of panel productions was completed. Modifications to the recipe for board manufacture, the addition of novel scavengers, and manipulation of the refiner pressure were assessed for their effects on the improvement of VOC release abatement and VOC capture. The scavengers that successfully absorbed more formaldehyde than the untreated wood fibre were further used to develop mechanically modified MDF and chipboard panels. The scavengers used for this were walnut, almond, and sunflower and milled peanut shell. Medium Density Fibreboard (MDF) panels were made to a density of 760 Kg/m3 and 0.4 x 0.4m2 and a thickness of 12mm. Chipboard panels were made to a density of 600 Kg/m3 and 0.4 x 0.4m2 and a thickness of 12mm. The scavenger loading for all MDF and chipboards panel were 5%, 10% and 15% of wet fibre weight. Each of the panels produced were subject to mechanical strength testing, once condition to a constant weight 21°C ± 0.2°C 60% RH ± 2%, and re-evaluated for formaldehyde absorption using the same schedule on the DVS. The mechanical strength tests chosen were: Internal Bond Strength, Modulus of Rupture, Modulus of Elasticity, Thickness Swell and Moisture Content. All tests were conducted in accordance using BS EN standards. Mechanical modification performed was changing the refining pressure during MDF production. Research conducted has shown that refining of wood chip alters the fibre structure and chemical components. Some research has indicated that this refining stage in MDF production can alter the fibres and have adverse effects on the final MDF panel mechanical properties. MDF fibre was refined at different refining pressures; 6 bar (87 psi), 8 bar (116 psi) and 10 bar (145 psi). Panels with different structures were prepared in the laboratory according to the changed parameters and recipes, using mainly industrial chips supplied by the manufacturer in Poland and UK. For comparative purposes alder, willow and pine chips obtained in the ITD laboratory were also used. Their properties were measured, including: the formaldehyde content and emission, VOC emission, bending strength, modulus of elasticity in bending, tensile strength perpendicular to the plane of the board, swelling after 24h of immersion in water, moisture content and density were tested using methods described in the European standards. The results showed the possibility of producing chipboards with a very limited formaldehyde content and emission, even up to 50% compared to the standard, that have a safe TVOC level and the required durability. Led by ITD, KRONOSPAN, BANGOR, and UBATH contributed to this task.
Task 3.3 Novel Lime and Clay based coatings: Task 3.3 was completed and D3.3 submitted with accordance to the description of work. State of the art report was completed on the modification of clay and lime coatings. There was a significant development into both earth and lime based coating materials with the inclusion of varying aggregates for the intended improvement of hygrothermal properties. The focus was on the reduction of thermal conductivity, improvement of specific heat capacity and improvement of humidity buffering properties. Aggregates for both types of coatings considered biological and mineral based materials. The inclusion of aggregates was intended for different purposes. Those that passively change the physical properties of the coatings, such as density and porosity, and those that exert an active role in hygrothermal regulations. The approach to the development of novel coatings based on lime and clay varied between the two, with both involving the manufacturer of the binders and the coatings and research partners. As expected, the addition of aggregates improved some properties of the coatings. This was clearly seen with the aggregate addition leading to an intended reduction of density. This reduction in density was found to be beneficial for thermal conductivity but also reduced the mechanical properties of the coatings. The reduction in density with increasing mass fractions of aggregate additions was non-linear. The aggregates effected the mixing of water in two ways: changing the granulometry of the mix and absorbing water into the aggregates micro-structure. This raises the possibility that the current methods of quantifying suitable workability requirements are inappropriate, especially for the types of lime mixes developed here.
The compositions of the different coatings clearly can be further optimised, especially considering the non-linear nature of aggregate addition as observed with the addition to lime based coatings. The base mix composition and suitable amount of water to achieve a practical workability can be further refined for improved properties. Led by UBATH, UAVR, BRE, BCB, and CLAYTEC contributed to this task.
Task 3.4 Testing and evaluation of novel products: Task 3.4 was completed and D3.4 successfully submitted, after an extension of 3 months to the DOW completion date, granted by the PO to allow the biological testing to be completed. Samples were produced in accordance with the requirements of the agreed testing matrix for IAQ, mechanical, physical microbiological resistance property testing (full results are available in D3.4). Most samples were distributed within Month 24. Some of the testing required finished products (from upscaling) for the test to be completed. The testing was completed when these samples became available. Led by FRAUNHOFER, BANGOR, and BRE contributed to this task.
Task 3.5 Comparison of formaldehyde emission testing methods – the standard method and the new simplified method. Task 3.5 was completed and D3.5 submitted with accordance to the modified description of work. The aim of this new task was to develop a cheap, quick and easy method to assess the formaldehyde emission from construction materials made of panels, including layered panels (e.g. samples of the wall elements), as well as those refined with various coatings. The scope of the task included the determination of the correlation between the results of the selected materials developed in the project, obtained by the standard method and the newly developed method. The research of usefulness of the formaldehyde emission testing method continued. Testing of formaldehyde emission was conducted from materials developed in project, delivered from partners from UBATH, BRE and CLAYTEC and produced in ITD after different periods of seasoning. Correlations between the results of the selected materials developed in the project, obtained by the simplified method and the standard European method, are reported in D3.5. This task was led by ITD.
220.127.116.11 WP4: Develop design tools for holistic assessment of IEQ
The aim of WP4 was to develop a design tool for holistic assessment of IEQ for the specific purpose of supporting market development ECO-SEE materials and products. Specific objectives of WP4 were:
• Development of an indoor air quality model (IAQ) where the relevant processes for air contamination and cleaning (sources, sinks) and their dependency on temperature and air flow were addressed and suitable and reasonable transfer coefficients were derived (D4.1).
• Development of a hygrothermal model, which includes all hygrothermic processes relevant for the risk of failures (interstitial condensation), hygienic requirements (mould growth) and comfort (moisture buffering effects); (D4.2).
• An acoustic model will be developed to describe the influence on room acoustics (reverberation period) as well as the building acoustics (noise protection); (D4.3).
• Development and testing of a common tool infrastructure integrating these three models and using definitions for BIM to undertake holistic assessments of a new eco-efficient material applications (D4.4).
Task 4.1 (Development of an indoor air quality model) began with agreement between partners on input data required for IAQ modelling work by IITD. Input values were taken from experimental data for toluene, dodecane, limonene and formaldehyde for selected ECO-SEE materials. CFD simulation for selected materials for selected pollutants were completed by IITD, including CFD simulation of adsorption and desorption of toluene, dodecane and limonene for MDF in 2-litre chamber. BRE continued and completed work supporting IITD model development and validation, including: Completion of the testing and commissioning of the 30 m3 room-sized environmental chamber for IAQ tests on ECO-SEE materials (based on the CEN/TS 16516 ‘European model room’), including air inlet/outlet, air change rate control, temperature control and humidity control; Completion and testing of systems for delivery of air dosed with VOCs, formaldehyde; Emissions tests and adsorption/desorption tests on ‘Control MDF’ (WP1) sample mounted on one wall of the 30m3 chamber.
CFD simulation (2-litre chamber) showed that the MDF re-emitted toluene and limonene faster when compared to its adsorption and acted as a re-emitter. However, the MDF had more or less a similar adsorption and re-emission rate for dodecane and formaldehyde. The MDF neither acted as a re-emitter nor a sink for dodecane and formaldehyde. Laminated MDF re-emited toluene, limonene and dodecane faster when compared to its adsorption and acted as a re-emitter. However, it was found to have more or less a similar adsorption and re-emission rate for formaldehyde. The lime plasters adsorption rate for toluene, limonene, dodecane and formaldehyde was much higher than the re-emission rate, suggesting that it acted as a sink. Sheep’s wool acted as a re-emitter for toluene, limonene and dodecane. However, it acted as a sink for formaldehyde.
Figure 2 compares the experimental and simulated concentrations of limonene during adsorption and desorption phases. It was evident that the simulated concentrations followed similar trends in both adsorption and desorption phases. However, during adsorption phase, the differences in simulated and observed concentrations were due to variations in dosing concentration that had been taken at the inlet during the experiments.
Figure 3 compares the experimental and simulated concentrations of dodecane during adsorption and desorption phases. It is evident that the simulated concentrations followed similar trends in both adsorption and desorption phases. However, during adsorption phase, the differences in simulated and observed concentrations were due to variations in dosing concentration that had been taken at the inlet during the experiments.
Task 4.2 (Developing a hygrothermal model) combined hygrothermal and micro-biological measurement results into hygrothermal simulation models. The aim was to develop an easier and competitive possibility to estimate the climate conditions, and the risk of mould growth in buildings, in consideration of different wall coating materials. The investigations comprised coating existing materials (WP 1) and newly developed coating materials (WP 3). The different combinations of tests and simulations that were conducted in order to evaluate the moisture buffering behaviour and the risk of mould growth of several materials are listed below:
1. Evaluation of all hygrothermal and microbiological material properties under defined laboratory test conditions.
2. Measurement of the moisture buffering behaviour in a climate chamber with realistic typical diurnal moisture production.
3. Implementation of the test procedure for a validation into a one-dimensional software tool.
4. Implementation of the walls construction and material properties into a whole building software tool for the simulation of the indoor air climate conditions under real boundary conditions.
5. Results of the whole building simulation show the influence of different materials on the course of the relative humidity in the building and enable the classification of their moisture buffering behaviour.
6. Evaluation of the risk of mould growth in combination with the measured isopleths of mould growth and the calculated surface wall temperatures under real boundary conditions.
The results of the hygrothermal simulations showed that all newly developed materials of WP 3 had a positive effect to the moisture buffering behaviour thus dampening the amplitude of the relative humidity in rooms. Especially the influence of the lime plaster with 5 % cellulose fibres was remarkable. With this the moisture amplitudes in the morning and the afternoon could be reduced about 50 % in comparison to a state-of-the-art gypsum plaster. The new ingredients in the clay plasters reduced the ratio of amplitudes about 15 – 30 % at least. There was no risk of mould growth for all coating materials investigated in this case. Beside the high resistance of these materials to microbiological growth the reason for this lies in the relative humidities on the inner surfaces, which reached rarely high values.
BRE led the work towards development of an acoustic calculation model (Task 4.3). The work included use of the performance data established within the small scale testing (WP1) different combinations of ECO-SEE wall panel systems to model, using Insul software to predict the likely laboratory performance for internal wall panel systems, external wall panel systems and retrofit solutions for solid external wall constructions. Comparisons were made against relevant benchmarks for performance, and the results validated against the full scale testing undertaken on prototyped panels (WP5). Outputs from the above were fed into models for real room configurations within Bastian prediction software. The rooms were defined in terms of geometry, adjoining constructions and junctions to match the test cell being constructed at Bath (WP6) and of a school classroom previously identified as a potential pilot study (WP7). The modelling outputs considered the likely in-situ performance of ECO-SEE external and internal wall panels, and were compared against relevant benchmarks.
Based on the modelling work undertaken, a wide variety of laboratory performance is available from ECO-SEE wall panel systems and a database of expected results has been generated to feed into the holistic model. The approach to modelling using proprietary software was shown to be sufficiently accurate for the selection of appropriate systems by specifiers. The performance predicted to be achieved by different ECO-SEE internal wall panel systems is suitable for a wide variety of functions from situations where acoustic performance is not important and ranging to where good acoustic separation may be a requirement. It is unlikely that ECO-SEE internal wall panel systems will satisfy requirements between adjoining houses with the current design. The range in performance predicted for external wall panels yields results which would enable the ECO-SEE external wall panel to be deployed in a wide range of noise environments. Applications to retrofit is also possible. The in-situ performance of ECO-SEE wall panel performance has been shown to be capable of achieving relevant performance requirements for real-life situations.
Task 4.4 (Model integration and prototype application) was led by FRAUNHOFER. From the literature review, it was established that currently there is no common technical solution that fulfils the interoperability requirements for multi-objective Building Performance Assessment (BPA) based on Building Information Management (BIM) methods. Building Performance Simulation (BPS) tools are still used isolated and not integrated with central model repositories or proper database management systems. Still there is lack of information in existing BIM formats when used for BPA. This is mainly due to missing implementations concerning data import and export. There are already plenty of tools, formats and integrated environments, showing but insufficient maturity, interoperability and validity. Hence the recommendation for ECO-SEE design tool development is to utilise integrated dynamic models, proprietary but robust data exchange functions, and scripting languages for automation purpose.
Development of the design tool for holistic IEQ assessment was supported by a prototype application of an ECO-SEE use case. Therefore the project team decided upon the following viable technologies for integration and demonstration purpose:
• Modelica as dynamic systems modelling language (using Dymola as front-end)
• Multidisciplinary Modelica Libraries (airflow, hygrothermal, IAQ)
• Functional Mock-up Standard (FMI) for exporting stand-alone simulation modules
• Python as scripting language for automation tasks
• SketchUp as design and construction tool supporting BIM standards and providing possibilities for user defined interfaces and extensions (using Ruby scripting language)
In Figure 4 the UML structure of the data representation is given. The object model allows defining several construction types that contain one or more layers with ECO-SEE materials. The layers are further classified and the materials are further detailed by domain specific property sets, so far called Acoustics, Thermal, Hygric and IAQ.
FRAUNHOFER defined an overall workflow for generating and managing results from integrated IEQ simulation model. The workflow relied upon an already existing model generator that is capable of creating a Modelica simulation model from a 3-D construction plan. The so called IBP Model Generation Tool (MGT) was a vital part of the described workflow since it automatically generated a first model framework for subsequent integration of further sub-domain models (see Figure 5).
The development of the Functional Mock-up Interface (FMI) and above all its revision in 2014 created new possibilities for working with simulation models. Supporting tools are able to export stand-alone simulation units, called FMUs, which can be simulated without the presence of the source tool. As such, the FMI features the desired characteristics to provide planners with a platform independent tool based on a simulation model in order to test certain design parameters. To realize the integrated design tool a FMU was created incorporating the multi-disciplinary models named in the previous section. The FMU is automatically generated from a so called Generic Room Model (GRM) that can be equipped with various construction elements, tested under different boundary conditions and, to a limited extend be adapted in its geometry. In order to especially consider the developed ECO-SEE products, their relevant properties, like thermal properties, hygric properties etc. are set as parameters in the model. This ensures the capability to simply exchange the ECO-SEE products and simulate the effects with respect to IEQ performance criteria in different climates.
In Figure 6 the whole workflow for prototype application of ECO-SEE design tool for holistic assessment of IEQ is detailed. The prototype demonstrates a novel design tool for ECO-SEE products to assess thermal, hygric, acoustic and IAQ performance criteria in buildings. The IBP Model Generation Tool sets up a geometrically correct indoor environment model that allows predicting the IEQ performance after invoking the following sub-models:
• Airflow Model: zonal approach where indoor spaces are divided into multiple control volumes
• Radiation Model: long-wave radiation model and solar model
• Convection Model: convective heat exchange between walls and adjacent zone
• Conduction Model: conduction through monolayer as well as multilayer walls
• Hygric Model: moisture transfer model coupled with airflow model and heat exchanging models; simulates the absolute humidity in each zone
• Indoor Air Quality Model: simulates concentration of VOC, CO2 and other pollutants in each zone
• Linear Langmuir Model: the model is used to evaluate an adsorption and desorption process of the Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) over the material surface (Tichenor et al., 1991). The model assumes a monolayer adsorption over a homogeneous surface.
The adsorption or desorption of VOCs takes place between the zone (adjacent to the reactive material) and enclosure model. The adsorption and desorption coefficients are set as top level parameter for each material type (as defined in the material database). User can also define which wall panels are VOC emitters or ECO-materials. The simulated VOC concentration in each zone allows IEQ assessment of performance indicators describing air quality aspects.
The developed SketchUp plug-in enables the user defining not only the properties of each building component but also some global parameters of the model. As shown in Figure 7, the material and the thickness of each layer along with the construction type, the orientation and the boundary temperature can be selected or defined. Efforts can be saved in preparing the models by defining the components with same properties at the same time. The definition of other global parameters is presented in Figure 8.
An output Excel-file is generated to save the transferred input data after executing the plug-in. In addition to the demonstrated information in Figure 7 and Figure 8, the geometry data of each component like area and coordinates of vertices are also listed, which would be utilized in the subsequent indoor environment simulation. A particular Python script starts the execution of the IEQ Tool which is triggered by the SketchUp plug-in. In order to instantiate the IEQ model FMU with the materials and parameters provided in SketchUp, the created Excel file is read by this script. The geometry is transferred to the FMU and the global parameters, such as location and air change rate to be simulated, are set. For each facet of the room, the provided materials are further queried in the ECO-SEE material database. The required thermal, hygric and VOC absorption and desorption properties are extracted and included in the FMU. The start of the simulation is also initiated in the Python script as the language provides the necessary functionality to operate with FMUs. A potential end-user, however, is restricted to the SketchUp plug-in and this will not be involved in background simulation process. Interaction with the model is therefore completely limited to the SketchUp frontend. After the simulation is done, the required results for the evaluation process, such as indoor air temperature, humidity, CO2 concentration etc., is written to the Excel output file inheriting the post-processing functionalities. With this step, the resulting diagram is automatically adjusted to the simulation results and opened instantly to become visible to the end-user.
At the end of the simulation process an evaluation for different IEQ criteria is attached. The classification of the results should help the user of this tool, e.g. architects or planners, to choose the optimal material for the application in the wall constructions. For different indoor environments people tend to have different comfort requirements. The diagram serves as an easy and comparable presentation mode of simulation results to find the best material for a healthy and comfortable indoor air quality. On the base of several standards, actual guidelines and specification in literature an assessment diagram is developed. As a last step in the workflow of the development of the holistic assessment tool all relevant results of the simulation are exported to an XSL file that inherits post-processing capabilities in order to automatically generate an evaluating diagram based on several IEQ criteria.
18.104.22.168 WP5 Production scale up of eco-materials for passive environment control
The objectives of WP5 were as follows:
• Develop prototype eco-materials through a series of production trials and iterative modifications to material formulations and manufacturing processes (D5.1 and D5.2).
• Design, manufacture and performance test prototype ECO-SEE external and internal wall panels (D5.3 and D 5.4).
• Evaluate IEQ benefits of prototypes materials and panels in laboratory scale tests (D5.5).
• Manufacture prototype ECO-SEE wall panels for test building trials in WPs 6 and 7 (D5.7).
In Task 5.1 (Selection and scale-up most appropriate potential eco-materials), led by UBATH and MODCELL, the ECO-SEE material library of scalable materials, developed in WPs1-3, was compiled and completed as (D5.1). The selection of eco-materials required an approach that encompassed a range of factors. A novel multi-factor selection process was developed. The selection approach reflected the intended use and the intended priority of ecological impacts of materials. Weighting of important properties or attributes such as mechanical performance helped to highlight insulation materials capable of bearing light loading for instance. It was also important to acknowledge whether a property was a positive of negative attribute when selecting the materials. For instance vapour permeability should be maximised in some cases but minimised if a material is intended to act as a vapour barrier. The material selection tool developed allowed the above factors to be controlled when ranking ECO-SEE materials.
In Task 5.2 (Scale-up of photocatalytic coatings) ACCIONA successfully prepared photocatalytic lime mortar panel prototypes for testing using a recipe developed by TECNALIA. The photocatalytic activity of these prototypes was assessed initially at ACCIONA by means of the Rhodamine-B based colorimetric test and later the NOx and VOC degradation was measured by ACCIONA and FRAUNHOFER respectively. Using a recipe developed by UBATH the photocatalytic coating was produced by KRONOSPAN. The p-c materials was dispersed in the IPA, water added and well mixed then finally adding the polyurethane varnish. The coating was sprayed onto the wood panels and allowed to dry before shipping to BRE for ‘full room testing’. Though the initial results from the test came back with low levels of photocatalytic activity, tests using intelligent indicator pens showed the coating was satisfactory.
MODCELL led the Prototype panel design (Task 5.3). External and internal panel designs were successfully developed. The external panel design developed maximised the flexibility of ECO-SEE material adoption, whilst also providing a unique multi-insulation solution. The design of the panels has drawn together a broad range of materials and consortium design input. The prototype designs aimed to capture the diversity of materials and their roles in improving indoor air quality. As well as constituent materials, novel aspects of the designs include perforated timber studs (minimise thermal bridging and weight) and layer make-up. Mock ups are shown in Figures 7 and 8 below.
In Task 5.4(Initial prototype ECO-SEE panel manufacture) MODCELL collated the panel designs from Task 5.3 formed a specification for test specimens in conjunction with project partners and the various testing houses. A prototype panel construction and testing schedule was confirmed with all partners. The schedule details the panel testing type and testing house specifications with deadline dates of material delivery.
Prototype panel testing, evaluation and modification (Task 5.5) were led by BRE, with contributions from FRAUNHOFER, ACCIONA, BANGOR, UBATH, and ITD. The aim of the testing was to take forward the laboratory-scale eco-developments of earlier work packages into the production of novel prototype materials and ECO-SEE panels. The following tests were completed: Structural integrity testing; Thermal testing; Fire resistance (indicative scale); Acoustic testing; IAQ testing (small-scale) - for chemical emissions, adsorption and desorption; IAQ testing (large-scale room-sized environmental chamber) - for chemical emissions, adsorption and desorption.
In Task 5.6 (Durability, Maintenance and Replacement), led by MODCELL, considerations of durability and maintenance were taken from the results, material specifications on prior projects. The report compiled included information on specification, maintenance and expected durability for: External ECO-SEE Wall Panels; Internal ECO-SEE Partition; ECO-SEE Photocatalytic Lime Liner; ECO-SEE Clay Liner; ECO-SEE Photocatalytic Timber Liner; ECO-SEE Insulation.
In the final task of WP5 (Task 5.7 Manufacture of production trial panels), led by MODCELL with contributions from BANGOR, BMI, SKANSKA, ACCIONA, CLAYTEC, NESOCELL, and KRONOSPAN, panels for WPs 6 and 7 were successfully delivered. This period was particularly significant for BMI, with successful upscaling of modification process for the sheep’s wool insulation in readiness for the prototype panels for WP6 and WP7.
22.214.171.124 WP6 Field-test validation and energy performance simulation of developed materials
The main objective of WP6 was to demonstrate and validate the performance of the ECO-SEE wall panels through installation in small scale test cells. This would allow identification of the limitations and problems in the developed products prior to installing them in real buildings and validation of the on-site cost advantages of the products. WP6 was divided into five specific tasks, which had the following objectives, throughout the project:
• To design and adapt the prototype panels for use in the test cells. Two test cells to be constructed, one ECO-SEE and one Reference cell of conventional building materials, in two locations (four test cells in total) namely Wroughton in the UK and Madrid in Spain (D6.1).
• To evaluate the energy performance advantage of the ECO-SEE prototype panels under different climates (UK (northern Europe) and Spain (southern Europe) (D6.2).
• To install the prototype panels into the test cells (D6.3).
• To prepare information guides for use in application, installation and training of the new solutions (D6.4).
• To evaluate and monitor the ECO-SEE wall panel performance in the test cells under real weather conditions, allowing identification of possible weaknesses and problems that might appear outside of laboratory conditions (D6.5).
Task 6.1 (Design of the test cell buildings and adaptation of prototypes) encompassed the design and adaptation of prototype panels for use in the test cells. Two test cells were constructed, one ECO-SEE and one Reference cell of conventional building materials, in two locations (four test cells in total) namely Wroughton in the UK, and Madrid in Spain. Input from partners to the design of the ECO-SEE test cells was provided via face-to-face meetings, e-mail and Skype discussion and, following a few early iterations, a square plan design was agreed with internal dimensions of 3.6 m x 3.6 m and an internal height of 2.4 m. This provided an internal air volume of approx. 31.1 m3, excluding the volume of final finishing panels which accounted for approx. 0.4 to 1.4 m3 additional volume (reducing room air volume to approx. 29.7 m3 to 30.7 m3) depending on the thickness of the final innermost layer. The test cell design included a 1m2 double glazed window and a personnel door of 800x2000mm. MODCELL also developed a corner box solution to reduce thermal bridging and ensure a modular panel system was maintained. Figure 9 presents a plan and section view of the first square-plan ECO-SEE test cell design.
Following discussion between ECO-SEE partner organisations, it was agreed to have a target nominal U-value of better than approx. 0.15W/m2K. Tables 1 and 2 present the test cell external wall construction and thermal properties, which, omitting any thermal bridging effect, and assuming standard surface heat transfer coefficients, equates to a U-value of 0.14 W/m2K for both wall constructions.
The floor and roof cassettes were common to both test cells and made from traditional materials. Especially they comprised a 200 mm thick layer of rigid insulation sandwiched between layers of OSB which achieved a thermal transmittance of 0.15 W/m2K, which is considerably better performance than any current regulatory performance standard and serves to limit heat loss to the ground and conduction loss or gain via the roof.
UBATH coordinated Task 6.2 (Test cell energy performance modelling). UBATH performed the energy performance simulations of the Reference and ECO-SEE test cell sited in the UK, while ACCIONA took charge of performing these simulations of the test cells sited in Spain. Simulations of energy performance for the Reference and ECO-SEE test cells in the locations of the UK and Spain provided useful data to inform expectations on energy performance, thermal comfort, and determine heating system sizing for the physical models, which were constructed as part of Task 6.3 and monitored as part of Task 6.5. The simulation indicated, for typical weather conditions, at a heating set-point temperature of 22°C and of very good fabric air-tightness (infiltration of 0.05 h-1, at normal pressure) an energy demand of 501 kWh for the ECO-SEE building and 593 kWh for the Reference case, in the UK, and 381 kWh and 427 kWh for the ECO-SEE and Reference cells, respectively, in Spain. Other factors such as intermittent operation impacted upon this figure and such dynamic effects were evaluated as part of further simulations and measurement reported in Task 6.5. The peak heating power requirement, determined at an elevated set-point temperature, from Simulation 3, provided supporting evidence that, subject to reaching target levels of air-tightness (<0.6 h-1 at 50Pa), heating peak loads can be met by a heating system of capacity of less than 500 W during the co-heating testing described in D6.1. It was expected that this heating can be provided via a small array of incandescent lamps, which is both simple to control and maintain and can be easily uprated to meet higher demands if and when required.
As part of Task 6.3 (Integration of the panels in the test cells) four test cells were constructed, one ECO-SEE and one Reference cell of conventional building materials, in two locations, at the UBATH Building Research Park (UK) and ACCIONA Demo Park (Spain). UBATH and ACCIONA were in charge of the implementation of the panels in their respective test sites. UBATH and ACCIONA constructed concrete foundation slabs at their respective test sites and erected two test cells at each site (four test cells in total). MODCELL were in regular contact with ACCIONA and UBATH during the construction and installation of the ECO-SEE and Reference test panel. The panels were easily off loaded and installed using a crane because lifting straps were incorporated into the panels at fabrication stage. The sheep’s wool and the MgO boards provided by BMI and the OSB/3 rainscreen cladding were fitted on site. The modified clay and the primer supplied by CLAYTEC were also applied on site. CLAYTEC applied the plaster at the UK test cells and in parallel ACCIONA was informed “in real-time” about each step necessary for a proper installation of the plaster. In Task 6.4 (Guidelines for design, implementation and training) BRE led development of the design guidelines for the ECO-SEE panels. The report is publicly available (D6.4) at www.eco-see.eu.
The key objective of Task 6.5 (Monitoring of the system) was instrumentation and monitoring of the test cells at the UBATH Building Research Park and ACCIONA Demo Park for the evaluation of acoustic, indoor air quality (IAQ), microbial and thermal performance under real weather conditions. UBATH and ACCIONA completed successfully the installation of monitoring instrumentation into the two full-scale physical test buildings. UBATH recorded continuous monitoring data for the two test buildings from M37 onwards, while ACCIONA commenced to take some monitoring data from M36 onwards. As part of the WP6 testing regime, the following tests undertaken for both demonstration sites (UK and Spain): Microbial testing; Acoustic testing; Indoor Air Quality; Thermographic imaging; Air tightness testing; Co-heating; Building fabric U-value assessment; and, Hygrothermal and energy efficiency performance.
Monitoring data collected (Task 6.5 Report on field-tests) showed that the ECO-SEE test building and the reference building both performed at levels expected. Concerning the IAQ testing, the main conclusions found were that the ECO-SEE test cell showed lower levels of CO2, particulate matter, TVOC and formaldehyde. Acoustically, the performance of ECO-SEE external wall panel when installed as a complete system was comparable with the control construction. The microbial analysis indicated that air spore levels in the measured test cells were at comparable levels (low) with a slight tendency to lower figures in the ECO-SEE cell in the case of UK.
126.96.36.199 WP7 Implementation testing: proof of concept; energy efficiency
The aim of WP7 was to assess ‘proof of concept’ performance of new products in full-scale building projects. The original aim was to have two in Northern Europe and two in Southern Europe.
Initial identification of the demonstration projects (Task 7.1 Project selection) was completed as planned. Four projects, a school building in Bristol, UK, an office in Malmo, Sweden, a test cell facility in Seville, Spain, and a public building refurbishment in Turin, Italy, were proposed. Subsequently, two of the initial demonstration projects identified (UK and Sweden) were not possible to progress. However, alternative demonstration sites were found, together with additional demonstration work. The final demonstration activities planned under WP7 are summarised in Table 3 below.
Task 7.2 (Design work and planning) led by SKANSKA involved preparing the demonstration site projects. ACCIONA and UBATH worked on the assembly procedure and fixing requirements for the ECO-SEE external panels. ACCIONA defined what would be the room for Reference purposes and composition details of the external façade. SKANSKA provided technical input as necessary. This was followed up with Task 7.3 (Procurement and the supply and fitting of the new products), also led by SKANSKA. This task required procurement of the materials for the demonstration projects. Partners liaised in preparation for the installation of an ECO-SEE test panels in Spain and the UK. The new products/systems developed were successfully able to be incorporated in the design of the pilot buildings (as set out above), including relevant architectural, building environmental and structural work.
In Task 7.4 (Installation of new products), led by SKANSKA, the consortium objective was to ensure delivery of the demonstration projects. UBATH contributed by installation and partial instrumentation of full-scale test panels at UBATH Building Research Park ‘HIVE’ research facility (Figure 10). UBATH also designed, built and installed 3No. 1m x 1m wall test panels for thermal performance evaluation under controlled environmental conditions in the UBATH Large Environmental Chamber (LEC) at Wroughton, UK (Figure 11). UBATH also contributed to management planning and technical discussions in relation to the installation and monitoring of the performance of new products installed in the offices of SKANSKA UK at Maple Cross, Hertfordshire, UK. ACCIONA worked on this task; the ECO-SEE exterior wall prototype was implemented ACCIONA’s test facility sited in Seville. Two identical rooms on the first floor (top floor) were used for the testing of the ECO-SEE wall panel; the Reference room for the Base prototype, which was served as reference, and the ECO-SEE room for the ECO-SEE wall prototype (Figure 12). The Base prototype was built up on-site as a façade specially designed to comply with the minimum thermal requirements of the Spanish legislation. The façade was composed of an outer sheet of ceramic exposed brick bonding with cement mortar. Inside was a layer of thermal insulation (mineral wool) and plasterboard of laminated gypsum as cladding was placed. This composition complied with the limit transmission of 0.82W/m2K. BMI and NESOCELL both supplied materials and expertise for WP7; NESOCELL installed cellulose insulation at the demonstration sites in UK (Swindon) and Spain (Seville).
Task 7.5 (Testing performance of new products): During the final 12 months of the project: monitoring of the panels at BRP was successfully completed; monitoring at the HIVE was successfully completed; monitoring at the ACCIONA test facility was successfully completed; monitoring at SKANSKA’s Offices was successfully completed (Figure 13). In addition demonstration wall at Lübeck University and ENVIPARK was completed. ACCIONA completed the installation of all the sensors and equipment needed for monitoring the performance of the ECO-SEE wall panel installed at ACCIONA’s test facility, in Seville, Spain. This validated the thermal, energy performance, acoustics and IAQ performance of the wall panel. ACCIONA conducted IAQ monitoring and the acoustic testing of the demonstration project. Further testing of this demonstration panel aimed to assess the photocatalytic activity of the internal photocatalytic lime finish through an artificial lighting test regime. In addition to the full-scale demonstration panel, UBATH also designed, built and installed three 1m x 1m wall test panels. These panels underwent a series of thermal evaluation tests in the UBATH Large Environmental Chamber (LEC) at the UBATH Building Research Park. The findings from this first round of tests were reported in D7.5. Photo-catalytic coated panels in pilot room at SKANSKA head office at Maple Cross were installed by SKANSKA facilities services in October 2016. The panels and the coating were provided by KRONOSPAN. BRE carried out IAQ monitoring (ventilation rate measurements and testing for T, RH, CO, CO2, VOCs, formaldehyde and particulate matter) at the UK pilot project involving installation of PC-coated boards to a meeting room in Maple Cross. The “ECO-SEE” meeting room and the identical “Control” meeting room were both subjected to the same monitoring regime. Further rounds of monitoring were undertaken in March 2017 and June 2017. BRE carried out further IAQ monitoring (ventilation rate measurements and testing for T, RH, CO, CO2, VOCs, formaldehyde and particulate matter) at the UK pilot project involving installation of PC-coated boards to a meeting room in Maple Cross. The “ECO-SEE” meeting room and the identical “Control” meeting room were both subjected to the same monitoring regime. This included introduction of a VOC “challenge” in the form of diffusive reed-stick air fresheners. In addition BRE supported UBATH in additional IAQ monitoring at ‘The Hive’ test facility by providing VOC samplers and analysis.
CLAYTEC realized a full-scale model of an external and internal ECO-SEE wall element, each element measuring 1250mmx2400mm, at Lübeck University (Figure 14). UBATH provided the drawings. The construction of the timber framework includes air-tightness layer, hemp and sheep´s wool insulation from BMI. For purposes of demonstration and training the cladding of the internal parts showed all materials developed in the ECO-SEE project: photocatalytic MDF board provided by KRONOSPAN, photocatalytic modified lime from BCB, magnesium oxide board (Magply) provided by BMI. A vapour permeable CLAYTEC coating system combined E14/+2 base coat clay plaster and a fine white colored clay finish.
ENVIPARK identified an area within their Turin offices (Italy) for the construction of a test wall panel (Figure 15). Materials and advice were provided by CLAYTEC and the installation was completed in M47. The Demo wall was installed in ENVIPARK’s Director office, in the office building of ENVIPARK. The building structure was partially built with sustainable criteria and materials, especially for the external walls, while internal partitions were realized with traditional solution based on gypsum boards. The scope of the installation was similar to that in Lubeck although NESOCELL flakes were substituted for sheep’s wool as the insulation material. A regime for the IAQ and effect of the panel in the room was established and will continue after the project completion. The ECO-SEE demo wall will be a permanent installation.
188.8.131.52 WP8 LCA/Environmental assessment and cost analysis
The objectives of WP8 was to complete Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of the products and processes, following ISO 14040 standards, to ensure environment impact, including embodied energy and carbon emissions of the new developed materials and products were minimised and were at least 15% lower than existing solutions (Tasks 8.1 - 8.3). In addition the WP also completed a new product cost effectiveness LCC study (Tasks 8.2 and 8.4).
Task 8.1 (Definition of the LCA and LCC studies: definition of the Scope, Functional Unit and system boundaries) set the methodological common reference parameter basis (scope, functional unit and system boundaries) for both Life Cycle Assessment and Life Cycle Costing of the ECO-SEE products. A preliminary assessment was conducted in a Cradle to Gate approach, with the optimized and selected products selected to be analysed in an extended Cradle to Grave or Cradle to Cradle approach. Selected environmental impact indicators (e.g. net balance of Global Warming Potential 100 years equivalent emissions (GWP) and embodied energy) were used in the holistic indoor environmental protocol, together with the other selected standard measured product performances (physical, biological, thermal, acoustic, fire-resistance and indoor air quality parameters).
During Task 8.2 (LCA and LCC data Inventory) an inventory of the outputs and inputs of the new materials and products, developed within the project, was completed. In this cradle to grave life cycle approach, the environmental impacts from raw material production, transport, energy consumption, materials, recycling and waste disposal, were quantified and analysed. The inventory of environmental impacts was carried out in parallel to an inventory of the costs incurred over the life of the product. For every Functional Unit (F.U.) of the ECO-SEE products the costs were the sum of capital costs and operating costs. Capital costs were mainly the costs incurred in the use of the production equipment and normalised to the production of each unit. It comprised the costs for materials and energy carriers used for the production. The inventory was conducted in two phases at different stage of products development, the first one on M12 and the second one on M36; this enabled LCA and LCC studies to feed back into product development (see Figure 16).
Once the Inventory data were obtained, the environmental performance of the developed products were evaluated in Task 8.3 (LCA results, benchmark against existing products and interpretation), with the six environmental impacts assessment categories required by EN 15804:2012. The study used the specific characterisation factors applied in the European Reference Life Cycle Database (ELCD): Global warming; Ozone depletion; Acidification of land and water; Eutrophication; Photochemical ozone creation; Depletion of abiotic resources (elements); Depletion of abiotic resources (fossil). The ECO-SEE materials LCA was conducted in a two-step process. The first step was a detailed analysis of the production of the materials from the industry partners of the ECO-SEE project. This allowed the use of a dedicated inventory with primary data, bringing the real environmental figures of the specific products used in the project. The single material was compared with the identified “standard” construction materials. The second step was meant for a comparative analysis between the ECO-SEE wall system and a wall with the same thermal insulation built with the standard materials. As the construction and use phase are the same in the comparative analysis, only different End Of Life (EOL) scenarios were considered for the environmental assessment. The analysis reported under this document refers to the “second step” of ECO-SEE LCA.
The complete analysis is a combination of the two different steps, allowing for a defined ECO-SEE wall panel structure, the calculation of the whole life cycle from cradle to grave. Within the ECO-SEE project, the main focus of the LCA performed is the assessment of the ECO-SEE products environmental target with the aim to deliver 15-20% reductions in embodied energy and carbon levels. The scope of the analysis was therefore a comparative evaluation of the Environmental performance of a selected ECO-SEE wall structure compared with a reference wall structure having the same performance. The analysis of the production phase of the different materials was performed by collecting primary data available from the producer members of the ECO-SEE consortium, while for the reference materials and for the other parts of the model secondary data from database was used. The background database use was GaBi Professional, included in the Thinkstep GaBi software used for the building and run of the LCA model. The F.U. that was used was 1 square meter of wall. The composition of the F.U. in term of mass for each layer of material, is reported in the following Tables 4 and 5.
The LCA analysis performed for the ECO-SEE wall system has clearly shown a reduction of the carbon and energy demand reduction compared to the standard materials used as reference.
• Reduction of GWP (kg CO2 eq.) between 100% and 350%. (Figure 17)
• Reduction of the Primary Energy Demand assessed around 27-28%. (Figure 18)
Further improvement of these performance are possible through the choice of proper natural components, compatible with the ECO-SEE system design, which can be selected by their environmental performance. The growing diffusion of the EPD system will contribute to this further improvement of the wall systems and building materials in general, by allowing comparison of the environmental performance of different products.
Task 8.4 (Life Cycle Costing results interpretation): In parallel with the LCA studies, an economic assessment of value chains was conducted. LCC sums up all costs occurring along the value chain and over the entire life cycle of products and processes within the same system boundaries as defined in LCA (Task 8.1) and is based on the same mass and energy flow model as defined in the Life Cycle Inventory (Task 8.2). Such analysis identifies cost drivers and cost risks within those chains and show efficiency improvements of process and product innovations during the development phase related to an agreed baseline. Based on the definition of the scope, functional units and system boundaries, the main task of FRAUNHOFER in WP 8 was the collection of relevant cost information from the project partners via questionnaires. As the feedback of LCC data from respective project partners at the same level of detail as the LCA data was very limited on product level, statistical data was also collected. Furthermore statistical data from public databases such as EUROSTAT and DESTATIS were collected and matched to ECO-SEE materials/ systems with respect to reference materials/ systems to have a consistent database for the compilation of the LCC-analysis. The second phase of the inventory data collection (Task 8.3) was completed in M48. Furthermore detailed determinations of the distinct life cycle stages were discussed. They related mainly to the topics of pre-fabrication (life cycle module A1-A3) and on-site installation (life cycle module A5), the consideration / quantification of IEQ-effects during the use phase on building level (life cycle module B1), the consideration of re-use, de-construction and recycling (life cycle module C). A further determination was the definition of the study period and the identification of missing input data such as lifetime expectancies of the innovative products, efforts for maintenance (life cycle module B2) and repair actions (life cycle module B3).
In Task 8.5 (EPD) the most promising materials and products (from technical/performance/environmental aspects) developed within the project were considered for the Environmental Product Declaration (EPD). EPDs were considered as a goal for this work package and possibility of its realisation was valuated. The data provided from LCI (Task 8.2) and LCA (Task 8.3) was collected and quantified according EN 15802 and ISO 14025 in order to create the documentation for the EPDs (Figure 19).
184.108.40.206 Potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications)
The ECO-SEE project has significantly improved and increased functionality of materials and technologies to deliver innovative new eco-solutions as component parts and used in combination, within ECO-SEE panels. These solutions have extended beyond the pre-existing state of the art in sustainable construction materials to deliver the following impacts compared to the applications and impacts of currently available materials with similar functionalities. The seven Key Results from the ECO-SEE project are:
• ECO-SEE Key Result 1-ECO-SEE Interior Wall Panel offers a tailored, bespoke and customizable partitioning system inside a building. The value proposition – backed up by a wealth of data generated in recognised centres of excellence - is a healthy, geographically appropriate solution: something that is ‘warm in winter, and cool in summer’ as required. This will then result in environmental and cost benefits - less carbon emissions and energy consumption through heating less air-conditioning, and / or less heating as appropriate, and healthier, more productive living and working environments.
• ECO-SEE Key Result 2- ECO-SEE Exterior Wall Panel is led by exceptional delivery of IAQ and temperature control, but generally reflect improvements in existing in-use functionality delivered in a low carbon impact package. Additionally, the product is design-led rather than being merely an assembly of “eco” materials, and thus offers additional value in terms of ease of installation / use and aesthetics.
The exterior panels (both loadbearing and non-loadbearing options) will be formed using the novel insulation, wood and plaster materials with photocatalytic coatings. They will seek to replace conventional timber framed and masonry walling systems in low rise buildings, and various cladding systems for low, medium and potentially high rise applications. Internal partitions will provide photocatalytic coated timber panel lined walls. The combined cladding and wall building market in the EU is valued at €80 billion per annum. The ECO-SEE panel designs have been made open-source and freely available to timber fabricators and builders.
• ECO-SEE Key Result 3- Photocatalytic Panel for Indoor Air Quality constitutes a panel product combining all the desirable properties of melamine coated MDF (or other wood-based panels) or lime based coatings but with better IAQ function through photocatalytic action on VOCs and/or microbial contaminants. The main differentiating user benefit will therefore rely on the exceptional delivery of IAQ without trading off other user-valued in-use properties or aesthetics, and the low carbon impact package used in the delivery.
• Insulation Materials: Current alternatives to mineral wool primarily differentiate on their low carbon / natural features trading off other functions. Thereof, opportunity for added value was identified if one or more of the IAQ, humidity and noise control properties of natural materials can be improved. In the case of ECO-SEE Key Result 4 - Insulation Products with Enhanced VOC capture, it is as effective as the best current materials in particular for IAQ, but with reduced carbon footprint. It is backed up with cost competitiveness, as this product would achieve price equivalence in mass markets, with a possible premium in environmentally driven niches.
The current global insulation market for both new-build and renovation is worth US$31.3 billion global insulation industry and has been growing annually at 6.3%. In Europe, the natural fibre insulation (NFI) proportion has grown to around 2% of market share. In Germany it is already 10% and other EU countries (e.g. UK) market growth is expected to be 5-10%, over 5 years. This dynamic market will allow entry of novel insulation materials that will be available as stand-alone products and components in ECO-SEE panels. Adoption is critical to deliver the required Impacts. BMI (UK) is expected to lead exploitation of the wool and hemp insulation. International market development of the cellulose insulation will be led by Nesocell (Italy). ECO-SEE insulation systems will deliver comfort, safety, health, durability, and parts are recyclable or reusable meeting future industry requirements.
• Coating Products: Gypsum represents a strong ‘control’ product across several functions but is weak on carbon footprint due to the energy intensive nature of its production. Several lime based products are the strongest performers on IAQ. However, there are no current coating products which deliver outstanding temperature or noise control. This is therefore a potential gap in the market which if addressed could deliver added value. In fact, ECO-SEE Key Result 5- Improved Lime and Clay Coating Products are coatings with at least as good (better if possible) IAQ function as current lime based coatings, with improved temperature and humidity control, supported by cost competitiveness and aesthetics.
The current EU market for internal plasters is worth around €25 billion per annum. Much of this market uses gypsum plaster products with poor vapour permeability qualities. The developed products will seek to capture 2-4% of the plaster market in 10 years. BCB (France) will lead market exploitation of novel lime based materials. Claytec will continue to exploit clay materials and develop international export markets. Both companies have a track record of bringing innovative products to the market, together covering niche and mainstream European markets.
• ECO-SEE Key Result 6- Low VOC Panels, are panels with the good mechanical properties of wood based products and significantly improved IAQ performance (better than existing wood-based and preferably better than current clay based panels). It is, therefore, a product with an important market niche, according to the value analysis it constitutes a new offering itself.
The current EU market for plaster & plasterboard products is estimated to be €3.5 billion and for predominantly timber-based Board materials €3.5 billion. The newly developed photocatalytic coatings will compete in this market offering new functionality over current coatings for this huge materials market. As well as air tight low carbon building projects, the new products are well suited to “clean environments” such as hospitals and surgeries. BCB (France) and Kronospan (EU wide) will lead market exploitation of lime and timber based surfaces respectively.
• The exception to this value analysis approach is ECO-SEE Key Result 7 - Design Tools for Holistic Assessment of Indoor Environmental Quality, which though enabling building design along corresponding functional lines, as a software based product/service would have its own distinct set of value functions. In this case, the simple definition of “An indoor environmental quality design tool differentiated from current building information modelling (BIM) marketplace offerings.” was adopted. This definition tallies with the major challenges in this market: the lack of expertise and the high cost of training. A high level of competence is required to use BIM software and the cost of training is one of the major concerns of the industry as a whole. Thus, the ECO-SEE design tool is intended to be an accessible product which can be used by non-specialists due to its reduced complexity – with the result that practical (non-research) applications can be pursued.
Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) incorporates Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) as well as other health, safety and comfort aspects, including acoustics, lighting levels and temperature. Proactive post occupancy evaluation studies, research and reactive consultancy activities, including studies have shown that, as a result of insufficient ventilation provision in buildings, lack of air infiltration can lead to poor air quality. If stale indoor air is not replaced at a sufficient rate by fresh outdoor air, this can result in a build-up of concentrations of pollutants in the indoor air from building materials, furnishings, consumer products, as well as people and their activities. Associated with this, is the risk of high humidity and condensation, with the attendant risks of mould growth, damage to structures and proliferation of house dust mites. Indoor air quality (IAQ) is strongly influenced by the emission of VOCs including odorants which have a direct influence on people’s well-being and health. Uncommon or intense odours may have a negative psychological influence on occupants. The suppression of VOCs may be achieved by good ventilation, the specification of low emission materials or the use of materials with air purification properties, all of which improve air quality indoors.
Indoor air pollutants include very-VOCs (such as formaldehyde), VOCs (such as benzene, fragrance compounds), semi-VOCs (such as PAHs, flame retardants), inorganic pollutants such as particles and fibres, allergens, radioactive gases such as radon, and pollutants of microbiological origin such as moulds or fungi (such as spores, endotoxins). Pollutants can originate from outdoor sources, such as traffic and other forms of combustion (CO, NOx, SOx), or from indoor sources, such as people, their activities, tobacco smoke, building and furnishing materials, electronic equipment, cleaning products or heating, ventilating and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems.
VOCs and formaldehyde levels in indoor air can be reduced using sequestration and chemisorption. ECO-SEE solutions can control the VOC loads to very low levels. BRE research has shown typical TVOC levels of between 200-600 gm-3 and formaldehyde levels of between 20-80 gm-3 in homes and non-domestic buildings.. These are near or over guideline levels, and can get higher after decorating, refurbishment, etc., so a significant reduction in such loads as proposed through adoption of ECO-SEE solutions will be greatly beneficial to health.
Relative Humidity (RH) is one of the most important parameters, not only influencing indoor comfort and air quality, but also impacting energy performance and durability of the envelope. Uniform indoor climate with minor variations in temperature and as well in RH, produces a comfortable environment for the occupants. However, RH levels below 25% are associated with increased discomfort and drying of the mucous membranes and skin, which in turn can lead to chapping and irritation as well as increasing the risk of contracting diseases as a result of reduced mucosal membrane function. The use of hygrothermal and moisture buffering materials will reduce ambient RH levels. ECO-SEE products provide coatings that will buffer internal RH to within 40-60%. Low RH also increases static electricity, further causing discomfort. High humidity levels can result in condensation within the building structure and can support the development of moulds, mites and chemical reactions. To minimize health risks and discomfort, the optimal range for indoor RH lies between 30 to 60 % RH.
There are huge problems with mould growth in some buildings due to the wrong balance of T/RH in the internal environments (due to poor ventilation, excess cold or overheating issues). Innovative solutions to inhibit mould and microbial growth will be a great benefit and open up specialist markets, e.g. health care settings, schools, public buildings. Some photocatalytic coatings are known to reduce bio-fouling of external surfaces by micro-organisms, but ECO-SEE will produce innovative photocatalytic coatings to achieve this in indoor environments. This has exciting potential to reduce the risks of microbial contamination of surfaces and the subsequent reduction in IEQ caused by air contamination but also reduce the need for toxic biocides commonly used to keep building surfaces free of microbial growth.
According to FIEC (European Construction Industry Federation), construction employs 7.2% of total employment affecting some 44 million workers while generating an estimated €562 billion of value added. Across the EU-27 there were an estimated 3.1 million construction enterprises, which generated an estimated €1.665 billion of turnover providing employment to an estimated 14.8 million persons in 2007. EUCONSTRUCT shows the construction market had around €1.200 billion, the building sector is 9.2% of GDP in Europe. The first Member State in the list is Germany with 17% followed by UK, Italy, France and Spain. These five countries represent about 74% of total EU construction revenues. ECO-SEE partners and subsidiaries have a high participation of construction activities in these countries ensuring a high profile and impact in the main markets.
The building sector consumes 40-45% of EU energy consumption, a further 5-10% being used in processing and transport of construction products and components. At EU level, the main policy driver related to the energy use in buildings is the Energy Performance of Building Directive (2002) recast in 2010 to include requirements for certification, inspections, training or renovation now imposed in Member States. Considerations regarding indoor air-quality concerns are included in EPBD Directive. The development of new eco materials in ECO-SEE are aligned with EPDB in terms of insulation and functionality for improvements in energy efficiency and indoor environmental quality and moreover, ECO-SEE will develop new materials under sustainability principles (low embodied energy, enhanced functionality) reducing carbon foot-print and energy consumption addressed.
Building is the largest contributor to Climate Change (around 40% of total GHG emissions). But the impact will also be in the industrial sector, where impact is easiest and cheapest to reduce. Several measures need tackling to reduce this environmental impact, future “green buildings” must achieve over 25-30% emissions reduction. Research and innovation on new eco-innovative materials for indoor environment quality considering energy efficiency aspects propose a high positive impact on GHG emissions due to building sector and materials involved in its construction.
Building materials account for an estimated 40% of the value of construction industry. Manufacture of building materials accounts for between 40 and 50% of total global flow of raw materials. Given emissions proportional to raw materials processed, this implies 4 to 4.5 giga-tonnes of CO2 directly from the construction industry in 2005, increasing at roughly 2.5% per year. The introduction of new eco innovative materials in the building sector resulting from ECO-SEE will contribute to the reduction of these environmental emissions.
220.127.116.11 Dissemination activities
Throughout the 48 months of the project, ECO-SEE partners have taken part in 281 dissemination activities, reaching out to large audiences (general public, scientific community, industry, and policy makers) at national, EU and global levels, and shared project results through 48 peer reviewed scientific publications. Early in the project, a full written and visual identity (Figure 20) and a set of communication materials were developed to ensure consistency and efficiency in communication activities, together with a limited set of high impact key messages on technology, health and energy efficiency, as well as a preliminary list of target audiences and dissemination/communication channels. These were all described in the Dissemination Plan at M6 (D9.4) and its subsequent updates, until the final Report on Dissemination Activities delivered at M48 (D9.6).
The main target groups for dissemination activities were:
• The scientific community, in particular R/D organisations dealing with IEQ, eco-materials and energy efficiency in buildings;
• The industry, mainly construction companies and product manufacturers;
• Architects and project developers;
• Policy makers, especially at local and national levels;
• Standardisation technical committees in the UK and Germany;
• Both popular and specialised medias;
• The general public;
• Other initiatives and multipliers, such as relevant EU funded projects or EU level associations (i.e. ECTP).
These target audiences were addressed through different communication channels, defined at the beginning of the project. The dissemination channels were selected to reach out to a wide variety of audiences and comprised:
• A dedicated website presenting the objectives, partners and results of the project. Greenovate! Europe developed a website for the ECO-SEE project (www.eco-see.eu ) presenting the project and the consortium in detail, public deliverables, publications and news about the project. To date, more than 45 news and events articles were published on the website. The website also features a section dedicated to “partner projects” from the AMANAC-CSA cluster project, with which ECO-SEE has collaborated throughout the project. News and events sections as well as the rest of the content have been continuously updated and managed by the Dissemination WP leader throughout the lifetime of the project.
Key website statistics: 11,677
Total number of sessions: 9,288
Total number of users: 23,091
Total number of page views
Most visited pages (top 3): 1. Homepage; 2. Consortium; 3. Research & Demonstration.
• Online communication and production of articles. In addition to the regular news articles about eco-materials of project developments published on the ECO-SEE website, G!E and UBATH produced a series of 10 feature articles and press releases describing the project innovation in greater details, in a format adapted to uptake by professional medias. Most articles have been taken up by external media or platforms for maximum impact. The full list of articles is detailed in D9.6 Final Report on Dissemination Activities. ECO-SEE partners also made extensive use of social media, with 40 original tweets about ECO-SEE on Twitter, and 17 original LinkedIn posts about the project, all together reaching out to an audience of more than 26,000 users.
• Regional stakeholder workshops. A series of 4 regional stakeholder workshops were organised throughout the project to present the project innovations to external stakeholders and engage with potential users. Typically, each workshop was organised by a lead partner, with active support from UBATH and G!E (timing, agenda, invitations, etc.). Altogether, the stakeholder workshops attracted about 164 professional stakeholders, mainly from the industry and the research community. Workshops took place in Bilbao at M13 (lead: TECNALIA), in Turin at M19 (Lead: ENVIPARK), in Munich at M30 (Lead: FRAUNHOFER), and in London at M43 (Lead: UBATH). All workshops have been described in details in dedicated deliverables: D9.9 D9.10 D9.11 and D9.12.
• Training workshops. ECO-SEE has organised 4 training workshops as part of Task 9.5 which was led by BRE. This series of workshops attracted a total of 123 participants throughout the project. A set of training materials were produced beforehand by BRE as part of D9.16. Training workshops took place in London at M36 (Lead: Skanska), in Madrid at M39 (Lead: Acciona), in Lübeck at M43 (Lead: Claytec) and in London at M45 (Lead: Skanska). All workshops have been described in details in dedicated deliverables: D9.15 D9.17 D9.18 and D9.19. An additional demonstration workshop focusing on the holistic IEQ Assessment Tool was organised by BRE and FRAUNHOFER at M48 in London.
• Presentations and participation at congresses, workshop, symposia conferences, exhibition fairs. ECO-SEE partners have participated in more than 200 dissemination events organised by external organisations. These are all reported in the relevant section further below. The table below shows key consolidated statistics for the entire project’s duration.
Type of event:
Conferences (speech, networking, promotion): 45
Lectures at universities: 7
Other (local events, networking meeting, etc.): 127
Particularly noteworthy is the participation in Ecobuild 2016 (260 visitors at ECO-SEE stand alone), ECTP Conference 2016 (100+ EU stakeholders), BAU Fair 2017 (250,000 visitors), Ecobuild 2017 (230+ visitors at ECO-SEE stand alone), and Visualizing Energy Exhibition 2017 (thousands of participants to EUSEW 2017). More details are provided in D9.6.
• Final dissemination event. The ECO-SEE final event was organised by G!E back to back with the final project meeting held in Brussels at M46. The event was titled “90% Indoors: Solutions for healthier, quieter and more energy efficient buildings" and focused on how to bring the ECO-SEE solutions to the market. 51 stakeholders from the scientific community, the industry, public authorities and innovation support organisations discussed the results of the project and how to overcome barriers to the market uptake of eco-materials. A full report on the event is included in D9.6.
• Audio-visual material. A promotional project video was produced by UBATH with support from G!E and ACCIONA, and is accessible through www.eco-see.eu . The video was also showed on the ECO-SEE stand during the Ecobuild 2017 fair, which attracted more than 230 visitors. The video is hosted both on the G!E Youtube channel and on VIMEO, where it was viewed 427 times (212 on Youtube, 215 on VIMEO). A demonstration video was also produced by ENVIPARK at M48 to illustrate the installation of an ECO-SEE wall panel at their premises, and will be published after the project's end.
• Scientific publications. The research carried out by ECO-SEE was largely disseminated through 48 scientific publications and presentations (Figure 21), the full list of which is included in the relevant section further below.
Table 6 below summarises the types and estimated outreach of all dissemination activities reported by project partners:
18.104.22.168 Exploitation of results
In accordance with WP9, all key results expected to arise from the ECO-SEE project have been identified and validated with the project partners. A market and competitor analysis, together with a value functional analysis of ECO-SEE baseline insulation, coating and panel products was undertaken in order to provide key information to the exploitation strategy. Propositions of business models for each key result were created accordingly.
In order to meet these objectives, the exploitation workflow was arranged in three phases, each built around a face to face exploitation workshop. The following list of identified exploitable results is extrapolated from the outputs of three Exploitation Workshops. They have been identified, agreed and validated by the project partners as:
1. ECO-SEE Interior Wall Panel (Figure 7)
2. ECO-SEE Exterior Wall Panel (Figure 8)
3. Photocatalytic Panels for Indoor Air Quality
4. Insulation Products with Enhanced VOC capture
5. Improved Lime and Clay Coating Products
6. Low VOC Panels
7. IEQ Assessment Tool
(a) Market and competitor analysis
Market understanding has been essential for the identification of end user needs and the assessment of competing solutions already in the marketplace or under development. Thus, within the ECO-SEE Exploitation activities, a market analysis EU construction sector was carried out. Signs and expectations of recovery within this market were noted in that analysis, as both Euroconstruct and Eurostat suggested that there was 2.3% growth in the sector between February 2015 and February 2016.
Building materials account for an estimated up to 40% of the value of European construction industry, with a market value of €71.5 billion at the end of 2016 (c.f. 67.5 in 2013 and 68 in 2014) and more than 75 billion € in 2018. Demand for “green” construction materials worldwide is expected to grow from €91 billion in 2013 to more than €200 billion in 2020, as green building projects strive to achieve increasingly recognised certifications (e.g. BREEAM, LEED) or otherwise achieve high environmental performance and reduced environmental impact. Being the largest of the regional markets, Europe should account for approximately 50% of this amount by 2020 (Materials in Green Buildings, Navigant Research, 2013).
The competitive landscape was analysed by combining a review of existing commercial products, and new and emerging innovative materials and functionalities offered as reflected in bibliometric analysis of patent publications. In terms of competitive product offerings, it was apparent that the existing market place already contains a number of products which may be considered to directly offer substantial elements of the expected ECO-SEE benefits, including existing products arising from partners within the project. The existence of these market offerings was not considered necessarily “bad news”, as some similarities with existing approaches and offerings suggests a degree of desirable compatibility in the ECO-SEE concepts and benefits with market needs and expectations, however it did emphasize the need for differentiation in the market place.
Therefore, new offerings arising from the ECO-SEE project will compete in a landscape which is already significantly populated with at least partially competitive solutions. In these circumstances, the ECO-SEE products are differentiated by offering clearly new functionality, or more likely a significantly advantageous combination of functionalities, perhaps underpinned by the advanced “delivery” concept of the ECO-SEE panel, bringing in high-end design possibilities.
(b) Value functional analysis
In the ECO-SEE exploitation activity, the identification of what customer relevant capabilities are provided by existing market offerings and the performance level of the existing offerings in delivering these capabilities was carried out by a Functional Baseline Analysis; whereas the identification of how much the new offering improves current levels of performance, any new (customer relevant) capabilities provided and any likely changes in costs structures was carried out by a Value Innovation Analysis. Value Innovation Analysis, therefore, extended the Functional Analysis by giving first expression to the likely value proposition underlying each of the key results identified by the project for potential commercial uptake. The main conclusions to be drawn from those analyses are as follows.
Insulation Materials: Current alternatives to mineral wool primarily differentiate on their low carbon / natural features trading off other functions – specifically no material matches the thermal control performance of mineral wool. Thereof, opportunity for added value was identified if one or more of the IAQ, humidity and noise control properties of natural materials can be improved. In the case of ECO-SEE Key Result 4 - Insulation Products with Enhanced VOC capture, it is as effective as the best current materials in particular for IAQ, but with reduced carbon footprint. It is backed up with cost competitiveness, as this product would achieve price equivalence in mass markets, with a possible premium in environmentally driven niches.
Coating Products: Gypsum represents a strong ‘control’ product across several functions but is weak on carbon footprint due to the energy intensive nature of its production. Clay coatings have the lowest energy input and carbon footprint. Several lime based products are the strongest performers on IAQ. However, there are no current coating products which deliver outstanding temperature or noise control. This is therefore a potential gap in the market which if addressed could deliver added value. In fact, ECO-SEE Key Result 5- Improved Lime and Clay Coating Products are coatings with at least as good (better if possible) IAQ function as current gypsum based coatings, with improved temperature and humidity control, supported by cost competitiveness and aesthetics.
Panels: There is little differentiation across all wood-based products, but it is very clear however that clayboard has a reverse profile relative to wood-based products. Thus combining the IAQ, carbon footprint and humidity control of clayboard with the mechanical resistance and temperature control of wood-based panels would be a particularly interesting new offering. Both ECO-SEE Key Result 1-ECO-SEE Interior Wall Panel and ECO-SEE Key Result 2- ECO-SEE Exterior Wall Panel are engineered prefabricated panel products with a package of improved value versus standard panels, led by IEQ, but also including moisture, noise, and mechanical function. The products will be easy to fit and maintain, with strong aesthetic values and, overall, potential for significant price premium.
ECO-SEE Key Result 1-ECO-SEE Interior Wall Panel offers a tailored, bespoke and customizable partitioning system inside a building. The value proposition – backed up by a wealth of data generated in recognised centres of excellence - is a healthy, geographically appropriate solution – something that is ‘warm in winter, and cool in summer’ as required. This will then result in environmental and cost benefits - less carbon emissions and energy consumption through heating less air-conditioning, and / or less heating as appropriate, and healthier, more productive living and working environments.
The value innovation offered by ECO-SEE Key Result 2- ECO-SEE Exterior Wall Panel is led by exceptional delivery of IAQ and temperature control, but generally reflect improvements in existing in-use functionality delivered in a low carbon impact package. Additionally, the product is design-led rather than being merely an assembly of “eco” materials, and thus offers additional value in terms of ease of installation / use (expressed as “safety and accessibility in use”) and aesthetics.
Besides ECO-SEE Interior and Exterior Wall Panels, other panels have been developed within the project. On the one hand, ECO-SEE Key Result 3- Photocatalytic Panel for Indoor Air Quality constitutes a panel product combining all the desirable properties of melamine coated MDF (or other wood-based panels) but with better IAQ function through photocatalytic action on VOCs and/or microbial contaminants, commanding a price premium based on its IAQ functional value. The main differentiating user benefit will therefore rely on the exceptional delivery of IAQ without trading off other user-valued in-use properties or aesthetics, and the low carbon impact package used in the delivery.
On the other hand, ECO-SEE Key Result 6- Low VOC Panels, are panels with the good mechanical properties of wood based products and significantly improved IAQ performance (better than existing wood-based and preferably better than current clay based panels). It is, therefore, a product with an important market niche, according to the value analysis, it constitutes a new offering itself.
The exception to this value analysis approach is ECO-SEE Key Result 7 - Design Tools for Holistic Assessment of Indoor Environmental Quality, which though enabling building design along corresponding functional lines, as a software based product/service would have its own distinct set of value functions. In this case, the simple definition of “An indoor environmental quality design tool differentiated from current building information modelling (BIM) marketplace offerings.” was adopted. This definition tallies with the major challenges in this market: the lack of expertise and the high cost of training. A high level of competence is required to use BIM software and the cost of training is one of the major concerns of the industry as a whole. Thus, the ECO-SEE design tool is intended to be an accessible product which can be used by non-specialists due to its reduced complexity – with the result that practical (non-research) applications can be pursued.
(c) Business models and Exploitation Plan
In summary, market and competitor analysis demonstrated both potential market opportunities (growth in demand and trends towards eco-products and buildings) but also considerable competitive activity with current products and innovation in products and advanced materials. However, value functional analysis and value innovation analysis revealed that ECO-SEE Key Results are well-aligned to enter the market. During the scheduled project exploitation workshops, project partners populated, developed and refined business models for each of the key exploitable results. Those business models, together with the outcomes of the analysis described above and the agreement on the ownership of exploitable foreground constitute projects final exploitation plan, described in D9.8.
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