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Fast and economic insulation of buildings using robotic systems

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - Robotic insulation (Fast and economic insulation of buildings using robotic systems)

Reporting period: 2014-11-01 to 2015-04-30

Q-Bot is bringing robotics to the built environment: enhancing existing capabilities, creating new services, and opening up enormous new markets. Q-Bot’s intelligent robotics platform is compact, powerful and capable of operating in hazardous environments. These intelligent tools can remotely carry out operations that would otherwise be impractical and too cost prohibitive for humans to do so.

The main purpose of the project is to commercialise a technology that will significantly reduce the energy consumption of existing buildings across Europe. The initial application is the retrofit of underfloor insulation which has a significant impact on the energy efficiency of older buildings, a market which is only practically and economically possible with robots. Q-Bot is also developing a solution for solid wall insulation that has significant potential to reduce costs as well as addressing some of the key disadvantages of current approaches.
With the help of the SME instrument, substantial investments will be made to understand industry drivers and market pull, while developing a range of intelligent tools that are safe, ergonomic and robust, increasing productivity for a range of tasks within the built environment.

To ensure the success of the project an initial Phase 1 program was proposed with the following objectives:
1. Perform a market research exercise at the European level.
2. Assess technology transfer opportunities.
3. Prepare an 'Innovation Strategy Development' plan based on the results of the research.
Q-Bot will develop and launch into the market a robotics platform for surveying the built environment and applying treatments, initially under floor insulation, a service that is currently too disruptive and difficult to do with traditional methods.

Q-Bot has the potential to have a hugely positive impact on the welfare of some of the poorest members of society; improve the image, safety and productivity of the construction industry; and, significantly contribute to European targets to cut Greenhouse Gas emissions and improve energy efficiency.

Social:
• Fuel poverty: Q-Bot targets to worst performing buildings, social households and those in fuel poverty.
• Health and comfort: For vulnerable members of society maintaining a comfortable temperature is of high importance for the quality of life and has a direct link to health and wellbeing.
• Disruption: In addition, use of Q-Bot significantly reduces the time needed for retrofitting a dwelling, allowing occupiers back into their house earlier or to remain in situ.

Construction Industry:
• Quality Control: Q-Bot improves quality control and accountability.
• Empowering: The construction industry faces an ageing workforce and difficulty attracting new recruits, intelligent tools like Q-Bot are an important step in creating a modern and desirable career path.
• Ergonomics: Operators no longer have to operate in hazardous, difficult and uncomfortable environments the robot allows these processes to be carried out safely, comfortably and intuitively.

Environment:

A cost effective and practical method of treating the worst performing buildings in Northern Europe that will save 5,000kWh of heating energy and 1000kg of CO2 per home annually. Treating the suspended timber floors in the UK alone has the potential to save over 32TWh/yr (~2 x Large Power Stations).
Surveying the void