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Building the green way: wide take-up of a versatile, proven, energy and cost efficient insulation technology

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - INSUPanel (Building the green way: wide take-up of a versatile, proven, energy and cost efficient insulation technology)

Reporting period: 2015-12-01 to 2016-03-31

As of today, buildings are responsible for 40% of energy consumption, 55% of electricity consumption, and 36% of CO2 emissions in the EU. Governments devise policies that are increasingly focusing on technologies that can improve the energy efficiency of buildings (i.e. insulation, lighting, and building controls). In the EU, the market for building energy efficient products and services is estimated at 41.4bn€ in 2014 and is expected to rise to 80.8bn€ by 2023 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.7%.
Construcciones Zorzano is a renowned construction firm with 26-year experience in differing areas of construction and currently focusing its activity on technical components used in near zero energy buildings (nZEBs). Zorzano has developed INSUPanel in response to market feedback to reduce energy consumption in buildings (in EU heating & cooling account for 36% of CO2 emissions and 12% of total energy consumption). INSUPanel is a non-structural lightweight wall panel made of precast concrete easy to transport and install; panels can be placed directly with light cranes from the transport unit to the structure, without the need of use scaffolding, which significantly saves costs and enhances the speed of execution of the construction works whilst reducing material and labour costs and minimizing workplace risks and environmental impact. Our INSUPanel offering suits well the design and aesthetical needs of each country (any building’s exterior) in both rural and urban areas, and thus the final appearance can be of brick, stone, or wood. Apart, the INSUPanel building solution is a 100% thermal bridge free technology that enables significant energy-savings (ca. 32% more energy efficient than current insulated walls and up to 94% of typical brick walls) thus, improving energy efficiency and comfort performance of dwellings.
INSUPanel is at a technology readiness level (TRL) 6 stage of development. The overall aim of the project is to take the technology to TRL9 and to commercialize it pursuing compliance with both, EU regulations for construction products (CE marking and ETA) and the most stringent Passivhaus standards. Zorzano has the ambition of penetrating the energy efficient building market by selling INSUPanel to landowners, promoters, construction companies, etc. as a versatile, affordable (ca. 27% less than buildings with typical brick walls), and energy efficient wall panel solution.
Work performed during the reporting period has been carried out from December 2015 to March 2016, covering the following tasks to assess the technical, commercial, and financial viability of INSUPanel.
- Task 1: An analysis for upgrade design of the wall panel (reduction in weight, size, modularity, structural resistance, materials, etc.) has been done to facilitate its automatization process and definition of different building solutions for optimization INSUPanel construction system, including BIM modelling. A deep intellectual property and regulations analysis (IPR) have been performed to assess INSUPanel freedom-to-operate status and patentability.
- Task 2: Initial contact with certification bodies to be subcontracted for the successful execution of INSUPanel project for time and cost scheduling with EU construction products regulations (Tecnalia, ITeC, and Torroja) & Passivhaus standards (Passivhaus Institute).
A thorough research of INSUPanel target market has been done, analysing the EU energy efficient building industry in Germany, France, UK, Italy and Spain, including nZEBs vs. renovation, policies & building codes, supporting measures, and legislation. Also an analysis of competing solutions has been done, showing evidences of INSUPanel affordability in the target markets while emphasizing its competitive advantages (thermal bridge free, competitive construction cost, quick execution of works).
The identification of potential stakeholders (i.e. landowners, building promoters, construction companies, material suppliers, and distributors) in the energy efficient building sector in our EU target countries has been preliminary carried out to further establish commercial agreements.
- Task 3: The financial assessment of INSUPanel set the business margins for entering the market of energy efficient buildings, considering the first sales activity in 2nd half 2018 and a forecast of sales and benefits until 2022.
- Task 4: Evaluation of the project risks with mitigation/contingency plans have been done from a technical, commercial, and financial perspective.
- Task 5: A business plan has been updated to include the INSUPanel marketing strategy in line with the current state and future commercial plans of the project.
Across Europe and other developed regions, buildings represent the largest potential for cost-effective carbon emission reduction and with it, improvement in energy security, as well as a myriad of other benefits - fuel poverty alleviation, improved indoor and outdoor air quality, increased comfort, increased property values, energy system benefits, as well as energy bill savings. The energy efficiency building market has the largest percentage improvement in the residential building sector, for working towards a reduction of the total energy consumption by 5% to 6% (8.2GT) and lower CO2 emissions by about 5% in 2050. Further, the energy efficiency building industry is looking for better solutions addressing a number of sources of energy loss such as air leakage, wet insulation, and thermal bridging to create energy efficient building envelopes so as to reduce both the thermal energy lost to the building’s surroundings and the amount of energy needed to heat and cool the building. These needs together with stringent EU regulations pushing towards the delivery of nearly zero energy buildings (nZEBs) by 2019 and 2021 for public and private buildings, respectively, has created a business opportunity that Zorzano is meant to exploit with INSUPanel. It offers an advanced way to eliminate thermal bridges in nZEBs lowering time of execution works, all at a very competitive cost.

Our INSUPanel project will boost the commercialization of an innovative wall panel made of precast concrete for use in near zero energy buildings (nZEBs) through:
 A non-structural lightweight wall panel easy to transport and install, thus, reducing construction works cost and lead-time (minimising workplace risks).
 INSUPanel building solution is a 100% thermal bridge free technology that enables significant energy-savings whilst improving healthier indoor air and comfort performance in dwellings
On completion of the INSUPanel project, we will industrialize the manufacturing process of INSUPanel expecting a maximum capacity for construction of 100,000m2 units/year (ca. 50 six-flour blocks with 4 dwellings or 400 detached single-family houses of 100m2) satisfying demand from future end-users. Apart, in economic terms for the end-users, the median energy cost for households across all EU-28 members is 0.24€/kWh, and the yearly consumption for all purposes is 17,793kWh per active dwelling. This means, the yearly cost just to maintain thermal regulation inside one housing unit is 2,843€. INSUPanel built houses may bring savings close to 2,673€ annually to each housekeeper (compared to buildings of non-insulated brick walls).
We plan to market INSUPanel by mid-2018 in the Spanish market through our current sales force, and then enter other European countries like Germany, UK, France, and Italy through our international distributor partnerships.