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Wall insulation novel nanomaterials efficient systems

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - Wall-ACE (Wall insulation novel nanomaterials efficient systems)

Reporting period: 2018-04-01 to 2019-09-30

Wall-ACE closes the scientific gap between the demand of new advanced insulation products and systems to meet the requirements of the Energy performance set by the Building Directive (2010/31/EU) and the market situation in 2016. A huge number of uninsulated buildings exists in Europe. Up to 35% heat loss of a building is caused through un-insulated walls. To significantly reduce the energy consumption and the CO2 emission in Europe, new insulating products and systems are necessary for thermal renovation and new buildings.
Wall-ACE aims to develop a system of new advanced sustainable insulation products, complementary to each other. This system is called HONEST (High performance Optimized Nanomaterial Energy efficient SysTem) and is a set of solutions that will address most of the complex challenges raised by thermal refurbishment issues and during construction of new buildings. HONEST includes: insulating thermal coating-finishing with low emissivity, internal high performance insulating plaster, insulating interior patching filler, external high performance insulating render, and insulation clay bricks. These products as well as optimized Kwark® Aerogel are shown in Figure 1.
These 5 products developed through the strong synergies between the 13 partners, exhibit top insulation performance as well as improved comfort, indoor air quality, fire safety, durability and sustainability.

The overall objectives were to:
1. Develop high energy efficient mineral based materials
2. Strongly reduce the energy consumption and CO2 emission
3. Improve indoor air quality
4. Improve durability and sustainability
5. Develop affordable and high replication potential for Europe
6. Test and asset the products and systems in real conditions and at building scale
7. Certification and standardisation of high efficient new systems
The scheme in Figure 2 visualizes the main responsibilities per work package (WP) and illustrates the interaction between them.

The 5 systems of the HONEST tool box were first developed in the laboratory state and the scale-up had started with a focus on replicability and workability of the products. First installations had been finished in an ATC building and monitoring had started successfully.

In the second half of the project, the activities of VIMARK, Toupret, Quick-mix and Leipfinger-Bader were dedicated mainly to improve products formulations to reach target thermal performances. ENERSENS produced the optimized Kwark® Aerogel at required particle size dimensions for each partner to support industrial production for pilot sites.

The 5 products of the HONEST toolbox (TRL7 reached) were installed at different demonstration sites (CEA, ATC and BRE) to demonstrate feasibility of in-situ installation under various climate conditions and to allow on site measurements. Two numerical tools, freely available, were developed to assess and optimize the systems design and performance.
The detailed analysis of the market structure shows that the market is looking for new energy solutions with a high level of performance and a reduction in costs. In order to prepare future exploitation, partners prepared a business plan for all 5 products and marketing supporting material like brochures, technical data sheets and installation guides.

Concerning certification and regulation, Initial Type Testing on final materials was performed to determine mechanical properties, thermal properties, reaction to fire, acoustic properties and ageing. Furthermore, the certification of the products was prepared. Life Cycle Analysis of renovation activities on residual building models show that the insulating products could reduce the total energy demand as well as the Global Warming Potential (GWP) due to reduced heating demands in reference to their unrenovated scenarios. Life Cycle Cost Analysis show that the additional costs for the aerogel-based products compared to alternative materials can partly be compensated due to reduced energy costs in reference to their unrenovated scenarios.
All project partners contributed to dissemination and exploitation. The major achievements were the creation and publication of the 2nd Wall-ACE video ( as well as the organization of Wall-ACE workshops with external stakeholders and the scientists.
The new aerogel-based light aggregate was optimized for pre-mixed construction products and is used in all products of the HONEST toolbox. The products developed are a complete solution to build a wall with outstanding insulation properties and reduced costs. The high thermal insulation of the materials used helps to save energy consumption. The insulating layers can be applied significantly thinner. This application is a great advantage, especially when renovating historical listed buildings. Wall-ACE products could help to reduce CO2 emissions. The developments are based on silica-aerogel and are almost completely mineral and thus especially fire-resistant and sustainable. The Wall-ACE products have a high replication potential in both new construction and renovation in Europe.

The thermal performance targets were met for all 5 new products which was proven by product properties and partly proven in practice. This means that an improvement by at least 25% of the insulation properties (15% for bricks) at component level was reached. Beyond the expectations, the thermal coating finishing increases the thermal indoor comfort.
All products were easily installed on site. Indeed, the development of the sprayable exterior high performance render can be seen as preliminary version for a 3D printing process for facades.
The invented products available for indoor use have demonstrated to respect international norms for VOC emission control.

The Wall-ACE partners are well connected to the scientific community, the industry, the policy makers and the general public. They spread the knowledge through the organisation of dedicated workshops, and the participation to several conferences / workshops / trade fairs. Further activities were several press releases as well as scientific and popularised publications.

The project had a large emphasis on demonstration buildings. Therefore, at the end of the project and even beyond the developed products are monitored under practical conditions and give valuable results on the thermal properties in “real life” for retrofit and new buildings. Furthermore, the monitoring of products under aging conditions gave advice for further improvements.
Generally, testing and assessment of the materials were beyond requirements of European standards (e.g. acoustic and mechanical properties as well as LCA).
Wall-ACE has created a high replication potential for renovation market in Europe. For new buildings, the application might be limited due to competing systems in the market. Simulations have shown that relevant energy saving potential exist for the European none-insulated or poor insulated building stock. High GWP value from raw materials of the products is partly compensated over a life time of 50 years by saving heating energy.
Partners’ contributions to standardisation activities is possible through their continuous work on international level (activities in Advapor and ISO working group) as well as in German speaking area (WTA working group) and proposals were given to improve and change current standards.
Figure 2 – Work packages (WPs) of the project and their interaction
Figure 1 - HONEST toolbox (High performance Optimized Nanomaterial Energy efficient SysTem)