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Development of innovative lightweight and highly insulating energy efficient components and associated enabling materials for cost-effective retrofitting and new construction of curtain wall facades

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - EENSULATE (Development of innovative lightweight and highly insulating energy efficient components and associated enabling materials for cost-effective retrofitting and new construction of curtain wall facades)

Reporting period: 2016-08-01 to 2018-01-31

The project idea comes from the fact that thousands of buildings in Europe have been constructed in the recent decades using curtain walls, i.e. facade modules which span from floor to ceiling, consisting of a transparent (vision glazing) and an opaque (spandrel) component to help hide features between the floors of a building, including vents, wires, slab ends and mechanical equipment.
Unitized systems were developed as a prefabrication strategy, driven by the intent to minimize expensive site labor, and to improve quality as provided by manufacture under factory controlled conditions as opposed to the adverse conditions often presented by the building site. This building type represents a problematic component of the existing building stock. Improving energy consumption in the existing building stock requires the retrofitting of many, if not most, of these facades, responsible for up to 60% of energy losses through the envelope. This is a major concern because curtain wall technology has recently moved from office buildings to glazed residential towers within the urban context, where noise pollution is significant and growing. Replacement and retrofitting of curtain walls would allow an important enhancement in thermal performance which results variously in condensation, unwanted heat transfer, and general discomfort to occupants. In this framework, EENSULATE project has the aim of developing a solution for envelope insulation to bring existing curtain wall buildings to “nearly zero energy” standards, reducing energy bills by at least 20% while complying with the structural limits of the original building structure and national building codes.
A summary of the main activities performed in the first period is reported below.
• WP1 - Business drivers and high level performance specifications. In the first months the activities has been focused on the following activities:
o Definition of the requirements and drivers for an appropriate development of the EENSULATE module in compliance with the current international regulations applied to curtain wall façade
o Assessment of existing quality certification and rating protocols as well as procurement practices, at component and system level, to derive specifications for the product development
o Preliminary market analysis to qualitatively assess the compliancy of the developed technology with the identified market drivers
o EENSULATE module concept design development and refinement
• WP2 - Optimization and scale-up of the innovative high insulating material for the spandrel and installation process - EENSULATE Foam. After 18 months the following results have been achieved:
o Development of several types of lamellar powder. Selection of 2 types of lamellar powder that mix perfectly with the foam without changing too much the thermal properties
o Selection of two types of surfactants for two component foam and selection of two types of dispersing agents for one component foams
o Development of several type of foams, selection of three type of 2 components for prototype in Focchi and then pre-test in SBI in Ulster. One component under development with the realization of innovative additive to increase the fire performances
• WP3 - Optimization and scale up of the innovative high insulating and dynamic vision glass component – EENSULATE glass. WP3 activities are focused on the development of the novel EENSULATE Vacuum Insulated Glass component of the façade enabled by a low/medium temperature edge seal with a distributed gettering technology for vacuum stability. The main results achieved so far are:
o 4 sealant classes have been investigated: epoxy resins, hot melt, polyisobutylene, and polysulfide
o 3 getter families have been investigated: zeolites, Zr-alloys and Li-alloys
o VIG samples have been fabricated: small scale (300x300mm) samples using annealed glass, larger size (500x500mm) samples with fully tempered glass panes
• WP4 - Detailed design, prototyping and lab characterisation of EENSULATE façade modules. WP4 has just started with T4.1 for the definition of architectural design of the demo buildings. The whole work plan has been shared with the partners and it is expected to be in line with project progresses and schedule as direct consequences of previous WPs.
• WP5 - Validation of performance, sustainability and replicability. The demonstration activities are not officially started yet (planned at M25). Nevertheless, preliminary activities related to the pilots have been performed such as definition of key requirements and a first survey for the Polish pilots. Moreover, LCA and LCC methodology has been already identified.
• WP6 - Exploitation, Dissemination and Communication. The Initial Exploitation Plan has been drafted with the help of all project partners and the outcomes of the exploitation workshop organized by FENIX and RINA-C to investigate IPRs principles, protection strategy as well as knowledge dissemination and management. Communication and dissemination activities have been performed such as implementation and maintenance of project website , logo design, e-newsletter, Communication and Dissemination plan, promo material, social media campaign and dissemination events participation.
• WP7 – Project Management. Project coordination activities have been undertaken by RINA-C as project Coordinator responsible for the overall project implementation (e.g. project planning financial control, quality assurance, risk management and contingency planning communication, IPR issues and reporting to the Commission).
• WP8 – Ethics requirements. The compliance with the ethics requiremen
EENSULATE project aims to develop an affordable (28% reduction of total refurbishment costs) and lightweight (35% weight reduction versus the best performing modules in the market) solution for curtain wall buildings. To achieve these objectives, the project is developing two key insulating products:
• Highly insulating and environmentally friendly spray foam, EENSULATE foam, for the cost-effective automated manufacturing and insulation of the opaque components of curtain walls as well as for the significant reduction of thermal bridges during installation leading to doubling of the thermal resistance of the whole façade
• Lightweight and thin double pane vacuum glass, EENSULATE glass, for the high insulation of the transparent component of curtain walls, manufactured through an innovative low temperature process using polymeric flexible adhesives and distributed getter technology, thus allowing to use both annealed and tempered glass and emissivity coatings. A breakthrough multifunctional thermotunable coating allows for dynamic solar gain control as well as anti-fogging and self-cleaning properties
Based on these materials combinations, the project output is a family of insulating modules and solutions with two different levels of performance:
• EENSULATE Basic curtain wall modules where the thermal and acoustic insulation are provided by the novel EENSULATE glass and EENSULATE foam in the spandrel combined with state of the art low-e silver magneto-sputtered coated glass
• EENSULATE Premium curtain wall modules whereby the novel thermochromic coated glass with additional self-cleaning and anti-fogging functionalities is integrated
Updated Gantt