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Innovative pre-fabricated components including different waste construction materials reducing building energy and minimising environmental impacts

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - InnoWEE (Innovative pre-fabricated components including different waste construction materials reducing building energy and minimising environmental impacts)

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

The EU project InnoWEE stands for “Innovative prefabricated components including different construction and demolition Waste materials reducing building Energy consumption and minimizing Environmental impacts”. The research focuses on the development of new high performance prefabricated panels made out of geopolymers. Such panels incorporate high levels of different Construction Demolition Waste (CDW) materials for use in the building envelope, such as External Thermal Insulation Composite System(ETICS) and ventilated facades (fig.1) and in radiant heating and cooling systems. The main environmental features are a low embodied energy, a small carbon footprint and high thermal performance.
Each type of panels were assessed in terms of energy efficiency and environmental sustainability, cost-effectiveness in the manufacturing and installation processes, market potential and exploitability. Affordable costs will be ensured by the low formulation costs due to the use of recycled waste materials, by easier and faster installation/removal. The raw materials used and the production methods will contribute to the reduction of embodied energy and CO2 emission during manufacturing. The stakeholders, end users, and SMEs participating in the project will ensure that the products have the suitable features to facilitate their introduction in the market.
The main CDW types were classified at European level. Inorganic and organic CDW were investigated to select aggregates suitable for geopolymer formulations. An additional processing step was added to the CDW processing plant to generate the new Secondary Raw Material (SRM) of very fine granulometry. The new SRM was analyzed in its physical, chemical and mineralogical properties, and health safety aspects. Performance indicators and acceptability ranges were determined for the SRM to yield suitable geopolymer materials. Preliminary cost analysis of SRM processing was performed and a methodology to define the LCA values established.
The properties of geopolymer binders with inorganic wastes (HDG) were optimized to achieve a suitable formulation that includes 50% aggregates from CDW. Wood geopolymer binders were investigated to obtain a feasible and adequate material (WGP) containing 40-50% wood. A geopolymer adhesive was developed to bind the HDG and WGP. The performance of geopolymer binders and panels, tuned for the pilot production during the 1st reporting period, was analyzed and/or measured in terms of mechanical, physical and thermal properties and durability.
For the installation of the panels in the demo cases, the geometry, the anchoring system design, joints, surface color and texture of each individual demo case were defined and tested in CNR pilot site. The upscaling strategy from the lab process, the design, simulations, and the modifications of the production line (fig.2) have been completed and the production of all the panels for the demo cases was realized on time. The panels surface properties were enhanced with the use of multifunctional coatings.
In preparation of the installations of the panels in the different demo cases the best solutions for an easy installation and disassembly were defined and integrated in the project designs for each demo building. In support of the performance evaluations in the field, the energy performance of the different demo cases was simulated.
The installations of the building envelope products have been successfully implemented at the demo sites (fig.3) as well as the radiant heating and cooling system. Extensive monitoring is currently ongoing. Data collected will be used for dynamic simulations, validation and products performance evaluation.
The method and the models to evaluate the cost performance during the whole life cycle (LCCA) and to identify the hot spots in the Life Cycle Thinking (LCT) were worked out. Evaluation of energy reduction and environmental sustainability opportunities are being prepared.
A Dissemination Plan was designed and several activities completed: project logo and website, official leaflet and brochure (8 languages), regular newsletters, announcements via social Media, concept definition of the 1st version of the short promotional video, project presentation in several congresses/conferences, scientific papers.
The 1st version of the Exploitation Plan establishes the responsibilities and strategy of the Exploitation Manager that will monitor and help in exploiting the established project objectives. Preliminary Key Exploitable Results were identified in order to protect the results and evaluate their innovativeness. The developed Risk Management Plan is permanently maintained, to limit and control the unsuccessful aspects in the project.
A new SRM made of blended fired clay and concrete wastes from construction demolitions and suitable for use in geopolymer binders and thin-layer elements was produced and assessed. Recycling rate levels of 50% were demonstrated. Partner ECO adapted production line in order to expand their business by offering the different fractions of CDW in other application fields (e.g. ceramics).
Prefabricated prototypes of architectural components for the building envelope made with geopolymers including up to 50% of waste aggregates were manufactured. At these waste recycling levels, the objectives in terms of embodied energy and low carbon footprint were reached next to the mechanical properties needed by the building codes. The thermal performance of radiating panels was comparable to commercial products. The surface temperature distribution is even improved, thanks to higher conductivity of the geo-polymer material and the better contact to the piping in the radiant panels. A novel production method for wood-geopolymer panels was proven effective in delivering a remarkable strength with wood contents up to 50%.
A comprehensive Quality Assurance Plan was developed ensuring high quality standards of the final product, low scrap rates and formulation repeatability during production in the pilot plant. The 6σ methodology was the basis for this plan. All tests were performed, with promising results, setting up the basis for the future industrialization – commercialization of the product.
The best solutions for an easy installation and disassembly of panels based on architectural and costs evaluation will be identified for each building and optimized by modelling the energy performance in different scenarios.
The evaluation of the performance of InnoWEE solutions on the field in terms of energy efficiency, durability and comfort will provide solid data for their exploitation. Results will be monitored in compliance with national/European standards, codes and guidelines for all demo sites. The innovative products will be also compared with traditional ones in terms of installation time and costs, and their performance evaluated in a large European scenario.
A decision tool (LCC) will be developed covering life cycle costs, environmental and social impacts of the new products. It will allow assessment on how the innovative systems will balance energy and environmental efficiency, costs and market demand and a Life Cycle Thinking approach which enables a clear overview on environmental consequences of different decisions related to production.
In the next period LCA, LCCA and S-LCA tools will be integrated into a unique tool.
Fig.2: Sequence of the production phases of ETICS panels
Fig.1: Image of ventilated facade panels
Fig.3: CNR pilot site installation (ventilade facede)