Second Project Review

By recognising that the existing buildings stock (with a particular focus on buildings constructed when there was no consciousness of the importance of energy efficiency (1925-1945)) represents a substantial share in the EU's total energy consumption (40%), the EASEE project aims at removing barriers and overcome market failures that impede efficiency improvement in the buildings retrofitting.

In this context, the EASEE project was launched in March 2012. In the first 30 months, substantial progresses have been made towards the achievement of  its objectives. This period constituted the transition period between the research activities and the demonstration activities, where the solutions developed within the first two years of the project activities found their practical application.

The main activities related to the conceptual and theoretical design of innovative solutions for the building retrofitting are well advanced and almost concluded.

Indeed, the design of the prefabricated facade insulating panels based on UHPFRC (Ultra-High Performance Fiber Reinforced Concrete)and TRM (Textile Reinforced Mortar) has been  optimized in terms of size and geometries as well as in terms of structural behaviour, insulating materials and aesthetic options. Interfaces with critical facade areas (i.e. windows and balconies) have been studied. Further laboratory tests have been performed in order to completely characterize the selected facade panels.

The manufacturing process of these panels, consisting in the provision of a dedicated innovative adjustable moulding formwork, has been designed and successfully completed. The panels anchoring systems and joints as well as their installation procedures have been further finalized.

With respect to the loose fillers for cavity walls retrofitting, newprocess for perlite particles hydrophobationthrough two different reactors prototypes. The perlite hydrophobation has been successfully implemented and demonstrated. Moreover, according to an innovative chemical process, a synthetic lightweight, granular, insulating and fire-proof material of very low thermal insulation coefficient (λ), for cavity walls insulation has been developed.

Activities carried out with respect to interior insulation allowed the development of the following three inner retrofitting solutions:

  • Prefab advanced perlite boards: insulating panels glued on an expanded glass granulate panel;

  • Deployable wall (aerogel/laminated panels): insulating material glued on expanded glass granulate panel, connected together by flexible elements, which allows packaging;

  • Enhanced wallpaper (permeable insulating wallpaper): rollable insulation layer with textile finishing.

The research partners carried on the design work about the development of the above retrofitting kits. These solutions needed further refinement as the performance evaluation proceeded and more tests have been carried out by partners. Once the basic characteristics of the different kits were defined, specific materials and jointing solutions have been defined and tested. Then, the indoor retrofitting kits have been tested at laboratory scale and with software simulations in order to better assess some of their performances.

The finalization of the Retrofitting Planner services specifically consisting of:

  • Building envelope assessment using 3D laser scanning techniques;

  • A "computer based procedure" consisting in an advanced simulation tool designed to analyse building performance and for the purpose of EASEE to test and validate retrofitting solutions developed by the manufacturing partners within the EASEE project;

  • A "Design Tool" module able to provide the manufacturers of the prefabricated elements the technical specifications for the customized component fabrication.

In this period, both the solutions for the interior and cavity walls retrofitting have been applied at the test facade in Milan (at Politecnico di Milano) and the test wall performance before and after the retrofitting is under evaluation through installed sensors. During the next and last period of the project, the retrofitting panels for the external envelope retrofitting will be also installed at the test facade. Once validated at the test facade, the retrofitting solutions will be also tested in a real environment at the demo buildings identified as follows:

  • Two big scale demo buildings in Poland (Gdynia) and Milan (Cinisello Balsamo). In Poland, the aim will be the comparison among a traditional and an innovative building retrofitting process as well as the validation of the Retrofitting Planner; in Italy, the aim will be the overall retrofitting of the building through the innovative prefabricated panels.

  • A small scale demo buildings in Spain (Madrid) in order to evaluate the most critical joints (i.e. interfaces with doors and windows).