Energy and Resources – Building and Living

Energy prices are soaring, which makes energy efficiency in buildings a key issue both for businesses and private households. We need to ensure that the way we build and live is sustainable and safeguards both resources and our health. We must also find ways to optimize the products, systems and processes we use.

Energie und Rohstoffe

Projects

Automatically darkening windows in a wide range of colors

Smart sun protection

Organic monomers mixed into a special resin darken window glass.
© Photo Fraunhofer IAP

Organic monomers mixed into a special resin darken window glass.

Electrochromic glass darkens automatically when the sun shines and keeps the heat out. Previously it was available only in blue, and switching times were also long. Now, a new process makes it possible to manufacture other glass colors for the first time. And compared to previous models, switching is nearly ten times faster.

  • Applying voltage enables smart glass to darken or brighten accordingly.
  • Previously only available in blue and with long switching times. 
  • A new process facilitates faster electrochromic glass panes in different colors.

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A facelift for old buildings – Energy-efficient renovations and conservation of historic monuments

Building physicists and monument conservators are developing solutions for improved preservation and energy-oriented refurbishment of historic buildings.

Planning building projects faster and more efficiently

© Photo pbb

Reference object »OfficeCenter Pionierkaserne« in Ingolstadt.

Building Information Modeling, an innovative modeling method, displays blueprints clearly in three dimensions and provides additional information such as technical specifications and requirements, building costs and timeframes. Its main advantage is that all the various data sources are digital, so information can be merged coherently into joint models.

Ceiling panel cools regardless of climate

The innovative cooling element reduces perceived temperature in just three minutes. Besides ambient climate control and lighting, the modular system also improves acoustics.
© Photo Alexander Buff / Fraunhofer IBP

The innovative cooling element reduces perceived temperature in just three minutes. Besides ambient climate control and lighting, the modular system also improves acoustics.

Poorly maintained air conditioning systems cause mold or other bacteria to spread; they often also generate drafts and are costly to operate. An alternative technology that uses ceiling panels covered in special heat-conducting film operates well below the dew point. Designed by Fraunhofer researchers, the system offers hygienic cooling even in tropical climates, and uses up to 70 percent less energy.

Combination of insulation and thermal mass

The PCM cube maintains a temperature of 21 degrees Celsius until it is completley melted.
© Photo Fraunhofer ICT

The PCM cube maintains a temperature of 21 degrees Celsius until it is completley melted.

When the summer sun burns in the sky, phase change materials (PCM) integrated in building envelopes absorb the heat – it remains cool inside. When it is getting colder outside, the materials give off heat. Several grams of these storage media can protect against overheating and undercooling for a long time. For the first time, researchers have combined insulating characteristics of foams with PCM thermal masses via established procedures of shaping processes. Due to this combination of materials the heat transfer through walls is reduced for hours.

Wood-derived foam materials

These rigid foam insulation boards are 100% wood-based.
© Photo Manuela Lingnau / Fraunhofer WKI

Since most foam materials are made of petrochemical plastics, they aren’t very climate-friendly. But now an alternative is in sight – a novel foam material produced entirely from wood, which is not harmful to the environment and is also recyclable. In the long term, wood foam could replace conventional products used for thermal insulation, packaging and lightweight construction.

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ENTRANZE – Policies to ENforce the TRAnsition to Nearly Zero Energy buildings in the EU-27

Europe is turning green. If everything goes according to plan, no new building constructed after 2020 will waste energy. As part of an EU-funded project, researchers are currently working to establish the information base for low-energy buildings.

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EU-Project EFFESUS – Energy Efficiency for EU Historic Districts Sustainability

 

Unrenovated historical buildings definitely have something about them, but they’re a bit lacking when it comes to energy efficiency. That’s why researchers in the EU-funded EFFESUS project are working together with partners from industry and municipal authorities to devise ways to make them more energy efficient and supply them with renewable energy.

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