Mock-up kits up and running at Eurac Research labs
After an intense period dedicated to the design of the technical components, full-scale mock-ups of INFINITE kits have recently been installed at Eurac Research outdoor labs to test their overall aesthetic appearance and gain a better understanding of the interaction among kits on the same façade.
Eurac Research’s Flexi-Lab now hosts four prefabricated façade elements provided by Rubner and integrating BIPV, BIST and green envelope kits. The modules are arranged so to simulate the corner of a real building. A monitoring system will record their behaviour over several months in different weather conditions.
The BIPV panels that were mounted on the fake façade are in three different finishings and colours, but two more will be available by the end of the project. They are produced by the Swiss company Sunage, which designed them in three sizes to cover the largest possible area of the façade and developed a plug and play installation system which makes the installation and maintenance of the kit clean and easy. The BIST kit combines thermal solar panels developed by Nobatek and Aramis. Finally, the industrialised green façade kit was designed by INFINTE Partner Rubner with Grünstattgrau and the support of and external selected company called Terapia Urbana. It consists in a living wall with a fabric structure and a smart irrigation.
Although it was the first time these modules were installed, researchers claim the installation required from 30 minutes to 3 hours and 40 minutes depending on the complexity of the kit and the number of professional workers available. Each kit was mounted by one to three workers with minimum use of tools and scaffoldings. This experience will help INFINITE partners improve the design for assembly and disassembly to ensure that the kits can be installed quickly and easily in real construction sites. The BIM model will play a crucial role to make this process as smooth as possible.
A few meters away from the mock-up façade, INFINITE ventilation machine and smart windows are tested on the so-called Multi-Lab, an innovative infrastructure which allows researchers to monitor indoor temperature and humidity levels in relation to external weather conditions and assess not only the efficiency of technologies, but also the comfort of the room compared to a second room where a traditional envelope is mounted.
The laboratory can even rotate on itself to assess the performance with multiple exposures. Eurac Research team will test the thermal transmittance and irradiance of the kit and will perform blower door tests to check if air is entering or escaping the rooms.
The Energy and Fresh air Kit has been developed as a joint collaboration between Rubner, Vortice and Eurac Research with the aim to provide thermal insulation, heating, cooling and fresh air in an all-in-one solution. The same mock-up includes a smart window kit with special sensors produced by PHYSEE and a set of different shading solutions (integrated lamellas and Electrochromic glass) that are activated automatically to ensure optimal thermal comfort.
Once the results of the tests are available, INFINITE partners will focus on the optimisation of the kits and their scale-up at industrial level. The first application of the kits in existing buildings is planned for the next summer in three demo case studies located in Italy, Slovenia, and France.
The Future Envelope – Towards Zero Carbon Buildings
15-16 December 2022, Bolzano-Bozen
Assessing social sustainability of retrofit technology
Presentation at S-LCA Conference, 7 September at 11:15
Workshop: Off-Site Plug-and-Play Prefab Systems
September 8th, 2022 from 9h to 10:30h