Energy and Environmental Relevance

Energy impact

Energy impact on kWh energy savings and CO2 emissions reduction

Initial building simulations1 carried out of a typical multi-family building as shown in the adjacent image and based on the anticipated final properties of MeeFS Retrofitting Façade indicate reductions in heating demand of up to 20% and CO2 emissions of up to 21,3% for Badajoz, Spain and of up to 28,5% for cooling demand and 7.5% respectively in Warsaw, Poland in relation with new buildings (after their respective EPBD national implementation) This reduction could be achieved with the MeeFS retrofitting products, allowing for a cost-effective renovation without the need of intrusive operations.

Energy Relevance

Simulations have been performed for such a building. Badajoz (Spain) has been taken as the model city for its extreme climatic conditions, and the computation results had shown that, when these façade system are applied, the heating demand would be reduced by 62% and the cooling demand by 12,3% in relation to conventional existing buildings before the EPBD implementation, leading to a proportional reduction in energy costs. The same study for Warsaw represent 29.3% and 5.8%respectively. The total CO2 reductions calculated assuming COP (heating) = 0.8; COP (cooling) = 3.0; Gas (CO2 emissions) = 0,200 kg CO2/kWh and Electricity (CO2 emissions) =0,449 kg CO2/kWh2. The results show clearly the potential in energy consumption reduction, GHG reduction and cost reduction for end users.

 It needs to be mentioned that this estimation should be treated as a basic estimation of potential results, because information used for the simulation is based on the considerations of the basic insulation modules and without the considerations of the active energy producing modules and without the new breakthrough modules. Its detailed design and energy supply level still needs to be determined during the MeeFS project. The final results therefore will be further better that presented previous ones, however the exact percent should be established during the investigation.

Energy impact of tools for design, retrofitting, commissioning and managing energy in buildings

According to a recent study3, the worldwide energy consumption of buildings will grow by 45% from 2002 to 2025 – where buildings account for about 40% of the energy demand. Of the total buildings energy demand the 67% is consumed by residential buildings. This study is also corroborated by national reports about Climate Change4, which identify the “diffused sectors”5 as the main contributors to GHG Emissions in the next year.

The report estimates contributions to that reduction figure (15%) from different ICT domains. It emphasizes that ICT tools for the improvement of energy efficiency in buildings at a design phase (0.45) and smart BMS - building management systems (0.39) could have the biggest impact. In addition, it is reported that savings of 15-20% of energy consumption in buildings could be achieved through real time feedback to the user in terms of energy consumed and “instant billing”6. Due to these facts, we can state that the implementation of the support tool for design, retrofitting and commissioning, as well as, the Building Energy Management System that will be part of the façade retrofitting system will provide additional energy savings taking into account the whole life-cycle of the building.

Energy impact on composites materials

In comparison with commonly used aluminum alloys (such as 6061-T6), PA6-GF composites exhibit much better insulation properties (electrical and thermal) and lower embodied energy during the fabrication process. 1 Kg of aluminum alloy manufacturing implies an energy cost equivalent to 130 Kw·h, which is 70% higher than the energy cost needed for the manufacture of 1Kg of PA6, which is at the same time 30% higher than that needed for 1Kg of steel manufacture. Aluminum alloy’s good electrical conductivity is a well known property. In this project, wires inside aluminum alloy profiles will be introduced in order to both achieve an optimum communication between several technological modules and avoid short-circuiting. This is the reason why the use of electrical isolated structural materials such as PA6-GF composite constitutes an alternative to traditional aluminum alloys commonly employed.

Environmental impact

The use of composites materials for facade structural components provides important environmental improvements, because it reduces structure weight without affecting the mechanical properties or the cost, but also implies important advantages such as facade thermal and electrical isolation.

Emissions during metallic profiles production hinder their economic rentability, since they imply environmental remediation costs, which could represent up to 25% of total production cost in the case of aluminum. PA6 high reinforcement levels derived from its inherent high impregnation levels mentioned before makes this type of material a valuable second hand material. Other desirable functional requirement for structure facade is “zero corrosion maintenance”. While atmospherically exposed metals such as iron or aluminum tend to corrode and require special coatings in order to avoid corrosion, PA6-GF composite exhibit no corrosion because it is a reinforced polymer. Consequently, the chosen strategy to raise durability of materials employed in facades (ability to bear physical & chemical conditions to which the material is exposed during service life) will have to cope with a search of anti-corrosion solutions. Unlike thermoset composite profiles, which generate very small and volatile dust particles, thermoplastic composites create larger agglomerates during cutting or drilling operations, making easier its workability. All these represent positive points enhancing the environmental footprint of the MeeFS façade system.

  1. Simulations performed by Acciona based on design builder.
  2. 2001 energy review EU commission and design builder data base.
  3. SMART 2020: Enabling the low carbon economy in the information age. The Climate Group
  4. “Estrategia Española de Cambio Climático y Energía Limpia. Horizonte 2012”.
  5. “Diffused Sectors” are characterized by compiling a lot of small sources of Greenhouse Gas Emissions and energy consumptions. Typical examples of “diffused sectors” are transport, building or agriculture.
  6. “The Effectiveness Of Feedback On Energy Consumption. A Review For Defra Of The Literature On Metering, Billing And Direct Displays”. Sarah Darby. April 2006. Environmental Change Institute. University of Oxford
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