Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Minimally invasive building renovation

01.08.2012
Renovation projects to improve the energy performance of residential buildings involve a lot of messy construction work. Researchers have come up with a new modernization concept that reduces on-site installation times. Prefabricated multifunctional window modules offer a more convenient alternative to the usual renovation methods.

Surgeons commonly use minimally invasive techniques when operating in the abdomen. Instruments are inserted through a tiny incision in the abdominal wall, and the organs are visualized using an endoscope. This method is less stressful on the body than conventional surgery.


The window module with its surrounding insulation is simply inserted in the existing window opening.
© Fraunhofer IBP

A form of “minimally invasive intervention” could also be adopted by architects and builders, except that in this case the patients are buildings in need of upgrading to modern energy-efficiency standards. “The minimally invasive approach can be applied to the renovation of buildings, enabling their energy efficiency to be improved with a minimum of messy construction work,” says Michael Krause, a scientist at the Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics IBP in Kassel. He and his research team have developed a system of multifunctional window modules that could be used as an alternative to the usual renovation methods that cause so much inconvenience to the building’s inhabitants. The “Prefab” project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi).

Normally, building improvement work to reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions is carried out by separate specialized contractors, including insulation and window installers, heating engineers, electricians, and plumbers. But these different tasks are often not coordinated, a situation that can result in construction defects and prolong the duration of the renovation project. “Meanwhile, the inhabitants of the building have to put up with all the noise and mess, especially if a new air-conditioning or heating system is being installed at the same time. Sometimes it is even necessary to wait for the apartments to be vacated before the renovation work can be started,” comments Krause. “Our multifunctional window modules enable on-site installation times to be shortened, considerably reducing the stress experienced by the tenants.”

Prefabricated building components

In addition to the actual window and window frame, the modules are equipped with a technical systems box and a surrounding insulation panel, consisting for example of a polystyrene-based composite system. The self-supporting units are inserted in the existing window opening from the exterior, and provide additional external insulation around it. An alternative version permits architects to use a solution consisting of a timber frame in combination with a mineral insulating material such as fiberglass or rock wool. The removable technical systems box is located under the window sill. It provides room for installing components such as heat exchangers, decentralized micro-pumps for heating-system control, air filters, and even power sockets, ventilation channels, or Internet cabling. Electrical wiring and water pipes are installed on the outside wall underneath the insulation panel and routed into the building through cutouts in the technical systems box. Numerous additional activities such as installing cable conduits and plumbing systems thus become superfluous. The entire unit, including the box, is delivered fully assembled by the window manufacturer, significantly reducing the on-site installation time. Another advantage of installing all these components in an easily accessible box underneath the windowsill is that it simplifies maintenance. If repairs are necessary, any component can be retrofitted or replaced immediately. “By integrating heat exchangers and air circulation units in the renovation system, we can limit heat loss through the building envelope and ventilation. And by ensuring a high quality of workmanship, we can guarantee a perfectly airtight seal and avoid thermal bridges, in other words, no warm air can escape. All in all, the new system reduces energy consumption,” says its designer, who adds: “Because the insulation panels are constructed as self-supporting units, they are strong enough to envisage equipping them with solar collectors or photovoltaic cells.”

A demonstration version of the prefabricated, multifunctional window module is already available. It was manufactured by the institute’s industrial partner Walter Fenster + Türen in Kassel. As the next stage, Krause and his colleagues at the IBP intend to test the window modules in situ, in the renovation of a real building: “In principle, they can be installed in many different types of building stock; we have decided to focus on multi-family residential housing dating from the 1950s.”

Dr.-Ing. Michael Krause | Fraunhofer Research News
Further information:
http://www.fraunhofer.de/en/press/research-news/2012/august/minimally-invasive-building-renovation.html

More articles from Architecture and Construction:

nachricht Modular storage tank for tight spaces
16.03.2017 | FIZ Karlsruhe – Leibniz-Institut für Informationsinfrastruktur GmbH

nachricht Smart homes will “LISTEN” to your voice
17.01.2017 | EML European Media Laboratory GmbH

All articles from Architecture and Construction >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

First Juno science results supported by University of Leicester's Jupiter 'forecast'

26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>