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
Construction Impact Guide
18.05.2018 | Hochschule RheinMain
New, forward-looking report outlines research path to sustainable cities
24.01.2018 | National Science Foundation
Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.
When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...
Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.
Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....
Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.
Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...
Scientists have discovered that the electrical resistance of a copper-oxide compound depends on the magnetic field in a very unusual way -- a finding that could help direct the search for materials that can perfectly conduct electricity at room temperatur
What happens when really powerful magnets--capable of producing magnetic fields nearly two million times stronger than Earth's--are applied to materials that...
The quality of materials often depends on the manufacturing process. In casting and welding, for example, the rate at which melts solidify and the resulting microstructure of the alloy is important. With metallic foams as well, it depends on exactly how the foaming process takes place. To understand these processes fully requires fast sensing capability. The fastest 3D tomographic images to date have now been achieved at the BESSY II X-ray source operated by the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin.
Dr. Francisco Garcia-Moreno and his team have designed a turntable that rotates ultra-stably about its axis at a constant rotational speed. This really depends...
08.08.2018 | Event News
27.07.2018 | Event News
25.07.2018 | Event News
14.08.2018 | Information Technology
14.08.2018 | Life Sciences
14.08.2018 | Life Sciences