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In the European Union, buildings account for 40% of energy consumption and thus, in addition to transport, industry and the energy sector, are also responsible for a significant share of the CO2 emissions. One aspect of the EU’s climate protection goals is therefore to reduce the energy consumption in buildings. For example, the EU Buildings Directive has set energy standards for buildings up to the year 2030. As a result, the technical requirements for energy-efficient buildings are becoming increasingly stringent, both in new and existing buildings. Since most of the energy in residential buildings is used for heating and cooling, in most cases it makes sense to insulate the building in order to implement energy efficiency measures. This applies not only to the cold winters of Northern Europe but also to hot summers in Spain and Greece, for instance.

Today’s insulation systems, however, often use insulation boards composed of expanded polystyrene or polyurethane, both based on crude oil. This is precisely where a German industrial consortium comes in to research a climate-friendly alternative for this insulating material. In the BioFassade project, facade elements with high-performance thermal insulation made of biopolymers are being researched. The aim of the project is to develop a facade insulation system using biopolymers and cellulose acetate hollow fibres with very high insulation properties.

In addition to the facades themselves, all other components (load-bearing elements, door and window features) are to be manufactured from biopolymers. In terms of the robustness of the system the same industrial standards apply with regard to stability, safety, quality of insulation and durability. The research group is made up of companies along the value-added chain, so that all those involved can research ways of improving their core competencies and products. This ensures that not only the production processes, but also the planning and assembly on site are taken into consideration. The high fire protection standards applicable to conventional insulation systems must, of course, also be met by these ecological alternatives.

The BioFassade project is funded by the BMWi and runs from 2018-2021.