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INEGI participates in European project to help the construction sector innovate in thermal management

24 May 2021
INEGI is one of the partners of a new European project that kicked off last March and aims to promote the creation of new material solutions to improve sustainability and energy efficiency in buildings of the future, which includes the NZED (nearly zero energy buildings) concept.

According to the European Union, the construction sector is currently responsible for around 36% of CO2 emissions and contributes 40% of total energy consumption. This project arises from the need to find alternatives to reduce the energy costs involved in the thermal management of buildings, and to contribute to the sustainability of the sector.

More specifically, explains Andreia Araújo, responsible for the project at INEGI, "we will focus on the insulation of buildings, the so-called envelope, which covers everything that separates the building from the outside environment, more specifically in the development of test cases. These test cases they include, for example, multifunctional sandwich panels, eco-sustainable insulation panels based on recycled materials, smart windows with ventilation systems capable of capturing energy, among others”.

INEGI's team will be in charge of developing multifunctional sandwich composite materials for this purpose, with insulation properties, energy collection and storage, and the ability to adapt to the climate. The environmental and recyclability impact of these materials, as well as safety in terms of flammability, for example, will also be factors to be taken into account.

The prototypes of these materials will subsequently be evaluated in 5 «living laboratories». Pilot buildings, in real construction sites, located in different climatic zones in Europe.

For Andreia Araújo, this project may have a particular impact on Portuguese industry. "Energy efficiency in the national real estate landscape is notoriously weak, and the thermal comfort of buildings presents, in general, great room for improvement. Making this type of consumption cleaner and more efficient will undoubtedly be a competitive advantage for the sector”.

The project "iclimabuilt - Functional and advanced insulating and energy harvesting / storage materials across climate adaptive building envelopes" is co-financed under Horizon 2020, the European Union's research and innovation program.

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