A circular system for large-scale façade renovations
Building managers with large patrimony often have several residential buildings with similar characteristics. They usually have a long-term vision of renovating them, spread over decades. However, there is a need to accelerate the renovation rate.
The aim of the EURECA project is to develop a fast and circular façade renovation system that is demountable. Thus, if the building is modified or demolished over time, it can be reused in another location. By looking at shared building characteristics on a larger scale, we aim to devise a generic renovation solution that fits different buildings without making all renovated buildings look the same.
Specifically, we investigated the preconditions and possibilities for improving the performance of façades of apartment buildings in a circular way (façade insulation, renewal of joinery, improvement of the airtightness of window connections, etc.) We also analysed the integration of techniques such as ventilation and hydraulic circuits in the façade package. This makes it easier to change the function of interior spaces.
We applied our analysis to several buildings and in one case study we installed and reinstalled a mock-up.
Finally, we investigated the financial feasibility of an as-a-service business model.
PartnersUniversiteit Gent, Algemene Bouw Maes, De Witte Aluminiumconstructies
At the outset, we drew up a complete overview of parameters that a facade renovation must meet. A number of parameters are laid down by law, others we imposed on ourselves to obtain a supported and solid system.
A life cycle analysis (LCA) and a self-developed circularity meter allowed us to assess and compareexisting façade renovation systems and our EURECA system.
With the nine standard panels from the EURECA façade system, we achieved a high degree of coverage in several façades. For example, in one of our case studies (building S4 of Campus Sterre), we achieved 89% façade coverage.
We conducted a field test with a mock-up: we mounted our modular system around a window a first time, then broke it down and reinstalled it on a facade.
MOST IMPORTANT LESSONS LEARNED
There is a big difference between the options and requirements for façade renovation in low-rise, medium-rise and high-rise buildings. The stricter the requirements, the more materials are needed and the worse the environmental impact.
If we only consider the environmental impact, the existing facade insulation system ETICS achieves a good score. However, if we include a wider set of key indicators in a circularity meter, very different insights emerge.
It is inevitable that a system aimed at reuse possesses more materials and therefore has a higher environmental impact. Unfortunately, this is not always eliminated by including reuse potential.
Today, materials are cheap and labour hours expensive. Due to high disassembly costs, change-oriented circular systems are difficult to recover. As long as the polluter does not pay (e.g. via a CO2 tax), competition from cheap, linearly produced materials is too strong.
WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD?
The knowledge gained lives on in the day-to-day operations of the project partners involved. Unfortunately, no new product has (yet) emerged that will appear on the market in the near future.