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Climate Energy

Buildings are powered by renewable energy thanks to a modular facade featuring integrated systems solution

The pace of rehabilitation in the building industry is still too low to ensure that the energy transition is completed by the federal government’s target date of 2025. Increased utilization of prefabricated components, on the other hand, may be able to help speed up the process. A facade module, being developed by researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Energy Economics and Energy System Technology IEE as well as Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics IBP, will integrate technological building equipment and provide it with renewable energy to heat, cool, and ventilate the nearby rooms.

A PV system built into modular facade for energy supply, a micro heat pump for cooling and heating, as well as a decentralized ventilation system featuring heat recovery all help to make this possible. The system is not only appropriate for the renovation of current facades but it can also be used in new construction as a viable, energy-efficient solution.

Buildings contribute significantly to overall energy usage and greenhouse gas emissions in Germany. Buildings that are energy-optimized with networking and intelligent controls, as well as a cost-effective and climate-amicable energy supply, are thus essential for successful energy as well as heating transition. Photovoltaics (PV) is going to play a critical role in achieving a future powered by renewable energy, both in renovation of established building facades and in lowering the energy specifications and usage of new construction.

Fraunhofer IEE and Fraunhofer IBP researchers are working on a modular RE (renewable energy) facade that will provide buildings with eco-friendly power, which will then be used to ventilate, heat, and cool rooms within. At the core of the module is a photovoltaic (PV) system integrated featuring a heat pump that serves as a highly effective cold and heat generator. In addition, it serves as a decentralized ventilation component that incorporates heat recovery technology.

The RE modular facade houses all required technical components, resulting in a high level of prefabrication. The joint research project is financed by German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi). Implenia Fassadentechnik GmbH, which provides design engineering solutions for RE modular facade, Lare GmbH Luft- und Kältetechnik, that also develops the LTG AG and heat pump, which provides decentralized ventilation services, are the project partners.

The goal of the research project is to create a low-cost modular facade for utilization in renovation and new construction projects that follows the principle utilized in many medical procedures and allows for a minimally invasive approach. “We are only renovating the facade of the building, not the entire structure. The outdated facade will be replaced in the future with new, industrially constructed modules that use integrated systems technology to provide a multipurpose solution that fulfills the most recent energy standards “Jan Kaiser, a Fraunhofer IEE project manager, and scientist, explains. “All of the neighboring offices’ heating, cooling, and ventilation equipment is integrated into the facade.”

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