Product eco-innovation - Functional integration: the resource-efficient building envelope Office building, Erfurt, Refurbishment

Labels: GermanyConstruction
EffciantbuildingThe building envelope, i.e. facade and roof, is of particular importance: It serves as interface between the internal and external environment and thus has major impact on material and thermal flows. Current research aims at integrating various functions constructionally and architecturally into the building envelope without using more material due to increasing thickness. Both the energetic and material optimisation of the building envelope as a functional and creative element is an ambitious aim.


  • High investments for building owners required.
  • Skills and know-how in the executing trade is not widespread yet.
  • Split incentives (user-investor dilemma).


  • Mandatory Energy performance certificate (EPC) for building owners.
  • Passive house will be standard for buildings in future according to the energy concept of the Federal Government.


(Photo: gap-solar GmbH)

Buildings are resource-intensive. Up to 40% of the total final energy consumption are caused by the operation of buildings in Germany. New technologies can help to realise energy savings of up to 80%. The functional and aesthetic building integration will play a major role in the future.

Future building materials and facade systems could be multi-functional: innovative glazing and thermal insulation systems protect from heat and cold, absorb sound, produce and save solar energy and control supply of daylight and fresh air - all at the same time. New technologies like adaptive facades, vacuum insulated panels (VIP), phase change materials (PCM) and building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) save costs, preserve resources and open up innovative fields in architectural design (Association for Transparent Insulation - FVTWD e.V.).

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