The project forecasts demonstration activities at different scales:

  • Small-scale demo sites, located in Naples (Italy) and Dublin (Ireland) where the project panel components have been installed, tested, and kept under surveillance and monitoring for a time span long enough to assess their performances.
  • Full-scale demo sites, located in Drobeta Turnu Severin (Romania) and Balbriggan (Ireland). The panels have been installed on the test facades of those 2 buildings, which are currently in use. The sites are being continuously monitored. These full scale demonstration tasks then include the testing and validation of the BIM platform, Decision Support Software, Online Management tool and Iterative Design Methodology.

Small-scale site demo sites

The 2 Small-scale sites have been set to check performances, components, and installation procedures of the panels developed in the project before the installation at the 2 full-scale demo sites. Particularly, the panels manufactured by Hypucem have been installed and monitored at the Naples site, “Institute of Polymers, Composites and Biomaterials (IPCB-CNR)” in Fuorigrotta (Napoli, Italy), under the supervision of Hypucem. The panels manufactured by Techrete (2 kind of panels: PCM concrete for re-cladding, geopolymer concrete for over-cladding) have been tested in Dublin, in the small-scale demo site located within the Techrete’s yard under the supervision of Techrete and UCD.

Test Façade, Naples, Italy

The test site is a 1-storey building. Its structure consists of a reinforced concrete frame with infill brick walls rendered with a lime-cement plaster.

The test façade in Naples

The side fence wall in Naples

The test site was surveyed before testing operations: structural tests on the infill brick walls, rebound tests on the concrete frame, and IR measures have been carried out on the building envelope before and after the installation of the panels.

Thermal survey on the test façade before the installation of panels

Thermal survey on the test façade after the installation of panels

A portion of the wall façade of the building canteen was partly over-cladded with the Hypucem panels in January 2017, whilst along a side wall fencing the court yard, the panels were erected with different anchoring techniques to test their effectiveness. Since then, the site is under surveillance by Hypucem. Besides, a monitoring system made of both sensors embedded in the panels and sensors fixed on the reference walls has been regularly operating. The panels were dismantled in Summer 2018.

Installation of Hypucem panels – final over-cladding structure featuring also the project novel coating

Tests on the panels at the side wall

Test Huts, Dublin, Ireland
Four test huts were built in November 2016 at the Techrete site to carry out tests and monitoring tasks aimed at assessing the performances of the panels before their installation at the full-scale demo sites.
Three huts are aimed at assessing different configuration of PCM concrete panels suitable for re-cladding interventions. One hut is aimed at assessing over-cladding panels. The demonstrator huts were constructed as 2m3 cubes with a double patio door. The huts have flat roofs and a plywood flooring. The south facing wall is almost completely glass to maximize solar gain. There is insulation within the panel and on the ceiling and floor of the hut. There are 3 panels creating 3 solid walls to each hut: West, North, and East. The South facing wall is a double glass sliding patio door. The three PCM huts are shown in the picture below.

The demo huts in Dublin

The control hut (in the middle) is standard concrete panel construction. The other huts have different layers of 5% PCM embedded into the inner leaf and are labeled partial (65mm) and complete (125mm).

The huts have been fitted with proper sensors, instruments, and tools to check the energetic performances. They have been under monitoring since Autumn 2016. Besides, all huts were provided with heathers linked each-other so that they turn on/off in unison to have a fully reliable energy assessment.

Energy monitoring in the Dublin huts

Full-Scale Demo Buildings

Alice Voinescu Gymnasium School, Drobeta Turnu Severin, Romania

The demo site is a school built in 1963. It has a reinforced concrete frame structure with infill brick walls. It is externally finished with a cement rendering layer. The North East facade of the building shown below has been made available for the panel installation.

Test façade in Drobeta

The test façade has been thoroughly surveyed. A Tele Laser Scanning survey has been performed, together with a structural assessment of the walls and a detailed IR imaging with a thermal camera to understand the current energy behavior of the building. This detailed knowledge of the site has allowed the development of a proper engineering design, adequate to the existing structure of the building and consistent with the local and national standards. A monitoring system with sensors has been deployed in the building, to allow an energy comparison before and after the installation.

IR Survey of the facade

The activities in this demo site were based on over-cladding the ground level façade with the light Hypucem panels, and the first floor of the building with standard commercial insulating panels to compare performances. The installation was done in Summer 2018 and the site was kept under monitoring to assess the energy performance until May 2019, therefore through a 4-season term.
According to the developed retrofitting design, Hypucem panels were produced in 500 x 700 mm size, while 600 x 900 mm commercial panels were installed on the first floor. The second floor of the building was left blank, and used as a reference wall for measurement. A special stucco developed within the project was then used for surface finishing.

Laying out the vertical sections of the substructure

Installation of Hypucem panels

Primed Hypucem wall and stucco plastering

Completed demo site

Thermal survey after installation shows how the Hypucem panels at the ground floor perform better than commercial ones at the first floor. In particular, the anchoring substructure of commercial panels act as a thermal bridge, while IMPRESS solutions avoid this kind of problem.

Thermal survey at Drobeta Turnu Severin demo site

Balbriggan demo site, Ireland

The demo site is represented by an office building within the premises of the IMPRESS project partner Techrete. Here, both the overcladding and recladding panels were tested: the overcladding panels were demonstrated overcladding a solid construction, analogous to a cast in situ concrete wall or alternatively masonry infill, while the recladding panel was demonstrated as a room enclosing loadbearing wall structure. The site installation started in September and ended in November 2018.

Balbriggan Demo- Installation

A number of standard commercial PCUs was used as support structure the structure is made of single skin traditional PCUs and of specialist IMPRESS sandwich panels
For what the overcladding panels are concerned, weight reduction was achieved through a novel, fibre reinforced high-strength concrete, and a flexible carbon-fibre mesh allowing for a reduction in the concrete cover with associated panel weight savings of up to a factor of 4.
With reference to the recladding panels, they ensure the energy efficiency through the integration in the concrete mix of phase change materials (PCM).