Experiences when employing different alternatives for envelope upgrading


  • Peru Elguezabal Esnarrizaga Tecnalia, Sustainable Construction Division
  • Roberto Garay Martinez Tecnalia, Sustainable Construction Division





Thermal insulation, building envelope renovation, thermal bridges, performance under real conditions


The challenges of achieving the 2020 goals in terms of energy savings and improving efficiency are guiding numerous research initiatives looking for more insulated envelopes, dealing with thermal performance of insulation materials and envelope systems. Nevertheless, the envelope integrates within the building and this improvement on the insulation performance has to be properly adopted, taking into account the interrelation of main elements composing the overall system (facade, frame, slabs, openings, partitions etc.), as well as side effects originated not only for new erected buildings, but specifically in renovation and retrofitting works. This paper describes real experiences when considering various options for upgrading the facade through the increase of the insulation capacity, starting from external overcladding prefabricated panels and ventilated facades, advancing to more sustainable low carbon systems and ending with even more highly insulated solutions employing aerogels. Lessons from these cases, where energy and hygrothermal assessments have being carried out, demonstrate the influence of the design and construction phases and the relevance of disregarded effects such as minor thermal bridges, uncontrolled craftsmanship on site, and moisture transfer for the different technologies considered. Finally, possible alternatives are provided to overcome some of the detected difficulties, such as combination with non-metallic structural components and building membranes, and being prepared for future challenges and new developments when these isolative elements are combined with other technologies, as for example, renewable energy harvesting devices.


How to Cite

Elguezabal Esnarrizaga, P., & Garay Martinez, R. (2015). Experiences when employing different alternatives for envelope upgrading. Journal of Facade Design and Engineering, 3(1), 81–89. https://doi.org/10.7480/jfde.2015.1.921




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