Tecnalia´s full scale experimental facility KUBIK has been the first demonstrator for BERTIM modules where they have been installed in order to make a validation of the new envelope made of timber to refurbish existing building prior its implementation in an existing building.
This implementation had to validate the dual purpose of adding thermal insulation and embedding services (HVAC ducts and pipes) in the module but also the installation procedure.
Two types of module have been installed in KUBIK’s façade:
- Standard panel
- Installation panel
The configuration used in KUBIK’s façade uses different lengths of the module for the standard modules (orange ones); the larger one has a length of 6 m and the smaller, 3 m. The installation modules (blue ones) have a length of 3 m. The green rectangles indicate removable covers to access to installation devices (duct, pipes, accessories, joints).
After the installation of the modules and its experimental campaign some conclusions were taken from them:
- The installation process of the modules has been performed successfully but it is strongly limited by weather conditions (insulation should not be soaked).
- The placement of flexible insulation takes too much time in comparison with the whole process.
- Regular connectors to attach BERTIM modules produce some tolerance in the position of the ducts and pipe. This tolerance were handled using regular joint accessories but also specific accessories built by the manufacturers allowing to handle bigger tolerances.
- The vapour barrier placed in the installation module is crossed by the duct and pipes, the continuity is assured by using a vapour barrier tape.
- PEX pipes were installed in the system but the maximum straight length should not be higher than 6-7 meters in order to avoid problems due to temperature differences. No leakages were noticed during the experimental campaign.
- Different hydraulic accessories have to be installed depending on the water loop layout. For instance, in KUBIK layout, an air bleed was needed.
- Removable covers were installed in order to give access for maintenance and commissioning services. These open spaces were filled with flexible insulation in order to avoid high thermal losses and to achieve a continuous insulated façade.
- The application of the BERTIM solutions results in 4 to 6 times increase in the thermal resistance of the wall.
The pipe thermal losses were obtained for different flow rates. The results showed thermal losses near to a 2% of the potential thermal power supplied, showing promising results for BERTIM modules with embedded installations.
Author: Natalia Lasarte Arlanzón (TECNALIA)