Case 6: Monitoring solution of complete energy renovated single-family houses, insulated by recyclable mineral wool with innovative bio-based binder


Case parameters:

Type of construction:
Typology: Residential
Construction systems:
Location: Slovenia

Demo cases - Challenge

The challenge we face

There are roughly 524.000 residential buildings in Slovenia and vast majority – 89% represent single-family houses (464.352 units). Most houses were built in 1970’s (18%), followed by 80’s (15%), 60’s (11%) and even 19th century (11%). Only 5% were built after year 2000. The houses built during these periods in Slovenia are relatively large heated volumes, often with non-optimal use of living space (large heated hallways, stairs, etc.), with very little or no thermal insulation. They are therefore resulting in large operating costs, often accompanied with mold problems. This is also a source of pollution and carbonization of environment, which could be reduced substantially.
The average usable area of residential houses in Slovenia is 167 m2. More and more inhabitants throughout the country, especially young families and elderly people are therefore searching ways to decrease the maintenance costs or find a better housing. From the beginning of 2020 all new buildings in Slovenia need to be built as nZEB and building renovations will follow this concept. The state – also through subsidies offered by its Environmental Public Fund (Eco Fund) – promotes complete solutions for energy renovation (investors can receive higher subsidies for several measures). However, in practice its approach does not live up to its full potential due to the complexity, lack of trust and the required excessive financial investment. Therefore, our project also foresees cooperation with the Eco Fund, which could further disseminate the project results to investors all over Slovenia. Complete quality energy renovation of old houses is an important topic also in neighbouring countries, so there is a high replication potential throughout the whole Europe.

What we will do

To establish the actual state of individual buildings we must develop an effective tool for measuring and analysing the initial, actual and calculated values of the building’s construction physics parameters. Options of including modern design methodology (BIM) for energy analysis and integration of environmental building material data would be assessed as well. This would provide an innovative way to reach conclusions regarding complete renovations and to define measures for improving the current situation which could then be considered in practice by the Eco Fund as the main national centre for raising awareness about decarbonisation and measures for its implementation. Monitoring of buildings is done quite rarely and mostly within larger buildings.
Development of monitoring solutions in this task will focus on single-family houses, which represent the vast majority of building stock. This demonstration project foresees the searching of an interested individual investor who opted for a complete energy renovation of a building (a minimum of 3 measures). The search would be conducted in cooperation with the Eco Fund, which would publish a tender for allocation of subsidies to additionally motivate investor’s participation. Knauf Insulation would first produce a unique measuring tool with associated software for measuring energy and other parameters before and after the “in situ” implementation.
In the case where investors enable the above-mentioned measurements, we would also offer technical advice, supervision of the implementation and assistance for acquisition of the Eco Fund subsidies. Due to the wish to reduce carbon footprint Knauf Insulation develops products with new binders replacing phenol formaldehyde binders, so we would also use these buildings to test our innovative insulation materials made of mineral wool with bio-based (ECOSE Technology) binder. Moreover, we also wish to include in our project an additional decarbonisation and circular economy factor, since we want to test the possibilities for separation, sorting and direct recycling of the old mineral insulation materials in our production. For this purpose, we need to design innovative protocols for these processes, which could be later offered to the broader market. The whole case and solution in mainly centered on end user.

Demo cases - What we will do

The results we expect

We expect to see the following results in Slovenia:
Case specific outcomes
We will be developing and real-life testing unique measuring tools with associated software for measuring energy and other parameters before and after the “in situ” implementation of complete single-family energy renovation, using mainly recyclable mineral wool insulation with innovative bio-based binder
Expected impact:
– Development and testing of a tool for measuring “real performance” of complete measures using innovative digital tools –
– Development and testing of insulation materials and stone wool with the ECOSE binder
– Development and testing of a model for recycling the mineral wool from old buildings
– Improved quality of implementation as a measure for decreasing the gap between theory and practice (by technical support and greater installer’s awareness of measurement results)
– End-user centricity – increasing public awareness and improving trust in deep renovation investments
– combining energy efficiency with improved indoor environmental quality, health and wellbeing by incorporating Green-label insulation materials (ECOSE Technology)
– Presentation of demonstration activities conclusions to the Eco Fund, which would then further incorporate them into its promotional-subsidisation activities, thus ensuring dissemination at the national level.
– Production of the “Real Performance – Tips for Efficient Building Renovation” video; events for investors and installers, providing the attractive and understandable information of renovated homes. DRIVE 0 will build upon the monitoring methodologies, data processing and the supporting methodologies to display and present this information to end-users – Possibilities for multiplication of the test measuring tool