ENSNARE’s  multifunctional façade design for renovation

The ENSNARE project aims to promote the adoption of novel and highly efficient solutions that contribute to the goal of achieving nearly zero energy buildings (NZEB) through retrofitting, with special emphasis on residential buildings.To achieve this goal, one of the key project objectives has been the design of a multifunctional façade for rehabilitation.

The innovative  process we followed involved the challenge to achieve a highly flexible solution -in terms of geometry and enabling the incorporation of different solar harvesting technologies devices-. We wanted to provide alternative customised configurations that can be fitted to various building renovation scenarios. The final design was developed through an iterative process, guided by the requirements and specifications, defining dimensional and technical specifications for a detailed design and concluding with a final system design which has been validated and adopted as viable. 

Figure 1: Methodology followed for the innovative façade system.

The ENSNARE’ modular façade that has been validated consists of 2 main layers:

  1. Inner layer: containing the structural aluminum profiles, the main frame of the module and the insulation, as well as the waterproof membrane. This inner layer provides the main functionalities of a passive façade (insulation, air and water tightness) as well as required self-supporting structural capacity. 
  2. External technological layer: formed by a series of independent panels joined to the main structure (inner layer) by means of subframes. It is an interchangeable external cladding designed to incorporate active technologies, such as photovoltaic, thermal and hybrid solar panels, but can also include final finishing materials (ceramics, metals, glass, stone…). In addition, this layer incorporates registrable areas through which the services of the active technologies run along the façade to the point of access to the interior of the building.

The technological layer can integrate different solar collecting technologies: 

  • Photovoltaic panels on two different substrates: aluminum sheet and synthetic stone panel.
  • Thermal solar panels with roll-bond absorption technology.
  • Hybrid panels that generate thermal and electric energy combining roll-bond absorption solar thermal technology with photovoltaics.

This variety of solar collecting technologies has been decisive in defining the system as it has been adjusted to this variety by giving it geometrical characteristics that allow interchangeability.

Figure 2: Modular façade system concept.

Our innovative system aims to contribute to the decarbonization of the building stock by offering a retrofit solution that converts buildings into Nearly Zero energy buildings.

ENSNARE is aware of the significant challenge of energy inefficiency in the existing building stock -contributing to 40% of energy consumption in Europe- and the urgent need to decarbonize. In response to this challenge, our innovative modular and industrialized façade system has been developed ensuring versatility from a constructive and energetic perspective and integrating the infrastructure into the system itself due to the modular character with an easily interchangeable technological layer.  The main defining characteristics of the system are:

  • Versatility: The system is tailored for the refurbishment sector, adaptable to different building scenarios, and capable of integrating various solar energy collection technologies based on specific energy needs. Components are interchangeable with a plug-and-play mechanical fixing system.
  • Integrated Service Network: The modular design includes an integrated service network for solar technology. It allows interconnection of solar panels between modules, creating an accessible network on the same façade plane for easy installation and maintenance.
  • Modular Design with Industrialization Focus: The system is designed under the premise of industrialization, ensuring guaranteed performance. This is crucial, not only for its functionality as a construction product but also as an active renewable energy collector throughout its useful life.

These solutions are being installed in 3 real pilot buildings (in Bulgaria, Estonia and Italy) where the high level of flexibility to define alternative configurations will be demonstrated thanks to the modular approach of the ENSNARE system. 

Figure 3: Two of the pilot buildings (L’Aquila, Italy and Tartu, Estonia) where ENSNARE connectable façade solution are being installed