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The vacuum insulation technology for the construction sector has been continually further developed in recent years. Products for different application areas have been increasingly granted national technical approvals. Previous construction and refurbishment projects show that vacuum insulation is interesting for highly efficient new-build schemes, as a problem solver – particularly with old buildings – and in terms of the architectural design possibilities it offers. However, the use of fragile, custom-made elements requires particular care during both the planning and handling on the construction site. In relation to this highly efficient insulation technology, the prevention of thermal bridges takes on even greater significance than is already the case with conventional insulation technology. Standardised solutions such as integrating VIPs in prefabricated sandwich elements or in coatings made of conventional insulation foam are possibilities that not only provide additional protection for the VIPs but also counter the thermal bridging problem.

Vacuum insulation panels are still relatively expensive, whereby the cost of the filler material – particularly the finely structured fumed silica – substantially determines the price. The use of more cost-effective alternatives would require, however, even more airtight vacuum envelopes. One conceivable approach would be to further develop the special high barrier plastic laminates that are currently used. Another approach is to use materials that by their very nature are considerably more gas-tight and which are anyway used in the building element as part of the vacuum envelope (glass or metal coverings). New envelope concepts offer not only the possibility of reducing costs but also the prospect of mechanically less sensitive products.

Once the products developed during research are ready for the market and have proved their durability, the prospects for vacuum glazing are also good: with costs comparable to triple glazing but with an added weight advantage and the ability to use energy efficient window frames that are less elaborate, vacuum glazing could well replace triple glazing.


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