© FIW München

© Lichtblau Architekten BDA
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In portrait: The certifying engineer and the architect

Two expert opinions

Christoph Sprengard

a certifying engineer from the Department of Building Physics and Building Components at the FIW München, carries out measurements and calculations on VIPs, national technical approval tests on behalf of manufacturers and is also involved in research projects for optimising VIPs.

“For many years, the FIW München has supported the manufacturers of VIPs in developing new products. We measure and calculate the thermal and mechanical properties of products as part of the tests conducted for national technical approvals. The very fact that there are national technical approvals in itself shows that VIPs have now developed beyond the experimental stage. New developments show reliably low thermal conductivities after their manufacture. Even the currently applied accelerated ageing procedures show only very slight changes, which would indicate the good durability of the panels in their installed condition. This has enabled the design values for thermal conductivity to be continually lowered in recent years, and with most manufacturers it is now around 0.007 W/(m K). Even if a panel fails and is aerated, 0.020 W/(m K) can still be expected, which is sufficient to provide the minimum required thermal insulation. This is enough to prevent condensation and mould developing on walls and ceilings behind the aerated panels. The thermal conductivity and mechanical properties of the approved panels are regularly monitored by third parties, which helps to ensure the panels’ level of quality.”

Florian Lichtblau

and his brother Wendelin have run their architectural practice Lichtblau Architekten BDA for more than 20 years, focussing on practice, research and teaching sustainable construction.

“When we first founded our office together in 1987, we covered a daring glazed roof with translucent thermal insulation (TTI), survived the experiment unscathed and as a consequence sourced and initiated many other new “building elements”, including vacuum insulation. ZAE Bayern approached us back in 1998 with the request to support the research project with two prototypes. We agreed. Since then there’s hardly a project that we have realised without new VIP details. As responsible designers, we always take structural precautions to ensure that the installation of the elements can be reversed. The better crafted and simpler the building element, the quicker and cheaper damaged VIPs can be replaced if required. We think that the future holds enormous potential for development, in particular with the current research involvement in the field of industrial prefabricated module facades for highly efficient building refurbishments. In combination with timber construction, vacuum glazing and the integration of solar technology etc., we can foresee the development of exciting concepts as part of a sustainable reshaping of the building stock. We call that 'the second chance for architecture'.”




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