.

Fig. 20a: Example from the VIP-PROVE monitoring programme.
© ZAE Bayern

Fig. 20b: Example from the VIP-PROVE monitoring programme.
© ZAE Bayern

Fig. 20c: Example from the VIP-PROVE monitoring programme.
© ZAE Bayern

Fig. 21: Application areas (blue) include facades (internal and external), parapets, floors, ceilings, roof terraces and recessed balconies.
© FHNW

Fig. 22 : VIPs enable the subsequent insulation of floors with low structure heights.
© Fraunhofer IBP
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VIP projects undergoing continuous monitoring – the VIP-PROVE research project

Although highly efficient, slim insulation systems based on VIPs have considerable appeal, they are also viewed with considerable scepticism: Does the vacuum envelope actually remain intact during its handling on building sites? Is the quality of the vacuum in the panels permanent? The aim of the VIP-PROVE project was therefore to increase confidence in the VIP technology. The project covered not only the monitoring of existing, predominately commercial buildings using VIPs but also the development of documents for training and further educating specialist designers, architects and trade specialists aswell as the processing and dissemination of information, especially via www.vip-bau.de.

The monitoring of 26 buildingsshowed that, on average, around 12% of the surface areas are in all probability aerated – at first glance a rather sobering result. However, if three of the buildings where there seems to have been a fundamental failure are removed from the statistical evaluation, the proportion of problematic panels is less than 5%. It should also be taken into account that with the majority of the buildings, this was the first time that the designers and builders had come into contact with this unusual insulation technology, i.e. the mentioned rate ought to be considerably undercut in future if corresponding care is taken. A particularly positive aspect is that even repeated checks did not reveal any other abnormal deficiencies over time for whatever reasons. Even in applications where the VIPs have been in use for more than 10 years, the only deficiencies were with the panels classified right from the beginning as “probably aerated”.

A particularly critical aspect therefore seems to be the handling on the building site. Once the VIPs are installed, the high thermal insulation evidently remains reliable for many years. That would be expected from the extensive scientific investigations that have been previously conducted and the experience gained from the first test and demonstration projects.

Vacuum insulation as a problem solver

yVIPs are currently substantially more expensive than conventional thermal insulation materials with the same U-values. 2-cm-thick VIPs generally cost between EUR 50 and 100/m², whereby there is also a greater outlay in terms of the planning, installation and quality assurance. They are particularly worth using:

  • When there is insufficient space available for conventional insulation, e.g. with existing buildings bordering pavements or with basement ceilings
  • When the use of slim VIPs makes it possible to dispense with elaborate additional measures such as shifting doors and window lintels, or when insulating roof terraces or foundation slabs
  • In order to achieve as much usable space as possible from a given floor area and in accordance with specified U-values, e.g. in urban areas with high land prices or on small, awkwardly shaped sites
  • For design reasons, e.g. in order to maintain the geometrical proportions with refurbishments, with roof dormers, with closed elements in mullion-and-transom structures and with listed buildings

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