FoAM-BUILD’s Environmental Benefits

Along with the other benefits of FoAM-BUILD’s ETICS, the project boasts some incredible figures that positively impact on the environment. These figures have been turned into an infographic to give you a better insight into the impacts that the ETICS has, with potential emissions saved on using FoAM-BUILD ETCS compared to using current standard ETICS that are available on the market.

As can be seen by the infographic, just one multi-family house with FoAM-BUILD installed has incredible benefits on the environment. FoAM-BUILD has created products that can not only benefit the construction process in various different stages of building, but also on the environment based upon where in Europe they may be installed.

Algae Applied to FoAM-BUILD Wall

Project partners at Smithers Rapra in Shawbury, UK have now finished applying the final solution of algae to two sections of the completed wall.

IMG_20160701_120907The purpose of this exercise is to monitor the growth of algae in relation to the environment over the next six months.

Demonstration Wall Finally Completed (June 2016)

The final fitting of the demonstration wall at Smithers Rapra has been completed.


A canopy has been installed which consists of a heavy steel beam removing the need to fix it to the roof.

This canopy will protect the top of the insulation against moisture and rainfall which could potentially affect the adhesive used for the insulation.


Conditions will continue to be monitored using the time lapse camera for a period of six months after which time the data will be reported on.

EeB-Ca2 Events in June 2016

EeB-CA2 CSA is pleased to offer 3 full-day training sessions, taking place during the EU sustainable Energy Week, in Brussels. These sessions are open to participants of EeB projects and other interested stakeholders.

  • Wednesday 15 June:  Innovation Management will be delivered by Dr. Jonathan Loeffler and Eduardo Herrmann of EeB-CA2 project partner Steinbeis-Europa-Zentrum.

This will focus on the importance of effective innovation management and provide an introduction to methodologies that will help participants to improve exploitation and bring their innovations and technologies successfully to the market.

For further information and registration until 9 June:

This session gives hands-on support on the development of market analysis for innovative solutions and will be of particular use if an organisation is planning to enter a novel market in the construction sector.

For further information and registration until 9 June:

This session will focus on the importance of a well-designed business plan and provide an introduction to methodologies that will help participants to improve exploitation and bring their innovations and technologies successfully to the market

For further information and registration until 9 June:

The Work Continues

Following the fixing of the EPS to the wall using anchors, the first layer of base coat has now been covered with glass fibres.


Twenty-four hours later the builders applied the second layer of the basecoat in order to seal the glass fibres.  The surface was then smoothed out using a sponge to make it easier to apply the render.  This method was repeated when applying the render to ensure a smooth finish for testing purposes.


Fortunately, weather conditions at the time were sunny and warm which meant that the render was cured by the next day.  This render is the final coat to be applied and will be the surface used for testing purposes during the next six months.


The entire construction of the ETICs has been undertaken by S James – External Rendering and Insulation Rendering specialists.

The next step is to wait for the wall to dry completely.  Following this, a solution of micro-organisms will be applied to half of the surface.

The Builders Move In

Builders started on site at Smithers Rapra this week installing the EPS panels.

Wall 1

Wall 2

Despite the adverse weather conditions they managed to complete the task by the end of the day without getting too wet!



Wall 3

They are returning today to apply the base coat followed by a top coat on Thursday.







Work Commences on New Demonstration Wall at Smithers Rapra

DSC01687Part of the FoAM-BUILD project calls for the provision of a wall on which to demonstrate and evaluate the ETICS technology.  Two walls will be built, one at DAW in Germany and one at Smithers Rapra in the UK.

The wall at DAW has already been constructed and measurements are underway and work has recently commenced on the wall to be sited at Smithers Rapra.  This wall will measure 8.55m in length and 2.95m in height.

DSC01688Over the course of the next six months evaluation of weathering performance and light ageing will take place as well as assessment of the performance of ETICS under various temperature environments.

A time lapse camera installed to demonstrate the evolution of the wall will be linked to the project website. A weather station sited 1.5m from the wall and approximately 1m from ground level will be used to assess if weather conditions have an effect on the growth of algae.

Watch this space for future updates.


LCA – A Step by Step Process

Normally LCA is performed in iterations: in the first round a simplified approach is used focusing only on the most important processes and resulting in a basic model. Then the following iterations gradually create a more advanced system that is closer to reality. This is illustrated in the life cycle assessment framework figure as defined by the standard.

The four phases of a Life Cycle Assessment as defined by ISO 14040:

LCA blog1

The LCA includes four phases, starting with defining the goal and scope. This phase is followed by inventory analysis and impact assessment. Interpretation is the final step in the process.

The goal is to understand where the environmental impact arises, especially for these impact categories: climate change, mineral resource depletion and human toxicity.

For FoAM-BUILD, the functional unit refers to the amount of insulation material required for a 1m2 block to fulfil a thermal resistance of 5m2K/W, meaning the changing parameters for comparison purposes is the thickness of the system.

1m2 of insulation with sufficient thickness to provide a thermal resistance of 5m2K/W with active moisture control and an expected service life to be 50 years

System boundaries for the FoAM-BUILD LCA – based on EN 15804:

LCA Blog2

Like the rest of the process, the scope definition can be subject to updates in line with the evolving technical implications of the outcomes of the research and development activities of the project.

Beyond the state of the art:

The analysis on FoAM-BUILD is attempting to go further than the state of the art by presenting the results of the analysis according to three perspectives: the builder, the owner and the occupier.

Intended presentation of the results of the FoAM-BUILD LCA:

LCA Blog3

The full picture requested by the system boundaries is still here but represented in a much more understandable way for the potential end user of the product and highlights the points where he can make a change more obviously!

And finally, because insulation product might not have the same impact depending on where they are being used; the analysis also looks at the environmental impact according to three climatic regions:

LCA Blog4

This allows the different temperatures in all three countries to be taken into account and because each country has different regulations it will show where the greatest benefits can be expected when implementing the new FoAM-BUILD product!

Current state of FoAM-BUILD LCA:

The work on the LCA of FoAM-BUILD has been progressing very well with a few achievements to date:

• Definition of the goal and scope of the analysis
• Definition of system boundaries with 3 point of views and 3 climatic
• Simulation of existing product
• Preliminary simulation of future FoAM-BUILD product

In the coming months we will work on a better definition of the new product model as well as targeted analysis if this is required to help with the material development side of the project.


The Purpose of Life Cycle Analysis

Part of the work for FoAM-BUILD requires an assessment of the LCA impact of the new technologies being developed within the project but why are we doing LCA?

LCA is a tool that captures and measures the impact that a product has on the environment. It is able to set up limits, make comparisons, identify hot-spots, or just better understand the impacts on our surrounding natural world.

The life-cycle viewpoint means that we are looking into the whole life of the product: from raw material extraction, through production and usage, up to recycling or disposal – i.e. from cradle to grave. This helps us understand our supply chain and how a change on one side can affect the other.  It also provides assurance that reduction of the environmental impact on one stage in the life cycle does not come at the price of an increase of another.


Within a research project, this translates as a tool that can be used to help decision making in the development stage by comparing different solutions which are otherwise difficult to differentiate. This can also be used to highlight the benefits of the new product compared to existing state of the art and more generally speaking can also be a great communication tool if used correctly!

FoAM-BUILD – A Technical Explanation

S&G27925 133-SYSB 4CToday there are two different insulation systems available on the market: internal and external. Polymeric foams are the most popular external foams used in both cases due to the fact that they are easy and quick to apply and do not take up space internally.

Panels of polystyrene are fixed to the wall with mortar and anchors to prevent any wind damage. A layer of glass fibres is then added to protect the polymeric foams from any possible impact.  This is followed by the application of damp proofing and finally a layer of textured plaster to the external wall insulation systems. This last layer is used purely for aesthetic purposes.

There are several main goals in this project, the first of which is to extend the life of this new generation of ETICS.

Another goal is to reduce the size of the polymeric cells to nanoscale in order to decrease the thermal conductivity of the polystyrene board. This means, with small cells, it will be possible to increase the number of cells and at the same time reduce the thermal conductivity by maintaining or decreasing the total thickness. Finally, by using less polystyrene the results of the LCA will be improved.

All the tests to certify that the final product is ready to sell are regulated by standards. Each test corresponds to a specific standard. Standards provide all the necessary parameters to follow the protocol of the test according to requirements. They are used for technical tests based on the mechanical, thermal, fire resistance and permeability properties of the materials and also for life cycle analysis and electrical regulations.