Develop an industrially-viable solution for insulating commercial buildings from the inside. The system is based on partition walls with high insulation or thermal accumulation capacity.
Traditional air-conditioning systems are huge electricity consumers and, due to the refrigerants they use, are a source of greenhouse gas emissions. Not to mention their effects on building occupants’ comfort and health. The Sirteri project developed an integrated insulation material for commercial buildings. The material is installed inside buildings—office, retail, government, and hotels, for instance—during renovation work, and eliminates the need for air conditioning. Insulating from the inside brings specific benefits, especially for office buildings, whose architecture can make it difficult to retrofit exterior insulating materials. The systems developed under the Sirteri project are easy to install and align with the broader market trend toward modular indoor spaces. The Sirteri project also benefits from favorable market conditions, given that 80% of the buildings that will be standing in 2050 have already been built today and will need to be renovated to be brought up to France’s more stringent building codes. Because these existing commercial buildings concern 25% of all buildings and represent a third of total building energy consumption, they will be on the front lines when it comes to energy efficiency measures.
Powerful, easy-to-install insulation for existing commercial buildings. The insulation system developed under the Sirteri project can be described as a “box in a box.” Engineers at CSTB in Grenoble came up with the concept, which was inspired by how cleanrooms are designed. The outer walls of the box offer “superinsulating” properties—their composition can even include a temperature-regulating phase-change material. An air pocket is left between the walls of the original building and the insulation, ensuring heating, cooling, and ventilation, and providing space to run pipework, electrical wiring, and ducts. The Sirteri system is both modular and removable; the system’s innovative screwless fasteners ensure that the walls are completely airtight. Finally, the system offers the advantage of being quick to install, with minimal disruption to building occupants.
Industrial rollout of the solution will be based on SMCI manufacturing the low-profile, high-heat-inertia panels and ARaymond producing the fasteners and accessories, leveraging its exclusive “Click and Go” system. Thermal and aeraulic performance models were also developed (CSTB for the panels; LMOPS for the buildings). For ARaymond, developing the screwless fastening system and a new fastening system for the thermal break modules opens the door to new markets, promising partnerships, and, ultimately, greater diversification of its manufacturing business. SMCI had to develop a method for incorporating the phase-change material into the panels; this gave the company an opportunity to determine a comprehensive automated manufacturing strategy.
The Isère General Council provided three test offices for the project. Complete “insulating box” systems were installed and removed quickly and easily, Their use confirmed the expected improvements in occupant comfort, both in terms of noise and temperature. The solution was also deemed to be particularly clever and well-suited to the requirements of circular economies. The panels are standard-sized, reusable, and recyclable. They do not require removing existing partition walls. And, because the panels are designed for commercial buildings—whose architectures tend to vary less than residential buildings—the system lends itself to mass production. The proof-of-concept testing completed led the partners to pursue a new project, also funded by the French Single Interministerial Fund. This new project, called Renov’Indus, will target product demonstrations on a much larger scale (an entire floor of a commercial building). The goal is to validate the business model associated with the solution.