The demo building “El bloc dels Mestres” is becoming more and more environmentally friendly

Project's updates - 05 Nov 2021

The restructuring of the demobuilding El bloc dels Mestres continues. And last summer we reached a new, important, milestone: the installation of a cork board insulation, to make this building even more sustainable.

We’re continuing to refurbish the El bloc des Mestres, a HOUSEFUL demo building near Barcelona (Spain). The refurbishment is based on the principles of the circular economy.

The HOUSEFUL project is promoting renovation actions to optimize resources and reduce the environmental impact of this residential building.

During August and September, for example, a cork board insulation known as ETICS was installed manually.

The ETICS covers the existing envelope of the building and aims to stabilise the interior temperature. This will reduce the need for heating and air conditioning, thus saving energy.

Currently, the conventional practice in the regional government’s housing agency of Catalonia is to use insulation materials for ETICS that are petroleum-derived. According to an analysis of HOUSEFUL partner iTEC, the manufacture of cork insulation boards consumes 75% less primary energy and reduces by 90% the global warming indicator value compared to the conventional petroleum derivative solution. Furthermore, the installation wastes almost nothing in the case of cork boards. Any fine dust produced is sucked up and  returned to the manufacturer for other uses.   The use of ETICS for the cork boards has enabled us to reduce the environmental impact of the refurbishments while maintaining performance and comfort.

The specific cork board selected for this renovation presents additional advantages, such as an A + indoor air emissions eco-label. This indicates that the product emits almost no volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

As we indicated earlier, during last summer this cork board insulation was installed manually on the northwest facades of the 8-floor building. Once the boards were fixed, the cork was protected with natural hydraulic lime mortar and finished with paint, preserving the original colour of the facade. This solution preserved the original aesthetics of the building.

An energy building simulation made by the HOUSEFUL partner AIGUASOL showed that ETICS reduced the original façade transmittance value by almost 80%, fulfilling the Spanish regulation and improving the overall energy performance of the building.