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Automated Process for the Fabrication of Highly Customized Thermally Insulated Cladding Systems

Lead Performer: Poly-Cel, Inc. - Marlborough, MA
Partner: Worcester Polytechnic Institute - Worcester, MA
DOE Funding: $155,000
Cost Share: N/A
Project Term: 6/9/2014 - 3/31/2015
Funding Opportunity Announcement: Small Business Technology Transfer Phase I, Topic 3b

Project Objective

The external walls of existing buildings are often not well insulated, older buildings therefore consume significant amounts of energy for heating and cooling in the US. Adding thermal insulation to the external facades of a building is one of the most effective ways to increase the energy performance of existing buildings. However, retrofitting the facades of existing buildings can be quite challenging. The fragmented retrofitting process and onsite construction methods often result in wall retrofit systems that leak air, absorb moisture, have high cost, and do not perform optimally from an energy or durability perspective.

This project deals with the study of a new fabrication process for the manufacturing highly customized cladding systems with integrated thermal insulation, focusing on retrofit applications.  The proposed approach involves a semi-automated documentation and design phase followed by a computer numerically controlled fabrication phase. The proposed technique accommodates a production environment that integrates all phases of a typical façade retrofit project, including the documentation, design, fabrication, installation, and maintenance phases.  The technique allows fabrication of large façade panels that are dimensionally tailored to a particular project, resulting in a high performing retrofit system.  The technical objective of this phase I project is to conduct an experimental study that established the technical feasibility of the most critical fabrication processes used in the proposed fabrication method. In addition, the overall façade delivery method also includes new facade documentation and design techniques that require further investigation.


DOE Technology Manager: Karma Sawyer
Performer: Steven Van Dessel, Ph.D.Worcester Polytechnic Institute