Damp buildings and thermal insulation

To obtain more detailed information on the drying behavior of exterior walls and other factors, researchers at Fraunhofer IBP set up models of various wall structures with different types of insulation and tested them under real-life conditions. Given that, in the worst case, the drying process can last more than ten years, the measurements were complemented with long-term hygro-thermal simulations.


Drying behavior of masonry units

Before occupants of buildings affected by water damage can safely return to their homes, they have to wait until the walls have completely dried out. To predict how long this will take, and to choose the best drying methods for different wall structures, researchers at Fraunhofer IBP have conducted laboratory tests on numerous different types of masonry units.


Testing of composite thermal insulation systems in combination with glass facades

 The impermeability of the glass facade to water vapor can cause moisture to accumulate in the adhesive layer, increasing the risk of frost damage. Researchers at Fraunhofer IBP have conducted tests on such wall structures in the institute’s open-air test facility.


Drying behavior of screed products

Before a new floor covering can be laid, allowing the building to be used as before, the screed has to be replaced or dried. To determine the drying rates of different screed products, researchers at Fraunhofer IBP have conducted numerous laboratory tests to establish the material characteristics of numerous screed products and their drying behavior.


Comparison of methods for the renovation of wooden beam ends

The Fraunhofer IBP researchers saw the wooden beam ends they found at Benediktbeuern Abbey as an opportunity to test different renovation methods and measurement techniques in a single building.


Passive house certification in the USA – WUFI® Passive as standard tool

Passive houses can work even when the climate is warm and humid. However, they require adapted tools and project planning.


Drying of wall, floor and ceiling structures

In recent years, the Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics IBP in Stuttgart has carried out a large number of experimental tests to investigate the drying behavior of wall, floor and ceiling structures with artificially induced water damage. A large climate simulator in the institute’s laboratory complex in Stuttgart provides the ideal conditions for such tests.


Wall heating systems compared

The researchers of the Fraunhofer IBP examined the energy-efficiency and the effects regarding the building physic of four different wall heating systems at the Fraunhofer Center for the Energy-Saving Renovation of Old Buildings and the Preservation of Monuments at Benediktbeuern.


Laboratory weathering of special laminated glasses

For the roofing of an historic factory building, the permanent usability of the glass structure was to be ensured by a compressed-time weathering.


Treatment of wall and sub-floor water damage

Insurance companies in Germany process over a million claims for water damage due to leaky pipes every year.


Controlling the weather

If only we could control the weather! While for most of us this remains pie in the sky, it’s an everyday occurrence for engineer Andreas Zegowitz and his team from the Thermal Parameters and Laboratory Climate Simulation group.  


Localized cooling

Averaged out over a year, temperatures in greater urban areas, cities and megacities all across the world are now one to two Kelvin higher than in the surrounding rural areas. Depending on the size of the settlement, the temperature difference can be as much as ten Kelvin, which has given rise to the term “urban heat island.”

A novel paving stone concept should now help to reduce this effect.


Optimal ventilation with Climawin

A project funded by the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) and bringing together partners in Denmark, Ireland, Portugal and Germany, has come up with a novel window system. Equipped with electronically controlled ventilation flaps, it can pre-warm the air you need to ventilate your rooms.


Blinds between window panes.

Usability tests on blinds sandwiched between vacuum-glazed panes are necessary to guarantee that such systems last long enough once installed. Frequent cases of damage show that even systems that have already been tested are often faulty.


Window/wall connections

Research on the hygrothermal behavior of window/wall connections was carried out in the dual-chamber climate simulator using two types of PU foam adhesive, without films for additional sealing. For the comparison, commercially available joint filler with caulking as well as with interior and exterior films was tested under the same climactic conditions.


Cleanroom ceilings put to the test

Our growing dependence on electronic equipment to help us, both in industry and in daily life, means more and more cleanrooms are needed by companies such as microchip manufacturers. Cleanroom air exchange requirements are particularly stringent, and as a result it is vital that their construction systems meet exacting air permeability criteria.  


Weather watching for science

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics IBP already have 60 years of relevant experience in dealing with the topic of weather and tracking its development.


Microbial growth on insulated façades

For manufacturers of composite thermal insulation systems, microbial growth on thermally insulated façades still poses a problem. Approaches to solving the problem using building physics are all based on the idea of reducing moisture on the surface of the façade.


Surface moisture

Insulation materials reduce the amount of heat that external components transfer away from the building’s interior. In terms of building physics, this increases the probability that condensation might form on the outer surface of the façade due to the cooling effect of long-wave radiation of heat during the night.


Flexible roof pitch

The Fraunhofer IBP has a flexible roof testing facility designed specifically for pitched roofs. Adjustments to the roof incline can be made in step-wise fashion, and various roof setups can be installed next to each other and then oriented as desired to the north or south.


Capillary-active interior insulation

In many cases, the only way to improve a building’s thermal protection is to install interior insulation. The standard way to avoid condensation forming on the back of the insulation is to fit a vapor retarder or moisture barrier to the insulation on the side facing the building’s interior. The catch is that this gets in the way of the insulation drying out in dry weather.


Numerical simulation of wood-based products

Funded by the German Federation of Industrial Research Associations (AiF), the project aims to generate hygrothermal KPIs of wood-based products for numerical simulations.


Rendering of external walls

The use of render on external walls is an ancient craft based on traditional methods that have been handed down over the centuries and mainly make use of locally sourced construction materials, binders and additives. It wasn’t until 100 years ago or so that the first attempts at standardization were made and rendering became a subject of scientific research.


Hygrothermal reference years

In most cases the simulations are based on climate data originally compiled for use when dimensioning heating and air conditioning systems. These data focus more on temperature than on humidity, and are therefore less suited to the hygrothermal analysis of building components.


Climate data and climate models

The overall objective of this project is to create a robust and reliable base of climate data to be used with the building physics simulation techniques. These in turn promote energy-optimized construction and support climate-friendly renovation measures for existing buildings.


Internal insulation with fiber insulation materials

From a building physics perspective, internal insulation is usually less desirable than external as far as thermal bridges (heat loss), condensation and drying potential are concerned. This makes careful planning and execution a prerequisite for anyone wanting to install internal insulation that is going to last.


Reverse roof insulation

Reverse roof insulation does not employ additional seals to protect against the effects of weather. The outer layers for instance made of paving stones, gravel or substrates, also serve to store more moisture from precipitation, which means the area above the insulation usually experiences only short dry periods.


Improved simulation tools

WUFI® Plus and WUFI® Passive are user-friendly software programs that use sophisticated computer modeling to depict a building and its energy and hygrothermal behavior.


Cultural journey through  time  and  space

Climate change is endangering centuries-old murals and frescos, paintings, furniture and textiles. Can this deterioration be halted? Researchers are searching for solutions in the “Climate for Culture” EU project.


Historic buildings in times of climate change

Museums, palaces and other historic buildings around the world are home to irreplaceable cultural treasures – centuries-old paintings, prized furniture and costly textiles to mention only a few. In northern Europe, mould growth or a higher risk of infestation with pests and insects could put all that into jeopardy, driven by projected increases in precipitation and changing outdoor and indoor temperature up to the year 2100.


Half-timbered buildings

Renovating these traditional homes with a view to improving their energy performance is a challenge that calls for experts with specialized know-how.


Housing of a wrought-iron gate

Scientists have been conducting building physics tests to establish whether completely encasing a listed, wrought-iron Art Nouveau gate would eliminate conditions that accelerate corrosion.


Interior insulation in historic buildings

Together, Fraunhofer IBP and its Working Group on Preservation of Historic Monuments and Preventive Conservation run the Fraunhofer Center for the Energy-Saving Renovation of Old Buildings and the Preservation of Monuments, which is located in Benediktbeuern Abbey.


A modular, low-energy storage facility

Collections are frequently left to municipal archives or to museums; as a result, cultural artifacts that ought to be stored in accordance with conservation requirements frequently end up being kept in poor storage conditions instead.


Building quality for China

The rate at which new buildings are rising up out of the ground is unequalled anywhere else in the world. As far as the technical aspects of their design are concerned, they differ from standard practice in Germany in at least two major respects


Green roof oasis

Green or "living" roofs are no longer the preserve of the wealthy or the extravagant creations of modern architects looking to make their mark. Modern ecologists class them as settlement biotopes. They are stipulated in some land use plans as a counterbalance to paved surfaces – and in some parts of Germany they even attract public subsidies. As well as storing rainwater and improving the microclimate in cities, many green roofs are cultivated as rooftop gardens which provide an attractive contrast to surrounding buildings.