Sustainable building with hemp fibers

ProduttoreENEA Channel
Autori
  • Laura Moretti,
  • Francesco Paradiso,
  • Fabiola Letizia Falconieri (speaker)
Data21/07/2016
LinguaEnglish

Descrizione completa

By 2020, we must increase energy production from renewable sources by 20%, cut down greenhouse gas emissions by 20% and achieve a 20% improvement in energy efficiency. We must rethink the way we act and redesign the future.

The target is clear: saving money, consuming less and consuming ...

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By 2020, we must increase energy production from renewable sources by 20%, cut down greenhouse gas emissions by 20% and achieve a 20% improvement in energy efficiency. We must rethink the way we act and redesign the future.

The target is clear: saving money, consuming less and consuming better.

In this context, buildings are a crucial sector: they account for a large part of energy consumption worldwide. Sustainable building and redeveloping could save us about 50% of energy, and at the same time we would be contributing to our country economic welfare and protecting the environment.

To meet this challenge ENEA is working out technological solutions to minimize the thermal load of air conditioning systems, ensure adequate climate control, enhance breathability and meet criteria of environmental sustainability and renewability.

Thermal inertia and breathability of a building envelope, especially in temperate and subtropical zones of the Mediterranean Area, are essential  both to energy savings and well-being. In this context the EFFEDIL project aims to improve the thermal performance and water vapour permeability of bricks and develop environmentally friendly and innovative building materials, through the study of the chemical and physical properties of hemp fiber.

Vincenza Luprano - ENEA Brindisi

Wherever it is grown, hemp can improve the quality of the soil and protect biodiversity, because it is hardly susceptible to pest attacks;  it can also be used as a viable and sustainable alternative to mineral insulating materials for the thermal insulation of buildings. On this basis, a short chain model of circular economy is being developed in the Apulia region.

Rachele Invernizzi 

Within the EFFEDIL project, thanks to their many years experience in the field of energy efficiency and materials, the researchers of ENEA Brindisi Research Centre have developed a process that makes hemp fiber resistant to degradation resulting from temperature and humidity, and does not involve the use of chemical pollutants. A brick wall filled with hemp was also realized, on which laboratory tests were carried out to evaluate its thermal properties.

Patrizia Aversa – ENEA Brindisi

Anti-mould and water-repellent treatments in aqueous solutions and with natural substances were also made. After immersion for 24 hours, the hemp fibers were dried at the temperature of 40°C for 96 hours.

Chemical treatments on the fiber, observed with a scanning electron microscope, did not modify its morphology, while  some differences on the structure, which are still being researched, were detected through the X-Ray diffraction analysis.

Then, tests to optimize the preparation of the mats were made.

Tests with a cone calorimeter have shown that in case of fire the treated hemp reduces the speed of propagation of the flame.

Daniela Cuna - ENEA Brindisi

 

These organisms were chosen among those associated with the presence of mould indoors, a common cause of the deterioration of insulating materials.

To evaluate the effects on the thermal, biological, chemical and mechanical characteristics of the mats of hemp fibres, they were subjected to accelerated weathering cycles in a climatic chamber. From a microbiological point of view,  results were excellent.

Antonio Donatelli – ENEA Brindisi

Basically, the aging tests in the climatic chamber showed that colour, weight and appearance of the material remained unchanged.

Vincenza Luprano -  ENEA Brindisi

The EFFEDIL project proved that the usage of this natural fiber in buildings has many beneficial effects: best thermal insulation, increased transpiration, resistance to degradation and to bacteria, and in case of fire the flame propagates at lower speed.

Hemp is then the ideal insulating material for buildings in the Mediterranean areas. Saving energy is possible, and sustainable.

While you save energy, you save money and you save the environment.

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