Getting under the skin of façades

Nick Myall
Monday 27 Jun 2016

A conference in Switzerland this October aims to give a comprehensive illustration of the importance of the building skin for the energy efficiency of buildings

Swiss Advanced Building Skins Ltd presents from the 10th to 11th October 2016, in Bern, the 11th International Conference on Advanced Building Skins. The centrepiece of the conference, which is a media partner with World Architecture News, will be the most recent developments in the design of building skins, and new product developments to increase energy efficiency in roofs and façades. A further key point of the conference will be the integration of renewable energy in building skins.

"The aim of the Conference on Advanced Building Skins is to contribute to a multidisciplinary, integrated planning approach by architects, engineers, scientists, manufacturers and the building industry to reduce energy consumption of buildings," explains Andreas Karweger, CEO of Advanced Building Skins Ltd. The conference will give a comprehensive illustration of the importance of the building skin for the energy efficiency of buildings and aims to transfer scientific know-how into practice by an active exchange between scientists, architects, engineers, energy consultants and the building industry.

"Dialogue among these groups should encourage technology transfer and support an interdisciplinary approach for building construction," says Barbara Egger-Jenzer, Executive Councillor of the Department of Construction and Energy, Bern. "The canton of Bern is supporting this congress, as it brings different scientific disciplines and practice to an international platform. We want to stimulate cooperation across trades and to intensify international cooperation," explains Councillor Egger-Jenzer.

Recently, the question of how much insulation is economically and ecologically sound has aroused controversy. The conference will devote particular attention to this topic and will present the most recent technical developments in insulating products. Other sessions of the conference will demonstrate how phase change materials, biomaterials, and other products and technologies can enhance the energy efficiency of the building envelope.

A large part of the building stock consists of old buildings with inadequate insulation, ageing heating systems and less than airtight windows. A comprehensive renovation can reduce the high energy use of these structures. "This is not only economically significant for homeowners, but also for the economy as a whole, since renovations generate employment," explains Egger-Jenzer. "Innovative products in building skins can make an important contribution to an energy efficient building. I'm pleased, therefore, that the conference will devote special attention to this topic and will present the latest state of technical developments in products for the sector," the Councillor adds. The first day of the conference will host the sessions on building renovation.

For the first time at this year’s conference, several sessions dedicate themselves to the topic of glass facades. In the morning of the second conference day, electrochromic and thermochromic glazings for dynamic control of solar radiation are discussed in the session on “Newest Technologies for Intelligent Façade Glazing”. In the afternoon, one session is dedicated to the glare off building façades with glass and photovoltaics. In his talk “Death ray Buildings”, Vicente Montes-Amoros from Curtain Wall Design & Consulting (CDC Inc., USA) drastically describes how glass façades from high-rise buildings affect the environment. This topic is looked at in greater depth by Rania Labib (Texas A&M University, Houston, USA) and Mattia Battaglia (University for Technology, Rapperswil, Switzerland), who analyse the glare of photovoltaics on façades, as well as the legal situation and valuation methods of glare.

Several Swiss research institutes and international universities are co-organisers of the conference and each organise their own session regarding the newest developments in the area of building envelopes. This includes the Bern University of Applied Science, the University of Lucerne, the Helmholz Centre in Berlin, the Italian Technology Institute ITI, the European Academy of Bozen, Italy, the Spanish research centre Tecnalia and the Texas A&M University (USA). In a total of 42 sessions, 200 speakers from 45 nations are giving presentations. The talks are predominantly in English, with two sessions being held in German.

“In order to encourage communication between the participants, we are making an Event App available to participants, which everyone can use to contact participants and speakers in the run-up to and during the conference”, explains Andreas Karweger. The Event App should make networking easier and transform passive listeners into active participants, in order to simplify the exchange of information between participants.

The registration fee is 680 Euro and includes the conference documentation as well as meals during both days. “Early birds” who register by 30th of June will receive a discount of 20% (540 Euro). The registration fee for students is 380 Euro. For detailed conference program and information on the social program and registration see www.abs.green.

The Conference on Advanced Building Skins has been taking place since 2006 and was until 2014 under the title "Energy Forum on Advanced Building Skins" organized in Bressanone, Italy, by the Economic Forum Munich-Bolzano. Since 2015 Advanced Building Skins Ltd. Is organising the conference in Bern.

Andreas Karweger
Advanced Building Skins GmbH
Hostettstr. 30
CH-6062 Wilen (near Lucerne)

Tel Lucerne: +41 41 50 8 70 36
Tel Munich: +49 89 20000-4161
Tel Bolzano: +39 0471 34 00 50

For more information on the conference please visit: http://abs.green/home/

Don’t forget the WAN AWARDS Facades category opens in July. See here for last year’s entries.

Nick Myall

News Editor

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