the SNUG solutions

With a global value of €21.3 billion and a steady annual growth rate of 5.7%, the building thermal insulation market offers promising prospects. In the EU, it represents a €7.5 billion, projected to grow at an even higher rate of 6.3% annually.

Most of the insulation is for walls (50%), followed by roofs (30%) and floors (20%). Residential buildings use 57% of insulation, commercial 30%, and industrial 14%.

New methodology
in the making

SNUG strives to facilitate the transition to Zero-Energy Buildings (ZEBs) through comprehensive insulation solutions. Our groundbreaking methodology supports builders and architects in selecting the most effective thermal insulation materials and layouts for new construction or renovation works.

Unlike current methods based on individual expertise and limited simulations, our approach considers all phases of a building’s life cycle to reduce both operational and embodied emissions.

By combining affordability, comfort, safety, and a lower environmental impact, SNUG intends to empower stakeholders to implement sustainable construction practices in public and private buildings. 

1. Sustainable-by-design
thermal insulation materials and prefabs

Building greener materials 

SNUG will develop a range of sustainable-by-design thermal insulation materials and lightweight prefab solutions rooted in circular economy principles. These products will be designed for indoor and outdoor applications, suitable for integration into building envelopes (roofs, floors and facades).

By leveraging natural fibers, industrial waste, and CDW, we aim to enhance thermal behavior and energy efficiency performance in buildings while elevating sustainability, safety and security in a cost-effective manner. We will harness consortium partners’ prior R&D experience to produce the following products:

  • Offer advantages in density, thermal insulation, adaptability, and material saving;
  • Blocks will be applicable in enveloping walls and will be made from Ordinary Portland cement blended with pre-treated biomass ash and recycled diatomite, and GGBFS geopolymers blended with pre-treated biomass ash and recycled diatomite;
  • More sustainable and cost-effective compared to current market options.
  • Mortars will be composed of binders with a reduced carbon footprint and PCMs will be either inorganic or biobased;
  • New product to cover radiant floors, commonly found in Nordic countries;
  • When combined with a smart system, it allows to control floor heating (heat floors during off-peak electricity hours and release stored heat during peak electricity hours).
  • Grants significant energy demand reduction compared to materials of similar thickness, along with excellent fire behavior;
  • Commercial availability remains limited due to its energy-intensive production process;
  • Options with both reduced embodied energy and cost will be developed for lime-based renders and plasters (made from CDW) as well as blow-in insulation (made from PureFlex waste).
  • Bio-based materials require lower energy consumption for production compared to conventional materials and act as a carbon sink;
  • Agro-wastes, oceanic Posidonia, rice husk, and industrial hemp will be used to manufacture biopanels and sandwich panels;
  • Advantages include thermal resistance, high sustainability, reduced carbon footprint and contribution to the circular economy.

2. Digital Tool Assistant

Unlocking innovation

SNUG will develop a groundbreaking Digital Tool Assistant to support builders and architects in the selection of the best set of thermal insulation materials and installation design for new construction and renovation works, according to:
– building characteristics (technical and environmental);
– type of works (new construction or retrofitting);
– end-user requirements;
– available thermal insulation materials.

This Digital Tool Assistant will be based on AI and virtual simulation and it will provide the builder or architect with several benchmark options of thermal insulation materials and building layouts ranged by different criteria priorities:
– sustainability;
– energy performance;
– safety and security;
– cost.

3. Database of thermal insulation materials

Compiling intelligence

SNUG will establish an extensive database of thermal insulation materials, incorporating technical and LCA information. It will contain both the new solutions developed during the project and current market offerings. 

Elements such as embedded energy, insulation performance, fire resistance and carbon footprint, among others, will be documented. This repository will serve to feed the Digital Tool Assistant, leveraging and enhancing existing databases:

Largest online repository on construction materials, providing detailed data from the total waste produced on site to the amount of energy consumed. Access database.

Mainly focused on calculating the final costs, it also includes some technical information about thermal insulation performance. Access database.

Can be combined with other related datasets regarding population, transportation infrastructure, governmental info or real estate offers. Access database.

Free access in several formats and composed of databases from different countries and regions (International, Germany, Norway, Spain, Italy, UK, and Turkey, among others).

4. Digital Building Logbook

Digital Building Logbook

SNUG will create a Digital Building Logbook to collect and digitize all the information related to the three project demonstrators (Switzerland, Spain and Norway) in an interoperable format with BIM – from materials and geometry to data on energy performance, insulation works carried out and corresponding results’ monitoring/analysis.

This logbook will also enrich the Digital Tool Assistant. The ultimate goal would be to extend its application to a wide number of EU buildings to foster traceable data, namely including LCA, facilitating informed decision-making and data sharing within the construction sector, among building owners, occupants, financial institutions and public authorities.