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Minimally invasive building renovation
Date:8/8/2012

Surgeons commonly use minimally invasive techniques when operating in the abdomen. Instruments are inserted through a tiny incision in the abdominal wall, and the organs are visualized using an endoscope. This method is less stressful on the body than conventional surgery. A form of "minimally invasive intervention" could also be adopted by architects and builders, except that in this case the patients are buildings in need of upgrading to modern energy-efficiency standards. "The minimally invasive approach can be applied to the renovation of buildings, enabling their energy efficiency to be improved with a minimum of messy construction work," says Michael Krause, a scientist at the Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics IBP in Kassel. He and his research team have developed a system of multifunctional window modules that could be used as an alternative to the usual renovation methods that cause so much inconvenience to the building's inhabitants. The "Prefab" project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi).

Normally, building improvement work to reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions is carried out by separate specialized contractors, including insulation and window installers, heating engineers, electricians, and plumbers. But these different tasks are often not coordinated, a situation that can result in construction defects and prolong the duration of the renovation project. "Meanwhile, the inhabitants of the building have to put up with all the noise and mess, especially if a new air-conditioning or heating system is being installed at the same time. Sometimes it is even necessary to wait for the apartments to be vacated before the renovation work can be started," comments Krause. "Our multifunctional window modules enable on-site installation times to be shortened, considerably reducing the stress experienced by the tenants."

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Contact: Dr.-Ing. Michael Krause
michael.krause@ibp.fraunhofer.de
49-561-804-1875
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft
Source:Eurekalert  

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