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Smart Textiles

Hamburg office building gets anti-NOX textile facade

Innovative facade is a light and transparent textile facade developed by the RWTH Aachen, ECE, Hamburg and INOK GmbH

5th February 2020

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Hamburg & Aachen, Germany



Today, the Senator of Finance of Hamburg, Dr. Andreas Dressel, inaugurated the first ‘anti-NOX textile façade’ on an office building belonging to ECE Europa Bau-und Projektmanagement GmbH in Hamburg, Germany. The innovative facade system is a light and transparent textile facade developed by the RWTH Aachen University in cooperation with the companies ECE, Hamburg, and INOK GmbH, Willich, Germany.

Researchers achieved the reduction of harmful nitrogen oxides (NO and NO2) by means of an innovative facade coating, which acts as a catalyst and binds the harmful nitrogen oxides from the city air directly to the facade surface under UV light. Oxidation processes then convert the pollutants into small quantities of harmless salts.

When it rains, rainfall removes the salt residues from the facade surface and the rainwater is then returned to the cycle of nature, where It can seep away or be used as fertilizer for plants. In the project, samples of the rainwater were taken in order to scientifically prove environmental compatibility.

Reducing cooling load of buildings in summer

In addition to the contribution to health protection made by air purification, the facade does even more. As a second building envelope, it lends the building a novel, futuristic appearance and also serves as an external sun protection system. Studies have already proven that the new building envelope can reduce the solar cooling load of buildings in summer by up to 78%, researchers report.

Retrofittable and 100% recyclable

The facade system can be used for new buildings as well as for the subsequent energy-efficient renovation of existing buildings, thus contributing to climate protection and the new materials are said to be 100% recyclable.

In addition, the research team has just presented a variant in which the fabric is made from recycled plastic bottles and researchers are also working on integrating micro solar cells into the fabric. In the future, the facade is to be made available to ITA as a research laboratory in the field of sustainable building technology and contribute to testing prototypes under real conditions.

The project is being run by the Institut für Textiltechnik Aachen of RWTH Aachen University (ITA) and is part of a research project of architect Jan Serode at ITA, which started in 2016 and is being carried out in close cooperation with industrial partners and various RWTH research institutes.

An elaborate measurement procedure with digital measurement technology on the facade enables live monitoring. The study results should provide information about the contribution of the facade to improving air quality. The effects on urban space as well as on the interior of the building are measured.

"Without the great cooperation and financial support of our partners ECE and INOK, we would not have been able to carry out the project in this way," says architect Jan Serode, ITA.”

“A very special thanks also goes to the company Hillebrandt Stahl-und Behälterbau GmbH from Greven, Germany, which has helped us a lot in the last twelve months to realise the facade. The company Schüco International KG, Bielefeld, Germany, with its practical experience in the field of facade technology was also helpful to us,” the institute says.

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