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A novel sound absorption technology to enable energy efficient construction techniques and promote the health and wellbeing of occupants (ECHO2ECO)
Start date: Sep 1, 2011, End date: Jan 31, 2014 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The building sector consumes 40% of Europe’s energy. With rising energy prices and greater focus on energy efficiency the building sector offers the single largest potential for energy savings. This is reflected in the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive, EPBD, 2002/91/EC. This Directive strongly encourages the use of passive heating and cooling techniques such as thermal mass in building construction and refurbishment. Passive techniques such as thermal mass offer the potential to save up to 50% of energy used in heating and cooling. However, there is a barrier to its effective implementation. In order for thermal mass to work effectively the concrete and brick surfaces must be in contact with ambient air and kept free of insulation, including conventional mineral wool type sound absorbers. The acoustics reverberations (echos) however caused by this can affect the health and work efficiency of inhabitants and in some severe cases rendering the building uninhabitable. Whilst there are some high end solutions to the problem, primarily thick polymer or metal panels, these are too expensive in all but high end applications. There is an urgent and growing need for a low cost, high performance acoustic absorber that allows thermal mass techniques to work effectively yet is at a price comparable to low end mineral wool solutions. The SMEs in this proposal have come together as a supply chain to develop just such a new type of sound absorber, for public and commercial non-residential buildings, Echo2eco. This solution will use an array of laser cut micro slits, of width 100 micron in 200 micron film. There are significant technical challenges in achieving this solution, however with our research partners and innovations in multi-layer polymer material formulation/lamination and novel laser beam/optics configurations we are confident we will be successful. In so doing we aim to generate additional sales revenue of €112m within 5 years post project completion.
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