Biocomposite façade panel could replace concrete, steel

26 February 2015

The world’s first self-supporting biocomposite façade panel has won this year’s JEC Innovation Award (Europe), paving the way for natural materials such as biocomposites to replace conventional building products.

Designed by Arup and GXN Innovation, the BioBuild Façade System was developed as part of the BioBuild project, which aims to shape better built environments by developing and using innovative materials based on natural, rapidly renewable resources.

One of these materials is biocomposites – natural fibres (flax, hemp and jute), combined with natural resins made from the by-product of agricultural processing of corn, sugar cane and other crops.

With appropriate processing, these biocomposites can become lightweight, durable and high-performance products – including the structural BioBuild façade panel made of two biocomposite outer shells, with a central layer of insulation material.

Developed to meet the stringent thermal, structural and fire performance requirements of building codes in Denmark, Germany, United Kingdom and Spain, the BioBuild Façade System has the potential to reduce the embodied energy in façade systems by up to 50% compared to conventional construction materials, with no increase in cost.
BioBuild proves that biocomposites can create viable products for the building industry.


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