Thermal insulation properties of sandwich panels and improved thermal comfort

The construction industry is constantly evolving, seeking solutions that not only ensure efficiency and effectiveness, but that are also sustainable and environmentally friendly. In this context, sandwich panels emerge as an innovative solution that offers considerable benefits in terms of thermal insulation while contributing significantly to the thermal comfort of buildings. This article explores the distinctive features of sandwich panels, highlighting how they are a preferred choice in dry construction.

What does improving the thermal comfort of a building mean?

Improving the thermal comfort of a building is not just about maintaining a comfortable indoor temperature, it also involves optimising energy efficiency and promoting the well-being of its occupants. This can be achieved through a number of strategies, including effective thermal insulation, efficient heating and cooling systems, intelligent ventilation management, and use of building materials that help stabilise indoor temperatures. Careful design that takes account of building orientation, space distribution and use of sustainable technologies can significantly improve thermal comfort while reducing environmental impact and energy costs.

What is a sandwich panel?

A sandwich panel is a composite material consisting of two outer layers and an insulating inner core. The outer materials, usually metal, protect the inner insulation layer, which can be made of various materials such as expanded polystyrene, polyurethane, glass wool, or rock wool. This structure gives the sandwich panel the properties of exceptional thermal insulation, mechanical strength and lightness.

Thermal insulation in sandwich panels

The main contribution of sandwich panels to sustainable construction lies in their exceptional thermal insulation properties. These energy-efficient materials reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions while providing environmental comfort and financial savings. The effectiveness of the insulation in sandwich panels depends on the chosen insulation material, which can vary in origin and technical specifications, directly affecting its thermal transmittance and fire resistance performance. Materials such as mineral wools and polyurethane foams provide optimal insulation, thus contributing significantly to the sustainability of buildings.

Benefits of sandwich panels

  • Energy efficiency

Sandwich panels are designed to provide an excellent barrier against heat loss to significantly reduce energy costs. Their ability to maintain a constant temperature inside buildings makes them ideal for improving energy efficiency and reducing the carbon footprint.

  • Application versatility

Suitable for both new buildings and renovations, sandwich panels can be used for walls, roofs and floors, where they offer a complete thermal insulation solution. Their versatility makes them compatible with various architectural styles and building types, from private residences to industrial complexes.

  • Quick and easy installation

The lightness and ease of assembly typical of sandwich panels reduce construction times and the associated costs. This is particularly advantageous in dry construction, where construction speed and low on-site waste are key factors.

  • Improved thermal comfort

The insulation provided by sandwich panels improves living comfort in indoor spaces by maintaining a more stable and pleasant environment. This is crucial both to conserve heat during the winter months and to insulate against excessive outside heat during the summer.

  • Sustainability

Choosing environmentally friendly insulation materials for the core of sandwich panels contributes to making buildings sustainable. Moreover, their long service life and weather resistance ensure that these panels are a lasting investment, reducing the need for maintenance and replacement.

Why choose to use a sandwich panel

Sandwich panels are emerging as an innovative thermal insulation solution in buildings, as they combine energy efficiency, versatility and sustainability. Their ability to maintain a constant temperature inside buildings make them ideal for improving thermal comfort while reducing energy costs and environmental footprint. Their easy installation and durability make them an advantageous option for sustainable, quality construction.

PIR (polyisocyanurate) foam is very effective in insulating against cold because of its low thermal conductivity, which significantly reduces heat transfer. This is achieved through the closed cell structure of the PIR foam, which traps air to reduce convection and conduction. Moreover, PIR foam is fire-resistant and has good dimensional stability properties, making it an excellent choice for thermal insulation in various environmental conditions.

The reaction to fire of PIR core sandwich panels is determined by the combination of coatings, the formulation of the foam, including any flame retardants, and the charring process, which forms a protective layer in the event of fire. These panels comply with EN13501 and are classified as Euroclass B S1 D0, indicating that they are combustible materials with limited flammability, low smoke emission and no burning droplets or particles during combustion.

Manni Group and the StepUP project

StepUP aims at energy rehabilitation in European buildings by exploiting off-site technologies to improve energy efficiency. Manni Group, in collaboration with other companies, plays a key role in this initiative by contributing its expertise in sustainable construction and innovative building solutions. This partnership aims to set new standards for energy rehabilitation by combining sustainability and technological innovation.

The StepUP project introduces an innovative solution for building rehabilitation that focuses on the use of plug & play modules based on sandwich panels. These modules are designed for easy installation and offer an effective and versatile answer to the need for energy renovation in buildings, while allowing completely dry assembly. The option of choosing from different colours and finishes for the outer skin testifies to a commitment to aesthetically sound solutions in line with the excellence and creativity of Made in Italy.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement no. 847053.

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