ITA: Smart Urban Skin sustainable technology ...

Smart Urban Skin sustainable technology platform

Building with a fabric facade (Source: ITA)
Building with a fabric facade (Source: ITA)

Smart Urban Skin (SUS) represents a whole new generation of building facades that reduce CO2 emission, filter pollutants from the air and generate electrical energy - as individual functions or in combination. The aim of SUS is to make a positive contribution to solving current climate and environmental problems, while at the same time enabling sustainable value creation, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and start-ups. From its base in Germany, SUS is to conquer the world as a sustainable technology platform.

The SUS technology platform is being tested for the first time in the Rhenish Revier, a model region that has been particularly hard hit by Germany's lignite phase-out. Specifically, 3 physical real-world labs are being created, grouped around research facades with areas of at least 2,000 m2 each. Real-world labs are becoming increasingly important for Germany as a business location.

Project scheme of Smart Urban Skin (source: RWTH Aachen, project group Smart Urban Skin)

Creative companies, administrations and researchers test in them what was unthinkable just a few years ago. At the same time, the real-world labs help to understand what rules the digital world of tomorrow will need. In the real-world labs, facade technology is continuously optimized, its application horizon systematically expanded, and thus value creation sustainably increased. The 3 real-world labs will be spatially balanced across the Rhenish coalfield in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia in the western part of Germany at the locations Düren (Air.Cleaning), Wassenberg (Energy.Efficiency) and Jülich (Energy.Regenerative). In addition, 2 mobile pavilions, so-called Smart-Labs+, are being built. They will transport the innovative building technology "made in the Rhineland" to the local region, but also to the international context. They are central contact points for cooperation with stakeholders for the sustainable and effective implementation of the SUS technology innovation.

The novel building envelopes are being developed interdisciplinarily by 8 institutes of RWTH Aachen University in cooperation with Forschungszentrum Jülich. For preliminary work, the first textile research facade was opened in February 2020 in Hamburg on the campus of the company ECE. The €90,000 facade was 100% financed by the building owners. It is equipped with elaborate digital measurement technology that provides basic parameters for the development of the new prototypes.

Jan Serode, Institut für Textiltechnik of RWTH Aachen University (ITA), Aachen/Germany


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