For improved air quality in urban areas
SUSTAINABLE FACADE FOR BETTER AIR
The air in German cities is often worse than the EU limits allow. Fine dust and nitrogen oxides impair the quality of the air, and preventing them is an effective lever in climate protection. Particulate matter pollution has a major impact on the development of cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, as well as on the general mortality of the population. We are the market leader for customized real estate concepts and a pioneer in sustainable solutions in the development sector. Under the scientific supervision of RWTH Aachen University, we tested the world's first textile facade that filters harmful nitrogen oxides from the air on an office building at our corporate campus in Hamburg.
reduction of the pollutant load
Reduction of nitrogen oxides under laboratory conditions
up to 78%
Reduction of solar cooling loads of houses
Successful test run
From February 2020 to December 2021, the 16.5-meter-high and 4.8-meter-wide textile tarpaulin on the outer wall of an ECE office building directly on the busy Saseler Damm (Ring 3) was put to the test: The novel textile air filter was able to reduce pollutant levels by a third. Under laboratory conditions, there were even 55 percent fewer nitrogen oxides in the air, according to RWTH. The air filter binds harmful nitrogen oxides (NO and NO2) produced by car exhaust fumes. In addition, the textile surface also serves as an external sunshade. Studies have shown that the novel building envelope can reduce up to 78 percent of the solar cooling loads of houses - and in this way reduce their CO2 emissions.
Anti-smog coating as a miracle cur
The secret of the textile facade: It is coated with a photocatalytic anti-smog coating that breaks down air pollutants that are hazardous to health. The miracle agent with which the textile facade is coated is called nanotitanium dioxide. It is made from the natural metal titanium dioxide, which, when exposed to light and humidity, converts harmful nitrogen oxides into harmless nitrates that simply wash out with the next rainfall and end up in the soil as fertilizer. As part of an environmental impact assessment, RWTH Aachen took a close look at the rainwater. The result: The nitrate concentrations of the samples taken from the facade were completely harmless - the rainwater complied with the EU nitrate limits for drinking water.
100 percent recyclable
In addition to its proven filtering performance and the reduction of CO2 emissions, the novel textile facade is characterized by other sustainable aspects: For example, the textile envelope can be used to easily embellish building facades. After its useful life on the building, the textile fabric can also be recycled 100 percent in a closed-loop process. Incidentally, the textile sheathing has no adverse effect on the people inside the building, who have a clear view of the outside thanks to the special structure of the textile.
Follow-up project with the "Lebendige Stadt" Foundation
In view of increasingly stringent laws on air pollution control, there is also an urgent need for action for many municipalities. ECE is therefore looking for solutions together with the "Lebendige Stadt" foundation, which it initiated, in order to further reduce the pollution in the air in urban areas. After the successful research project at the ECE corporate campus, a follow-up project of the "Lebendige Stadt" foundation will now focus on a more detailed investigation of the external effect of such a textile facade in urban areas.
Andreas Mattner, CHAIRMAN OF THE ECE SUSTAINABILITY ADVISORY BOARD
“Conducting business activities in a sustainable manner is one of ECE’s central corporate objectives. This also includes being open to new technologies. As such, we’re excited to test Germany’s first nitrogen-oxide-binding textile facade on our corporate campus and to use the pilot project to provide new insights for other locations. This would be a valuable contribution to combating climate change that begins on our own doorstep.”
Jan Serode, RWTH AACHEN
“We developed the air-purifying textile facade specifically to help protect the environment and people’s health. At the same time, we’re combining energy efficiency with an innovative facade design. We have also decided that we are also going to collect rainwater samples on the facade in order to test and scientifically verify its environmental compatibility.”