Pre-validation of the RenoZEB modular façade in the KUBIK test Infrastructure (Bilbao, Spain)

The RenoZEB project aims to unlock the nZEB renovation market through a new systemic approach to retrofitting that includes innovative components, and processes and decision-making methodologies for the nZEB building renovation process.

As part of this mission, an innovative plug-and-play modular façade has been designed and will be validated within the project through two pilot renovation projects in the cities of Durango (Spain) and Voru (Estonia).

Transitioning from development to real use and down the line commercialisation of façade solutions such as the one designed in RenoZEB, tends to take significant time. Furthermore, trying to accelerate this process may imply undertaking considerable risks. To minimise these risks and accelerate the process from prototypes to ready-to-use innovative façade solutions the RenoZEB project includes a pre-validation phase. In this phase, partial developments or complete active/passive systems can be put to real-use in a safe and highly monitored environment. This early-testing is able to quickly give rich feedback to the designers about their solutions, allowing them to correct and fine-tune their products, before their final validation in the demonstration buildings.

This pre-validation phase of the façade elements has been realised in KUBIK, the test-infrastructure managed by TECNALIA Research & Innovation in Bilbao, Spain. KUBIK is the first digital twin of a building in Spain. Static and dynamic information obtained automatically and based on BIM models enables performance assessments of innovative products and technologies. The RenoZEB façade modules, manufactured by FOCCHI, were delivered in late November 2019 and installed over two floors of the west façade of KUBIK.


The first floor integrates a smart window developed by Beck+Heun that will lead to lighting and advance controls testing of the window-shutter. The second floor is opaque. A detailed sensor infrastructure is in place to assess the performance of the façade. Surface temperature and humidity sensors have been embedded in the different layers of the façade modules. Furthermore, air and surface temperature and humidity sensors, as well as heat flux meters will monitor environmental variables in the indoor spaces adjacent to the new façade installed. A measurement campaign over the next months will obtain the data needed to assess the performance of the façade in real-use conditions.

The pre-validation of one of the key features of the RenoZEB modular façade, its plug-and-play attribute, was tested with a successful result. The two floors of façade, approximately 20 m2 were installed in less than 8 uninterrupted hours. The process was documented in detail to suggest potential improvements for the final design and to inform pilot partners of the project.

You can watch the installation time-lapse video here.


Written by Ignacio Torrens (Tecnalia)


Contact information

Project coordinator:

Solintel, Spain
Michele Vavallo