Building momentum from innovation

BAU 2009 in Munich served as a platform for Wicona's newest ideas - and the response remains strong. This is important for the aluminium systems brand and the Hydro group, which wants to be the driver for leading innovations in the building industry.

Hydro operates some of the world's finest aluminium building systems brands, including Domal, Technal and Wicona. The latter two took part in BAU.

In addition to the modular principle of Wicona Unisys, design characteristics and the related product offer containing windows, doors, sliders and facades, Hydro presented products from Technal to the professional audience. Project service solutions from Wicona were also featured at the company stand.

Werner Jäger, who is head of technology for Hydro's aluminium building systems unit, says the reception to the ideas and innovations was so positive that it has provided an inspirational boost to the organization.

In Munich, Hydro unveiled its ideas for integrating photovoltaic modules into curtain walls, sun shading systems and as wall cladding.

Included in the presentation was a software tool that simulates the impact of photovoltaic and shading devices, for example, comparisons between heating and cooling energy demands and the amount of solar energy gained from the installation of photovoltaic modules. Other innovations included:

  • The Toggle System. A cost-effective and fast installation alternative for structural sealant glazing systems, the toggle system is also applicable in other areas, such as wall cladding systems.
  • The Adhesive Tape Alternative. A cost-effective alternative to the structural sealant glazing systems that are mainly in use today. The new solution, ready for EU approval, can create savings as high as 50 percent.
  • TOP Window. The main advantages of this "breathing façade" are its ability to adjust the passive solar gains and therefore minimize overheating of glazed facades.
  • WOW Window. This concept window intends to start a new discussion of what can be achieved with window systems. One of the principles allows the exterior window unit to follow the sun path during the day, to maximize daylight use in buildings.

At BAU, Hydro arranged an IT seminar to present its building systems-dedicated IT solutions for the future. The main idea behind the software package is to give all relevant stakeholders - architects, engineering offices, metal builders - the same base to design green buildings.

"The key to achieving low or zero energy-using buildings is the early interaction of all stakeholders, all using the same base for simulation, estimation, design, offer and ordering," says Jäger, explaining that Hydro's solution provides the fastest access to all relevant data.

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