Tartu’s apartment building gets a test touch-up thanks to innovative building panels

Feb 17, 2023

As part of an oPEN Lab project, three buildings in Tartu’s Annelinn neighbourhood will have prefabricated facade panels installed on the wall, enabling the conversion of an old building into a near-zero energy house. On February 14, the installation of the test panels to the side wall took place, and the panels will stay there for a year.

Displaying test panels is an excellent opportunity for local residents to further familiarise themselves with the project. On the installation day, there was a lot of positive excitement – people came up and asked questions. Additionally, there was significant media interest – for example, by the Tartu Postimees and Reporter.

Credits: Gerli Alasoo

Renovating such tall (9-storey) buildings with prefabricated panels has never been done before in Estonia, so the solution will be tested on one wall first. The prototype will be used to study the facade panels’ installation, performance and sealing. The panels are made in three solutions: different insulation thicknesses, wind barriers, and air and vapour barriers. Different facade cladding materials are also used: cement fibre board, board lining and two types of solar panels from two different companies. 

Sensors have been installed to study the heat and humidity of the wall. The information is used to learn about the thermal and moisture regimes and calibrate the calculation model. The data collected will be used to investigate which solution transmits less heat and which combination is the most humidity resistant. 

Renovation with panels will help to solve the challenges of insulating a typical panel building in the Annelinn. The complete renovation will help residents to save significantly on heating costs and is a significant step towards climate neutrality in Tartu.

Panel installation day in the media:

Tartu Postimees: “A Soviet-era house …”

Reporter: “Tartu starts renovating …”

Photos: www.tartu.ee