Please introduce yourself and tell us about your role within your organization.
Dr. Jan Kosny of Fraunhofer Center of Sustainable Energy Systems (CSE), Boston, MA, one of seven centers of Fraunhofer USA, a non-profit U.S. based R&D institute, a subsidiary of Fraunhofer Gesellschaft, Europe’s largest contract R&D organization. The Fraunhofer CSE accelerates the adoption of sustainable energy technologies through scientific research and engineering innovation. CSE staff’s unique expertise in solar photovoltaics, advanced thermal insulations and heat storage materials, smart energy-efficient buildings, building physics, and grid technologies provides a platform for deeply integrating distributed energy resources through collaborative R&D with private companies, government entities, and academic institutions.
Dr. Kosny leads the Buildings Enclosure and Materials Program at CSE. He has been involved with the TechConnect Conference since 2014. He started as a speaker in the Energy and Sustainability section, and during the following years he chaired the symposium on Materials for Sustainable Building.
Please tell us about your symposium entitled, “Materials for Sustainable Building” - what are the areas of greatest interest/excitement in this field, and what type of applications are possible?
In my opinion, it is a very attractive and simply an interesting part of the conference, which is really focused on the state-of-the-art building materials and systems and on their applications. This symposium is intended to show that even most advanced building materials and systems can be produced in the cost effective way using sustainable processes and utilizing low cost natural materials or waste products. Different groups of materials, systems, and building components will be discussed, including: (i) Advanced Sustainable Materials for Building Application, (ii) Thermal Insulation Materials, (3) Novel Construction Materials, (iii) Innovative Means for the Improvement of Building Energy Efficiency, Material’s Durability, and Power Consumption Reduction, (iv) Original Lighting Technologies, (v) Fenestration, (vi) Innovative Roofing Technologies and Surface Coatings, and (viii) Novel Building Integrated Solar Technologies.
What can we expect to see from innovation and applications in the next 5-10 years?
It is well-known that a cautious selection of environmentally friendly building materials is the easiest way for building designers to begin incorporating sustainable design principles in buildings. Traditionally, a price and compliance to the existing building codes have been the foremost consideration when comparing similar materials, component systems, or construction technologies designated for the same function. But, the “off-the-shelf” prices of a building components represent most often only the manufacturing and transportation costs, without taking into account the real social or environmental impact costs. These costs are paid not only by the client, but also by the building owner, building occupants, and the most important - our environment. That is why, the main goal of the symposium on Materials for Sustainable Building is to bring to the public attention the best performing building technologies, which have minimal environmental impact, and at the same time they offer great capabilities for mitigation of the overall building energy consumption and long-term building durability. It can be observed that nano-scale technologies and new production methods of nano-pore insulations can initiate in the close future a serious of technological transformations in the area of building energy conservation. At the same time, significant drop of installation cost and material cost reductions of building integrated photovoltaics can help in reaching by buildings a “Net-Zero-Energy” paradigm. It is anticipated that in the close future, variety of nanoscale technologies, both in the fabrication processes, as well and in the area of material developments will drive the environmentally friendly improvements in the area of building long-term durability, in addition to structural, thermal, and hygrothermal performance of building components.
Please tell us about the Materials for Sustainable Building symposium you chair at the TechConnect World Innovation Conference. What topics are you focusing on, who are the invited speakers?
During last years, we covered several topic areas associated with the production of sustainable building materials, heat storage, nano-insulations, and photovoltaics. In general, we plan to continue this program. This year, however, solar applications will be discussed as a part of a separate, specially focused symposium. As a result, we will have more time for presentations focused on the government programs supporting building energy efficiency. We will also introduce a new topic focused on the application of nano materials in fenestration components. Two papers prepared by the companies participating in the ARPA-e sponsored research will discuss an application of transparent aerogels to improve the overall thermal performance and durability of the single pane windows.
Is there anything else you would like to say about your program at the upcoming TechConnect World Innovation Conference?
In my opinion, there is coming pretty fast a technological revolution in the areas of thermal insulations and building envelope technologies. For years, the TechConnect World Innovation Conference has been a meeting place for a tremendous combination of R&D folks from all over the world, offering at the same time a good feel of what is changing and who is involved in these changes.
Here is also my personal perspective:
Every year I am coming to Washington DC in May to participate in the part of the Conference program which shows what is new in material science, production methods, building energy efficiency, sustainable building design, and in building integrated renewable power generation. This is a great forum for learning, for technical discussions, and simply for networking. I am 100% positive that this year’s conference will offer not less “goodies” in my area of interest. I am also looking forward for very interesting technical discussions and as every year for meeting new friends from around the world.