News Ventilated facade, an extra layer of protection and efficiency In the last few years, ventilated façade systems have been gaining ground both in new construction and in the renovation of buildings, giving rise to surprising results that completely change the image of already deteriorated buildings. Its popularity is due to the fact that, with this type of system, the energy efficiency of buildings is improved in a very high percentage, which results in greater comfort for the tenants. Their ease of maintenance, low cost and durability are some of their advantages when used in new construction. In addition, the high malleability of some of the materials used allows for the construction of risky and eye-catching designs without compromising the structure of the building or its energy performance. Ventilated facade system The ventilated facade is an enclosure system that allows an insulating layer and an outer leaf to be placed on top of an inner leaf by means of a supporting structure. The separation distance between the layers allows a current of air to pass between the insulation and the coating, generating a “chimney effect” that creates natural ventilation. This effect, through heat transfer by convection, makes the ventilated facade warm in summer and circulates the air inside the chamber, replacing the warm air with colder air. On the other hand, during the winter months the air in the chamber is heated, but not enough to circulate and renew itself. Parts of a ventilated facade As we have mentioned, ventilated facades are made up of several layers and parts differentiated from each other, as each one fulfils a specific function: Anchors A series of pieces, the spacers, are anchored on the interior leaf and will be responsible for solving the problems of the collapse of the façade. As an option, insulating shims can be added for the breakage of the thermal bridge. The profiles are screwed onto these spacers, on which the support assemblies will be installed, with the function of adjusting the height according to the material to be used on the outer leaf. In the case of the STACBOND assembly systems, the aluminium composite panel trays will be placed on the anchors according to the system used. Insulating layer In ventilated facade systems, an insulating layer is not always used, but if added, it considerably improves the thermal and acoustic insulation of the building. As the insulating layer occupies the entire façade, it contributes to improving the whole of the enclosure, as it protects the areas most vulnerable to leaks, such as windows, shutter boxes, floors, etc. As we see in the entries on thermal insulation and thermal resistance, there are numerous materials on the market that are used for thermal insulation. In the case of ventilated facades, mineral wools are usually the most common materials External leaf The function of the external leaf is to physically separate the interior and exterior environments of the building. It can be made of various materials, as we shall see below, and it is the layer that is responsible for the chimney effect. This sheet is composed of different pieces separated from each other, to allow the flow of air and avoid the problems of expansion, thus contributing to increasing the life of the product. The existence of this leaf also protects the original facade, in the case of renovation, or the load-bearing one, in the case of new construction, against the entry of humidity and condensation. Crowning The crown is the piece that is placed on top of the ventilated facade. It is used to prevent water from entering, but at the same time leaving enough space for proper ventilation. In the case of the aluminium composite panel and depending on the system, the crown can be made with the material itself instead of an external piece. Materials for external leaf The growing popularity of the use of the ventilated facade as a building envelope option has led to different solutions appearing on the market, ranging from composites to wood or ceramics. Aluminium composite panel It is a material composed of two aluminium sheets and an inner core of thermoplastic base and mineral charge. It has excellent mechanical properties, providing surface flatness, durability and ease of maintenance. Its properties include: Dimensional stability, which allows the material to be sized without deformationQuick and easy to install thanks to the various assembly systemsWide range of finishesDurability and resistance to corrosion and wearLightness, thanks to the low density of aluminium Wood Wooden panels for ventilated facades consist of a laminated board made up of compressed and treated fibres and a natural wood veneer. The plate is treated with a coating that protects it from UV radiation and other atmospheric agents and protects it from fire Steel Stainless steel is also one of the common materials in ventilated facades. Its resistance to corrosion, its insulating capacities, as well as its low maintenance are some of the advantages it offers. In addition, its malleability makes it possible to build structures with a high degree of curvature and polish. The great disadvantage of the material is, without a doubt, its high price. Stone The use of natural stone for ventilated facades is quite popular and is often used, above all, for renovation work. It is a non-flammable and thermally insulating material, as well as having great durability and a pleasant aesthetic impact. Ceramic The ceramic coating is one of the most popular and used. It is a material that is easy to lay and replace in the event of breakage and is an excellent acoustic insulator, as well as requiring little maintenance. Advantages of the ventilated facade The fact that the installation of ventilated facades has become such a popular resource in the construction world is based on its many advantages. As we will see below, this system helps to overcome the most common problems of old or poorly insulated houses. Energy Saving The ventilated façade, as we have seen above, allows significant energy savings in the building thanks to the chimney effect it generates, which results in less heat absorption in the hot months and less dispersion in the cold ones. But, in addition, the ventilated facade system: Reduces thermal jumps Avoids humidity No interior interstitial and surface condensation Avoids thermal bridges Lightens the envelope Maintenance Generally, and due to the layer of material used in the outer leaf of the ventilated facade, its maintenance is simple. Ligereza estructural El cerramiento exterior, al ir anclado a la fachada, puede permitirse trabajar con materiales muy ligeros, como el aluminio, que no suponen un esfuerzo extra al edificio en comparación con las funciones que aporta. La ligereza de la estructura hace que el material sea sencillo de transportar, instalar y mantener en el tiempo, haciendo sencilla incluso su sustitución en caso de rotura. Con este último punto damos por rematado este artículo sobre el sistema de fachada ventilada. Si es un tema que te interesa y quieres profundizar más en él, aquí encontrarás un manual básico sobre el sistema, materiales e información más técnica.