Materials & tech

wood. sun. dry.

InnovHousing uses a dry construction system, which means that no water is used during the building stages, differently from traditional materials such as concrete and bricks that require on average 2t of water for 1t of concrete. The use of water, so essential for concrete, also leads to longer construction times; every pouring of reinforced concrete takes time for formwork, reinforcement and the hardening process; there are no such times with dry construction. 
The materials used in the InnovHousing system are designed to collaborate with each other. Such collaboration covers both performance and assembly technology. By way of example, the internal and external CLT coatings contribute their physical characteristics to forming the overall insulation value for internal and external temperature.  At the same time synergies in each product’s engineering process facilitate assembly and reduce times.  

Gypsum fibre board panels comprise just two natural components: gypsum and cellulose fibre from selected recycled shredded paper. The production process mixes these two components with water (no binding agents); when gypsum contacts water it reacts (calcination), adhering to the cellulose fibres and penetrating them.

Sealed unit windows are made up of double or triple panes of glass between which is inserted an aluminium spacer to create an air-filled gap, which lowers the level of thermal transmittance.

Exterior insulation and finishing is a system that provides thermal and sound proofing for the walls of buildings by applying insulation material to the walls.

CLT is an industrial material designed for structural use. It is made up of wood from sustainably managed forests, with a short production chain and processing with low energy consumption. It is used not only for building structures, but also to considerably reduce thermal transmittance and therefore the building’s energy requirements.

Gli elementi attivi


Active elements consist of the mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems that work independently to provide energy or further reductions in energy consumption as a consequence of their installation.

Solar heating system

Solar heating systems are used to capture solar energy, store it and use it in many different ways, particularly to heat running water in the place of methane fuelled boilers.
Solar panels are at the base of the technology involved. A heat-carrying fluid flows through the collectors and is channelled into a solar circuit that takes it to an accumulator. The purpose of the accumulator is to store as much thermal energy as possible so that it can be used when needed.
Domestic solar heating systems comprise:
1- collectors to absorb the heat generated by the sun and distribute it to a fluid
2- heat-transfer fluid that takes heat from the collector for its use or storage
3- heat exchangers to transfer heat from the fluid to the domestic water supply
4- pumps to transfer the fluid through the collector and/or heat exchanger
5- sensors to switch on the pumps when heat is available.
The main advantage lies in consuming less energy than is necessary to activate a boiler for hot water. It is calculated that the installation of a solar heating system can generate savings (for a family of four) equal to approx. 3000 kWh/p.a. and avoid releasing approx. 2 tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere.

Photovoltaic electricity generating system

A typical photovoltaic system uses solar panels, each comprising a number of solar cells that generate electricity. The first step is the photoelectric effect, followed by an electro-chemical procedure in which crystallised atoms, ionised in series, generate electrical current.
South Africa has the advantage that it is one of the sunniest countries in the world, with an average of over 2,500 hours of sunshine a year. To be able to capture and capitalise such free, clean energy could avoid wasting energy for the present and future generations.
PV installations can be mounted on land, roofs or walls. In our case they will be installed on the roof, after being orientated in the optimum position. The roof will also be designed with ad hoc slope to maximise the efficiency of the photovoltaic panels and avoid creating shade. The latest generation PV panels have been selected for a prototype that will take into account the aesthetic aspect of the roofing and thickness of the PV panel.
As with solar panels, the main advantage is energy saving and no CO2 released into the atmosphere. The average sun radiation in South Africa can guarantee the production of 1,700 kWh/p.a. per 1kWh of power, giving annual savings of approx. US$ 600/p.a. per 4kWh of power installed.

LED illumination system

The use of LED lamps instead of incandescent light bulbs leads to consumption reduced by 65% to 70% and this means that about 80% of electricity is converted into light, whereas traditional light bulbs have an energy efficiency of 20%, given that 80% of the electricity is dispersed as heat.
Regarding duration, the estimated loss of luminosity in LEDs after 100 thousand hours of use is 30%, but the remaining 70% of light emission is maintained for a further 50 thousand hours. The difference is considerable compared to the duration of traditional light bulbs; the average life of a filament lamp is approximately 1000/1500 hours, of a fluorescent one around 6000 hours, and for discharge ones about 4000 hours. 
LED lamps are environmentally friendly; they do not contain harmful gas or toxic substances, whereas traditional ones are loaded with metal halides and sodium vapours. LED lamps do not release ultraviolet rays and therefore do not damage or fade fabrics.

Water recycling system

A water recycling system is of fundamental importance in South Africa, considering the low average rate of rainfall and its intensity during the rainy season (winter).
Two cisterns are sunk into the ground to achieve an efficient water recycling system. The first collects rainwater from guttering, whereas the second collects rainwater from the ground. The latter occupies a larger space in the garden (usually 3x3m) with a metal grille placed over a layer of gravel and a sealed cistern below. In some cases a recycling system can be provided for grey water. An efficient storage and filtering system can meet basic needs adequately.