The Story

Economical and responsible use of natural resources is one of the most important tasks of our time. This premise was key at the beginning of the development of the timber unitised curtain wall system HMEF 2020 by Schindler Fenster + Fassaden GmbH (Schindler). The development of the HMEF 2020 took several years of planning and development from inception to create the system with its now verified environmental benefits.

The interaction of wood and aluminium results in an ideal solution for glass façades from an ecological point of view. Additionally, due to the statically effective connection of the materials, high-strength façade elements are created, which allow for identical, or slimmer, component depths compared to conventional unitised aluminium façades. At the same time, by using timber, a renewable and highly viable building material, it contributes to significantly improving the carbon footprint of the façade.

By using wood in the area of the inner mullions and transoms in the HMEF 2020 system, a 50-70% reduction in the aluminium content in the façade is possible. When compared to conventional floor-to-ceiling aluminium unitised façades, their timber system reduces the global warming potential (GWP) of the production phase (A1-A3) from approximately 250 kgCO2e to 100 kgCO2e.

Schindler’s prefabrication operations were also adjusted to minimise the carbon emissions of the system, by incorporating more efficient processes. Additional advantages of prefabrication also provide for better cost control, and reduced installation time on site.

Schindler have now produced a product-specific environmental product declaration (EPD) for their timber unitised curtain wall system which confirms the GWP of the system. The EPD was prepared in accordance with EN ISO 14025:2011 and DIN EN 15804:2012. Their timber system and product-specific EPD can be used in life-cycle assessment to positively influence project sustainability aspirations, including LEED or BREEAM certifications.

A non-combustible spandrel panel detail is available and has been confirmed as satisfying the UK Building Regulations with respect to the fire requirements,

Schindler are in the process of implementing this system on two new projects. One located in the UK and the other in Central Europe. Both of which are in the planning phase of the project.


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