First remediation of already existing homes to passive house standard with Vacuum insulated panels (VIPs)

Demonstration of the way to redevelop a home of the 19th century to passive house standard in consideration of moisture process and the use of vacuum insulation.

Short Description




With the realization of the refurbishment of an 1854 built small farmhouse to passive-house standard according to PHPP by means of vacuum insulation, the technical potentialities of the use of vacuum insulation could be demonstrated impressively in this project.

In the area of the former barn the total thickness of the walls could be limited to 34 cm using the vacuum insulation. This is about equivalent to a reduction of 25 cm compared to conventional construction methods

Instead of 30 cm External Thermal Insulation Composite Systems (ETICS) the additional necessary widening of the wall in the area of the basic house structure and in the area of the former stable could be limited to 14 cm using vacuum insulation. That's how the creating of embrasures on the existing 60 cm thick walls was prevented and the character of living inside was maintained.

The installation and the fitting of the vacuum insulation were demonstrated by different methods. The implemented methods - clamp-technique, or casting-technique, or covering-technique with ETIC-system or use of in advance produced 2-man-panel-units - are all together practical.

By means of thermal bridges simulations and by one- and two-dimensional temperature-moisture-simulations all connections in the area of the old building could be realized in a way that there will not be moisture or must. The connections have been optimized and the appropriate thermal-bridge-surcharges have been taken in the energy-calculation.

First measuring data give cause of confidence that in spite of the mounting of the steam-tight vacuum insulation there will be no damages in the structural fabric.

The facade mounted with OSB-panels is coated endoceramicly with "Thermoshield" and "Energyguard" respectively and shows no wear and tear after a 2 years lasting weather-test and research of the research centre for wooden technology "Austria" ("HFA-Holzforschung Austria"). These results and data correspond with the about 4 years lasting tests of the TB Panic itself and the information of the manufacturer, assuming a painting-interval of 20 years.


Thermal energetic refurbishment of old buildings is by far the most important contribution to an effective reduction of CO2-emissions in the Kyoto package of measures. There is the chance to bring buildings in need of refurbishment immediately to a high level of energy-efficiency and user-comfort.

In addition to the climate-political motivation the philosophy of first refurbishing old buildings, instead of building in undeveloped areas moves into centre stage. And apart from that, this about 1854 built small farmhouse with an expenditure of energy of about 387 KWh/m2a, does not meet the standard of modern living any more. Therefore a major refurbishing of building was necessary.

From the architectural point of view to minimize the thickness of the insulation, it was decided to use a vacuum insulation. In the area of the old building an additional thickness of just 14 cm is necessary to achieve passive-house standard.


Realizing this project the aims as follow could be achieved:

  • Development of a facade-system with vacuum insulation: Developing of so called 2-man-panel-units, an extremely tight, easily to build and feasible practically high insulating wall-element, could be realized with this vacuum insulation.
  • Exchangeability of VIPs (Vacuum-insulation-panels): In the areas where the VIPs were mounted mechanically, a later replacement of damaged panels was demonstrated. Therefore a supplementary, later and reasonable maintenance and servicing of the vacuum-insulation are possible.
  • Refurbishing free of moisture and must: Despite of diffusion-tight assemblies and without a moisture-proofing refurbishing of the old 60 cm thick brick walls, lasting damage-free detailed extensions and solutions have been developed.
  • Integration oft he rural structure: All existing rural structural elements, such as a table-oven, a tiled stove, a doorbell with a rope-tug, a loam-cellar and the vaults of the stable could be integrated suitable for passive-house standard into the structure of the building.
  • Lasting reasonable wooden facade: Using thermo-ceramic coating a new shaping of a facade is possible, which besides the optical variety shows a very long lasting life with a minimum of maintenance.
  • High comfort of living and high quality of the building: With a firm refurbishing to passive-house standard advantages, such as a good quality of fresh air in all rooms, an improvement of the daylight situation, a relevant better thermal comfort, a very small energy requirement and a high value of the building itself, could be reached by a lasting, long-term refurbishing with small life-cycle-costs.
  • Impact of ideal example: With another refurbishing of a very old building a concept for the future in the field of energy-efficiency and modern building has been presented, a contribution to encourage future refurbishing.

Innovative aspects

As a damp-proofing by means of conventional methods (hammering in steel sheets, drill hole injections etc.) was out of question because of economic reasons, and also an effect is not guaranteed for 100 %, the problem was to plan the details of connection in such a way, that there would be no moisture damages and that the thermal bridges are suitable for passive-house standard.

For the buildings owner it was also important that the rural, rustic infrastructure and the old brickwork was integrated within the appearance of the passive-house to further feel the origin of the building in spite of the modern appearance of the building.

For the first time the existing table-oven with its tiled stove has been integrated suitable for passive-house standard by underpinning, the same as the doorbell by its thermal separated and airtight rope-tug and as the existing loam-cellar by building over.

Four different methods of fixing, fitting and installation at one sight:

The visible brickwork has been implemented as a 2-shelled brickwork construction with a vacuum insulation between the 2 shells. Plastic rods penetrating the vacuum insulation free of thermal bridges hold the horizontal weight. On the base the visible brickwork has been thermally uncoupled and had been connected to the old structural fabric.

In the area of the light green and red facade-panels the vacuum-panels are held by clamps.

The entrance-area is carried out in ETICS construction. Right from this area the area done with 2-man-panel-units starts.

But besides the installation and fixing the exchangeability without a greater damage of the facade is an important and given aspect.

2,50 m projection, 4,80 m span, but still thermally separated. These are the key features of the balcony towards the west.

In connection with the slim wall structure this is a very lightweight construction.

The combination of OSB-panels and thermo-ceramic coating makes an extremely reasonable and durable facade. The outdoor tests give cause of confidence and it can be assumed that from the technical point of view the intervals of necessary painting are from up to 20 years.

Project Partners

Project management

Emanuel Panic

Project or cooperation partner

  • LANG consulting, Ing. Günter Lang, Wien
  • Arch. Dipl. Ing. Fürstenberger, Wien
  • Tischlerei Pachner, Peter Pachner, Grieskirchen
  • Arch. Mag. art. Christian Makowetz, Bad Wimsbach
  • Fa. Muggenhumer Franz, Ing. Th. Muggenhumer,Grieskirchen
  • Erich Kornhuber, Grieskirchen
  • Elektrotechnik plus, Christian Panic, Vorchdorf
  • Lederbauer GmbH, Franz Korntner, Eberschwang
  • K & J. Weixelbaumer, Baumeister GmbH, Ing. Scharrer, Wels
  • Porextherm Dämmstoffe GmbH, Gregor Erbenich, Kempten
  • Drexel & Weiss energieeffiziente Haustechniksysteme GmbH, Ing. Christof Drexel
  • Fraunhofer-Institut für Bauphysik IBP-Holzkirchen, DI Daniel Zirkelbach, Holzkirchen

Contact Address

Emanuel Panic
Blindenmarkt 7
A-4600 Schleißheim b. Wels
Tel.: +43 (7242) 206996
Fax: +43 (7242) 908190