Piezo-Klett: Development of piezoelectric hook-and-loop application for the energy supply of active sensor technology in the building industry

The present project considers buildings, parts of buildings and their joints (component nodes) as energy generators by using the hook-and-loop fastener in combination with the piezoelectric effect to perform a so-called energy harvesting.

Short Description



Starting point / motivation

Considering the high CO2 emissions in the construction industry and the ongoing climate change, it is important to increase the resilience of buildings and cities by enhancing their adaptability, durability, energy and resource efficiency. In this context, the "Austrian Climate and Energy Strategy" and the European "Green Deal" emphasizes the circular economy and the potentials of digitalization.

A resilient building primarily requires appropriate training of the constructive interfaces from primary structure (shell) to secondary structure (extension) and the management of tertiary structures (technology). The requirements are separable joints of short-lasting and long-lasting components, ease of maintenance, accessibility and a high degree of standardisation.

In order to be able to guarantee the given requirements, a rethinking in the design and planning of the interfaces is necessary. As the exploratory study "Klett-TGA", which preceded this project, shows, the hook-and-loop fastener meets these requirements better than conventional methods.

In addition, "Klett" offers simple, clean and fast assembly processes. It creates damage-free and detachable connections and a uniform connection system that can be applied to almost all components from different suppliers. Resilience in construction also requires intelligent buildings.

Corresponding sensor technology in particular active transponders offer possibilities of predictive modelling or predictive maintenance through AI-supported analysis and processing of data. Valuable findings are provided, which further increase resilience and facilitate maintenance. However, the installation of the preferred sensors is complex due to the cabling or the service life is limited by the fixed battery.

Contents and goals

To solve this problem, the present project proposes to consider the building/building parts as energy generators and to operate a so-called "energy harvesting" by using hook-and-loop fasteners in combination with piezoelectric material. 

Based on stress and load changes occurring in buildings due to vibrations, air currents or expansion (e.g. wind loads in facades, deformations; fluctuations in high-rise buildings, load cases at construction nodes; membrane structures), energy can be generated autonomously.

From the point of view of planning and construction (engineering performance), building parts are designed and optimized for the piezo effect. The aim of the project is to use "Klett" not only for the purpose of connection but also as an energy generator, for self-sufficient supply of active sensor technology to organize accruing data with regard to predictive modeling and transmission cycles.


The interdisciplinary project encompasses the focus on building construction, joining techniques based on the hook-and-loop fastener, the piezoelectric effect as well as active sensor technology and digitalization in the building industry. The implementation is carried out by systematically structured work steps such as interdisciplinary research and analysis, the development of concepts and applications, the potential assessment and verification of selected concepts by mechanical testing methods and the final evaluation of the test results.

Expected results

The intended result is a verification of the project idea by quantifying the recoverable electrical energy depending on the application case as well as a comprehensive, interdisciplinary gain of knowledge with regard to concepts and applications in architecture and civil engineering.

Project Partners

Project management

Institute of Architecture Technology, Graz University of Technology

Project or cooperation partners

  • Laboratory for Structural Engineering, Graz University of Technology
  • Axtesys GmbH, Graz
  • NET-Automation GmbH, Zeltweg
  • Anja Lund, Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden

Contact Address

Graz University of Technology,
Institute of Architecture Technology
Univ.-Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Architekt Roger RIEWE
Rechbauerstr. 12/I
A-8010 Graz
Tel.: +43 (316) 873 6300
E-mail: riewe@tugraz.at
Web: https://www.tugraz.at/en/

Deputy project manager
Dipl.-Ing. Matthias RAUDASCHL
Tel.: +43 (316) 873 6308
E-mail: matthias.raudaschl@tugraz.at

Deputy project manager
Dipl.-Ing. Toni LEVAK
Tel.: +43 (316) 873 6307
E-mail: toni.levak@tugraz.at