The SB&WRC project is supported by the European program Interreg VA France (Channel) England and receives financial support from the ERDF.

The SB&WRC project aims at designing and producing 3 prototypes of thermal insulant for buildings, made from biobased and waste-based raw materials.

These 3 prototypes will be produced respectively from agriculural coproducts (rapeseed and corn stems, with elements from pith), textile waste and terracotta waste, and wheat straw. Their carbon footprint will be at least 25% lower than that of standard insulants (neither biobased nor wastebased) on the market (such as glass wool and rock wool). In doing so, the project aims at proposing new solutions which allow, by exploiting waste and agricultural coproducts from the area, both to reduce CO2 emissions and to preserve natural resources such as construction minerals used in the production of the most widespread insulants such as glass wool and rock wool (global demand for construction minerals tripled between 1980 and 2010 [OECD, Material resources, Productivity and the Environment, 2015]).

The project also aims at raising French and English construction stakeholders' awareness of the advantages of these materials in order to encourage them to further develop the prototypes and commercialise them after the end of the project, and so as to accelerate the uptake of these types of insulants more genrally. For that purpose, professionals will be associated with the project during the project launching and closing events, during the stages of design (3 partners-professionals workshops) and operational deployment of prototypes (4 events on pilot sites), and through 4 conferences, a permanent online community, as well as an online survey.

The originality of the project notably lies in its methodology: designing prototypes based on the existence of common, widely available, and under-exploited waste and agricultural coproducts over the area. In this sense, the project is directly rooted in a logic of cross-boarder cooperation.

This logic is also supported by the need to gather the full range of rare skills / technical equipment (valorisation of agricultural coproducts, valorisation of waste / Waste House, Building Research Park, climatic chamber, etc.) 3 indispensable for the success of the project, and for reaching a critical mass of stakeholders allowing to influence market trends.

The SB&WRC project will address challenge n°1 and n°2 of the Programme area through a new collaboration between 4 universities, 2 associations, one small business, and one global corporation, in the framework of an R&D initiative in the field of energy efficiency in buildings. The project will also address challenges n°4 and n°5 by working towards the enhancement of energy efficiency in a context of limited resources by mobilising underexploited renewable resources (notably agricultural resources).

The SB&WRC project partners


Nomadéis will ensure the administrative/financial management, coordination and communication of the project (WP1-2), will participate the prototype design process (WP3), and will support partners in WP4-5-6 (formalisation of deliverables, logistical support, prototype deployment/assessment). WP7: strategic analyses, awareness raising among professionals and results dissemination conferences. The project is at the crossroads of Nomadéis's 4 areas of expertise:

  • Green industries
  • Local sustainable development
  • New economic models (e.g. circular economy)
  • Social and environmental responsibility of organisations

Since 2013, Nomadeis has completed 30+ projects related to sustainable construction, bio-based materials, and energy efficiency in buildings:

  • Assistance for the completion of the regional energy efficiency programme in PACA-2016
  • Support of the Regional Environment Directorate of Limousin to elaborate/implement a support plan for biobased construction industries - 2014
  • Study: perceptions, practices and expectations of independent construction workers regarding biobased construction materials in France (9 regions)-2013


A global expert of recycling and waste valorisation, Veolia is committed to the preservation of natural resources, as well as to the reutilisation, reuse, and recycling of waste. Veolia collects, processes and valorises millions of tonnes of waste each year within cycles of consumption as well as production. Veolia Propreté Nord Normandie (VPNN) will share its expertise in order to contribute to the identification, the quantification and the mapping of waste flux and stocks relevant to the project. VPNN will share its expertise regarding the legal requirements relating to waste valorisation, and will share its experience of waste valorisation for the design of the prototypes during the partners-professionals workshops. Besides, VPNN will mobilise its networks within the eligible area in order to assist partners in the sourcing of waste raw materials (agricultural coproducts, textile waste, terracotta waste). VPNN will also contribute to sampling and testing these raw materials, will suggest potential pilot construction sites in addition to those already identified by the partners (Beauvais, Swindon, Brighton), and will participate in the economic analysis of the prototypes. Also, VPNN will provide a venue within the group's headquarters in Paris for 2 steering committees and the project closing event.

University of Bath

UBath will participate in the design of the 3 prototypes, conduct tests on all 3 prototypes (WP4-5-6), participate in their operational deployment, as well as in the dissemination of project results (WP7). UBath will host the project lauching event, a steering committee and the workshop for the design of prototype 3.

The research work will be carried out by the BRE Centre for Innovative Construction Materials (BRE CICM), a partnership between the Building Research Establishment (BRE) and the Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering, UBath, whose R&D and consultancy focus is on innovative and sustainable construction materials. The centre’s research income over past years has been €15M, with work supported by FP7, Horizon 2020, EASME, UK research funding, and industrial partnerships. BRE CICM has very well equipped and technician supported laboratories for construction materials research. It operates the Building Research Park and HIVE outdoor test facilities in Wroughton, Swindon. Pr Walker, Director of the BRE CICM, will be the Principal Investigator for the project, supported by Dr Daniel Maskell, a University Prize Fellow, as project Co-Investigator. Prof. Walker has coordinated/participated in FP7, H2020 and EASME projects. UBath will employ a full-time postdoc researcher for the project, and a part-time administrative officer. UBath’s Research & Innovation services have a highly experienced project and financial management team coordinating several EU projects.

Ecole Supérieure d'Ingénieur des travaux de la construction de Caen (ESITC)

Within the SB&WRC project, ESITC Caen will participate in the design of the 3 prototypes WP3) and to the development of prototypes 2 (WP5) and 3 (WP6) as co-leader. ESITC Caen will conduct technical tests on prototype 2 (WP5), participate in the operational deployment of prototypes 2 and 3 (WP5-6) and in their environmental impact assessment (WP5-6), as well as in result dissemination activities with construction professionals (WP7). ESITC Caen will also participate in project management activities (steering committees, progress reports, etc.), as every other partner.

ESITC Caen's research laboratory develops R&D partnerships with companies and organisations of the construction and public works industry in the fields of sustainable construction and eco-friendly materials. Through its 4 areas of speciality (materials’ engineering, environmental geotechnics, energy and environment, maritime infrastructures), the laboratory supports companies during collaborative missions or projects on eco-friendly construction materials:

  • Specifications of materials;
  • Composition of concrete and other construction materials;
  • Valorisation and recycling of industrial and agricultural co-products;
  • Environmental impact assessment.

ESITC Caen has participated in various collaborative projects (SETARMS, VECOP, RECIF, etc.) aimed to determine the optimal composition of materials so as to answer specific mechanical and environmental performance criteria.


Within the project, Construction21 (C21) will be co-leader of communication (WP2), notably via the elaboration and deployment of a media kit aimed at ensuring effective communication about the project. C21 will share its knowledge of the construction sector and its network for the design of the prototypes (WP3) and to associate professionals at various stages of the project (e.g. A3.5, A7.3, etc.), particularly for the dissemination of results (WP7: conferences, online permanent community dedicated to the project for French and English professionals, production of video contents, etc).

C21 has been developing since 2011 a social medium dedicated to the greening of the construction sector. Initiated thanks to an EU project with 6 countries (IEE - 2011-2013), the portal now gathers 11 platforms in Europe and in the Maghreb, and aims at developing worldwide. C21 has a dual expertise:

  • 1-Sustainable construction thanks to excellent connections with professionals on the ground. C21 France gathers 80 members, both non-profit organisations and businesses.
  • 2-Communication/Web : experts of social networks, organisation of conferences, conduction of press campaigns and direct marketing.

Our international competition, the Green Building Solutions Awards, brings to light every year 100+ buildings able to inspire professionals. Our online communities enable professionals to enrich their watch (e.g. urban biodiversity, wood-based construction, LCA, bio-based buildings) and to share insights.

Institut Polytechnique Lasalle Beauvais - ESITPA

UniLaSalle will be responsible for WP4 related to prototype 1, a thermal insulant made from agricultural coproducts (rapeseed and corn stems, potentially elements from their pith, wheat, etc.) and agroresources. UniLaSalle will coordinate the design of prototype 1 and will participate in that of prototype 3, also made from agricultural coproducts (notably wheat straw). UniLaSalle will be involved in the design of all 3 prototypes through its participation in the 3 workshops of activity 3.5 (UniLaSalle will host one of those in Rouen). UniLaSalle will be involved in WP4, WP5 and WP6 during the environmental assessment of the materials (biodegradability tests), as well as in WP7 for the dissemination of results.

UniLaSsalle will rely on its research unit in territorial agroecology (Agri'Terr - labelled UP MAAF 2012. 10.100) where a team works on the valorisation of coproducts and agroresources in order to create biobased materials for various uses, including construction. This team's work includes a fundamental research aspect - understanding structure-properties relationships within the developed materials - as well as an applied dimension through partnerships with industrial stakeholders. UniLaSalle's project team will rely on its know-how in the elaboration of insulants made from agricultural coproducts in order to develop prototype 1.

University of Brighton

In 2008 the UOB team designed and delivered the UK's first A+ EPC Rated dwelling. It was also the first contemporary building in Europe made from 90%+ organic, replenishable materials. In 2014 UOB team delivered Europe's first permanent building made of 90% waste material. The Waste House is an ongoing 'live' research project that is constantly digitally monitored for material and environmental performance. It is adaptable and will provide a 'live laboratory' for this project. UOB team has over 25 years experience in material design, innovation and development including international material brands ICI, Eastmen, Mitsubishi, plus working within waste industry (industrial & civic) in UK & Europe, including organisations such as Veolia Foundation, Vision Aid Overseas, The Body Shop, Marks & Spencer, The Utopia Foundation, exploring how to utilise waste to increase public awareness, social value and ecology. Members of the UOB team are currently advising UK government infrastructure project 'High Speed 2' on resource management & waste material flows.

Alliance for Sustainable Building Products (ASBP)

The ASBP will be co-leader for communication (WP2), notably via the elaboration and deployment of a media kit aimed at ensuring effective communication about the project. The ASBP will share its knowledge of the construction sector for the design of the prototypes (WP3) and in order to associate professionals at various stages of the project (e.g. A3.5, A7.3), particularly for the dissemination of results (WP7: conferences, newsletter, video contents, etc.).

The ASBP, a cross sector, not for profit organisation, gathers manufacturers, distributors, specifiers, designers, contractors, sustainability organisations, academics and other building practitioners. Its mission is to accelerate the transition to a performant, healthy and low carbon built environment, by championing the increased understanding and use of sustainable building products. These will assist in delivering performant (health and carbon) buildings as well as sustainable economic and social development, while highlighting the relationship between people, buildings and nature.

The ASBP acts as a knowledge exchange platform, with monthly newsletters and regular popular events (health and wellbeing, circular economy, responsible sourcing and product innovation). The ASBP has 50 members including Skanska UK and Wienerberger as well as smaller manufacturers (e.g. Thermafleece, Clayworks). The Executive Chair of the ASBP, Gary Newman, has 20 years of experience in developing new bio-based products.


Last updated on the 10-07-2018 by Sylvain Bosquet


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