The construction industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by an increased focus on environmental sustainability and workplace safety, and growing importance of technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and AI. In the last three years alone, there have been over 425,000 patents filed and granted in the construction industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Environmental sustainability in construction: facade insulation. Buy the report here.

Smarter leaders trust GlobalData

However, not all innovations are equal and nor do they follow a constant upward trend. Instead, their evolution takes the form of an S-shaped curve that reflects their typical lifecycle from early emergence to accelerating adoption, before finally stabilizing and reaching maturity.

Identifying where a particular innovation is on this journey, especially those that are in the emerging and accelerating stages, is essential for understanding their current level of adoption and the likely future trajectory and impact they will have.

80+ innovations will shape the construction industry

According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which plots the S-curve for the construction industry using innovation intensity models built on over 232,000 patents, there are 80+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Within the emerging innovation stage, self-healing concrete, atmospheric water harvesting, and recycled concrete fillers are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Vacuum insulated glazing (VIG), eco-friendly HVACs and recycled waste-based cements are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas is wall surface temperature controls, which is now well established in the industry.

Innovation S-curve for environmental sustainability in the construction industry

Facade insulation is a key innovation area in environmental sustainability

Façade insulation, also known as external wall insulation (EWI), is an indispensable construction method that significantly improves building energy efficiency and sustainability. Acting as a protective layer, it reduces heat loss, leading to substantial cost savings, while enhancing thermal performance for occupant comfort. Beyond energy efficiency, it mitigates environmental impact by lowering carbon emissions, contributes to building durability by preventing moisture damage, and offers benefits such as soundproofing and architectural flexibility. Recognized in building regulations, it aligns with sustainability standards and plays a pivotal role in modernizing existing structures. Continuous advancements in insulation materials and integration with automation systems underscore its evolving role in shaping the future of sustainable and energy-efficient buildings.

GlobalData’s analysis also uncovers the companies at the forefront of each innovation area and assesses the potential reach and impact of their patenting activity across different applications and geographies. According to GlobalData, there are 220+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established construction companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of facade insulation.

Key players in facade insulation – a disruptive innovation in the construction industry

‘Application diversity’ measures the number of applications identified for each patent. It broadly splits companies into either ‘niche’ or ‘diversified’ innovators.  

‘Geographic reach’ refers to the number of countries each patent is registered in. It reflects the breadth of geographic application intended, ranging from ‘global’ to ‘local’. 

Patent volumes related to facade insulation

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Compagnie de Saint-Gobain 124 Unlock Company Profile
Valinge Innovation 122 Unlock Company Profile
Gebr Knauf 117 Unlock Company Profile
Fujifilm 74 Unlock Company Profile
Armstrong World Industries 57 Unlock Company Profile
Aspen Aerogels 45 Unlock Company Profile
LG 27 Unlock Company Profile
Mitsubishi Chemical Group 26 Unlock Company Profile
Sto 26 Unlock Company Profile
Rockwool International 26 Unlock Company Profile
CertainTeed Gypsum 25 Unlock Company Profile
China State Construction Engineering 24 Unlock Company Profile
Tenneco 23 Unlock Company Profile
Framery 17 Unlock Company Profile
Berkshire Hathaway 16 Unlock Company Profile
Yamaha 16 Unlock Company Profile
RAG-Stiftung 15 Unlock Company Profile
Pacific Coast Building Products 15 Unlock Company Profile
State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council 15 Unlock Company Profile
Precision Fabrics Group 15 Unlock Company Profile
Corning 14 Unlock Company Profile
3M 14 Unlock Company Profile
Endurance RP 13 Unlock Company Profile
Suzhou Gold Mantis Construction Decoration 13 Unlock Company Profile
BASF 12 Unlock Company Profile
Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics 12 Unlock Company Profile
James Hardie Industries 11 Unlock Company Profile
Ashtech Industries 11 Unlock Company Profile
POSCO 10 Unlock Company Profile
Dow 10 Unlock Company Profile
Sika 9 Unlock Company Profile
Signify 9 Unlock Company Profile
CKM Applied Materials 9 Unlock Company Profile
Metallurgical Corporation of China 8 Unlock Company Profile
KGIC Merger 8 Unlock Company Profile
General Electric 8 Unlock Company Profile
China Railway Design 8 Unlock Company Profile
National Gypsum Properties 7 Unlock Company Profile
Pixie Dust Technologies 7 Unlock Company Profile
Koch Industries 7 Unlock Company Profile
Sekisui Chemical 7 Unlock Company Profile
Sekisui House 7 Unlock Company Profile
Swiss Krono 7 Unlock Company Profile
Hexcel 7 Unlock Company Profile
Kronoplus Technical 6 Unlock Company Profile
State Grid Corporation of China 6 Unlock Company Profile
Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics 6 Unlock Company Profile
Clarus 6 Unlock Company Profile
Standard Industries 6 Unlock Company Profile
Centre National Research Scientific 5 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Compagnie de Saint-Gobain, Valinge Innovation and Gebr Knauf are the top three leading patent filiers for facade insulation in the construction sector.

Valinge Innovation secured a patent in October 2023 for an advanced wood-based board manufacturing method. This innovative process involves applying a first fiber mat with lignocellulosic particles and a binder onto a carrier, followed by the application of a second fiber mat with cellulosic particles and a binder. The key breakthrough lies in the simultaneous pressing of these mats, resulting in a wood-based board with distinct base and surface layers. This patented method offers a customizable solution for facade insulation, enabling the application of layers with varying thicknesses. Valinge's innovation marks a significant leap in wood-based board manufacturing, providing architects and builders with unparalleled flexibility and precision in facade insulation design.

In terms of application diversity, Dow, CertainTeed Gypsum, and General Electric have the widest range of patent applications. By means of geographic reach, Valinge Innovation, Aspen Aerogels and Tenneco are the most widely spread.

In September 2023, Aspen Aerogels achieved a significant milestone with the grant of a patent for its groundbreaking invention in the realm of insulating composite materials. This pioneering innovation integrates an inorganic aerogel with a melamine foam, introducing a novel synergy that enhances insulation capabilities. The patent extends to the intricate production method employed to create these composite materials, showcasing Aspen Aerogels' commitment to advancing the field of insulation technology.

The insulating composite materials developed by Aspen Aerogels, as outlined in the patent, open up new avenues for applications across various industries. The strategic combination of an inorganic aerogel and melamine foam not only improves thermal insulation, but also brings added benefits in terms of durability, flexibility, and fire resistance.

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the construction industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) in Construction.

Premium Insights


The gold standard of business intelligence.

Blending expert knowledge with cutting-edge technology, GlobalData’s unrivalled proprietary data will enable you to decode what’s happening in your market. You can make better informed decisions and gain a future-proof advantage over your competitors.


GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData’s Patent Analytics tracks patent filings and grants from official offices around the world. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.