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 Net Zero. 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 Innovation in construction: facade insulation. Buy the report here.

Smarter leaders trust GlobalData


Premium Insights Innovation in construction: façade insulation

Buy the Report

Premium Insights

The gold standard of business intelligence.

Find out more

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, waterproof floor drains, and construction 3D printing are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Smart glazing, regeneration control hydraulics, and floating breakwaters are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are wall surface temperature controls and embossed floor panels, which are now well established in the industry.

Innovation S-curve for the construction industry

Facade insulation is a key innovation area in construction

Facade 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 is the leading patent filer in façade insulation in the construction sector. In September 2023, a subsidiary of Compagnie de Saint-Gobain was granted a patent application for a building material innovation. The invention pertains to a facade insulating system featuring an insulation panel made of thermal insulation material and an outer panel. When connected to a building wall, this system forms air channels between the insulation panel and the outer panel. The insulation panel incorporates protrusions on its second surface, designed to abut the outer panel, facilitating the creation of air channels upon installation. The fastening devices connecting the outer panel and insulation panel to the building wall include a distancing section with two bracket sections. One bracket section serves as a contact surface against the insulation panel, while the other defines a contact surface against the inner surface of the outer panel, establishing a distance equivalent to the height of the protrusions. This should improve the facade insulation.

Valinge Innovation and Gebr Knauf are some of the other prominent patent filers in this space.

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, Dow was granted a patent for external thermal insulation composite systems, including a concrete or masonry wall and a multilayer thermal insulation board disposed on the concrete or masonry wall. The multilayer thermal insulation board includes at least one closed cell foam layer comprising polyurethane and polyisocyanurate having an open cell volume of less than 20% by volume and at least one open cell foam layer comprising polyurethane and polyisocyanurate having an open cell volume of greater than 80% by volume.

In September 2023, Dow secured a patent for innovative External Thermal Insulation Composite Systems (ETICS). These systems are designed to enhance the thermal performance of structures and involve a concrete or masonry wall integrated with a sophisticated multilayer thermal insulation board.

The multilayer insulation board is a key component, featuring a combination of layers. Notably, it incorporates at least one closed-cell foam layer, meticulously crafted from a blend of polyurethane and polyisocyanurate. This closed-cell layer is characterized by an impressively low open cell volume, measuring less than 20% by volume.

In addition, the insulation board boasts at least one open-cell foam layer, also composed of polyurethane and polyisocyanurate. The distinctive feature of this layer lies in its high open cell volume, exceeding 80% by volume. This strategic combination of closed and open-cell foam layers contributes to the overall effectiveness of the system in providing optimal thermal insulation for concrete or masonry walls. The patent underscores Dow's commitment to advancing solutions that promote energy efficiency and sustainable building practices.

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the construction industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on 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.