Oct 27 2005
A nationwide model project titled “Low-energy houses in the housing stock” is being undertaken in Germany by Deutsche Energie-Agentur GmbH (dena). Within this framework, LUWOGE, BASF’s housing company, is employing Neopor® for the interior insulation of a building that is more than 100 years old in the historic factory housing “Alte-Kolonie”. The special feature here is that Neopor, an expandable polystyrene made by BASF, not only accounts for good insulation but also absorbs sound. The brick building on the Soda-straße in Ludwigshafen is one of 34 old structures throughout Germany that are slated for renovation by participants in this project.
Innovations in thermal insulation and sound absorption
When it came to insulating the wall surfaces, LUWOGE turned to a new composite board manufactured by the Rigips company and made of 8 cm thick Neopor laminated to gypsum plasterboard. This system not only provides thermal insulation but also reduces sound levels. “Adequate sound protection is one of the foremost requirements made of today’s housing,” explains Christian Winter, head of sales at Rigips Dämmstoffe. The roof was upgraded with completely new roof elements that were clad with a 40 cm thick layer of Neopor by the Schwenk company. The construction under the roof also used BASF’s Micronal® PCM gypsum plasterboards since this is a material whose latent-heat accumulators can limit temperature peaks during the summer, thus ensuring a comfortable climate indoors. The floor surfaces were also generously wrapped up. New, highly compression-resistant and dimensionally stable floor insulation boards made of Neopor were installed under the subflooring. The windows are triple-glazed. All in all, these measures have cut energy costs by about 80 percent.
Low consumption of material
It is often the case that buildings whose façades are worth preserving or that fall into the category of historical monuments cannot be insulated on the outside. “This is where interior insulation comes into action,” elaborates Jürgen Fischer of Neopor Marketing. “The crux of the matter here is to also insulate window flannig, ceilings and interior wall joints so as to reduce the formation of thermal bridges.” The reasons for using Neopor were its good insulation properties and the low consumption of material it entails. Unlike conventional insulating materials, Neopor has infrared absorbers and reflectors that serve to reduce heat conductivity. As a result, a board made of this silver-grey foam is 20 percent thinner than conventional EPS boards even though it provides the same insulation effect. Since less raw material is needed, costs can be lowered and resources saved. This also leaves more living space. This semi-detached house, built in 1892, was completely renovated and now comprises four housing units. Two one-bedroom apartments, each with a surface area of 77 square meters, are located on the ground floor and above them are two apartments designed as maisonettes and measuring 145 square meters each. These units will be rented out as of November.
The future lies in our housing stock
Approximately three-fourths of all residential buildings in Germany were built before 1979. A large portion of this old housing stock has to be classified as being “inadequately insulated” or not at all insulated. The energy consumption in these buildings is often ten times higher than that of properly renovated or new houses. Merely installing professional thermal insulation and using modern building technology could already considerably lower the energy requirements. Homeowners can already recoup the costs incurred for the insulation measures in the interior or on the façade within just a few years. Additional technical information about BASF’s Neopor® is available on the Internet at www.neopor.de.