BASF/CSIR explore building sustainaBASF South Africa and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), have strengthened their co-operation further by demonstrating the benefit of passive insulation in a building. The project entails building a standard home, at the CSIR Built Environment Innovation Site in Pretoria, using an alternate insulation technology based on Neopor®, an insulation material by BASF. Insulating panels made of Neopor are the solution for homeowners who want to reduce energy costs by applying thermal insulation. They set new standards for efficient thermal insulation and environmental compatibility. It reduces thermal losses wherever applied, be it the exterior or inner walls, floors or the roof. The showcase building is further enhanced with double glazed windows. Helm Construction built this house using an Agrément Certified Imison Walling System.
CSIR has embarked on a programme of evaluating innovative technologies to determine its contribution to enhanced construction performance. A low-income house of 40 m2 is used as the basis in each case to ensure comparability. The construction process was monitored, and records are kept for type and extent of labour used, materials used (quantities and costs), waste generated, and building costs. "A life cycle analysis is performed on each building, and an energy simulation is run. In this way it is possible to determine what technologies deliver what benefits at what costs," says CSIR senior researcher, Llewellyn van Wyk.
"The BASF project is of particular interest because it represents one of the most highly insulated houses that one could build in South Africa. The results of this research will provide a best-case scenario for energy efficiency in the residential sector. It will thereby enable validated figures to be used, for example, in any future updating of SANS 10400 Part XA: Energy Efficiency in Buildings," he notes.
Dr Dieter Kovar, head of Business Center South Africa and Sub-Sahara, explains further: "This technology showcase is one example where functionality and energy efficiency compliment each other. BASF and CSIR will continue exploring new solutions for sustainability in the built environment. Importantly, this project will demonstrate how to accomplish greater energy efficiency and how to reduce energy costs. Thus, it promotes climate protection."
Agrément South Africa is the national technical assessment agency that certifies innovative and non-standard construction products and processes through its certification scheme. It is managed by CSIR Built Environment.
Neopor is an advanced version of the classic white insulation material Styropor®. BASF manufactures the black, expandable beads from polystyrene. Processors foam up the beads and process them into silver-grey blocks and moulded parts for various applications, in particular for insulating buildings. Insulation materials made from Neopor are silver-grey because they contain finely distributed graphite particles which act like miniature mirrors reflecting the thermal radiation and thus reducing heat losses. The insulating effect is thus increased by up to 20%. This saves heating costs and enhances the value of buildings in an environmentally-friendly way.