The Brunck district in Ludwigshafen consists of 500 dwellings, most of which are blocks housing multiple flats. Back in the mid-1990s, it became apparent that the existing dwellings were in great need of renovation. This heralded the start of a pilot project in which BASF together with LUWOGE renovated the existing building stock up to the 3, 5 and 7 Litre standard, and designed new 1 litre house. This unique project allows us to answer a number of questions which are repeatedly asked in relation to EPS insulation.

The Brunck District:

Example of a major contribution to sustainable construction

In collaboration with the Ministry of Finance of the German State of Rhineland-Palatinate and various scientific institutions, the partners BASF SE and LUWOGE devised a long- term and comprehensive concept for modernisation of the "Brunck district" in the centre of Ludwigshafen.

The Brunck District: An Integrated Concept

This settlement for workers, which was created in the 1930s on the doorstep of the BASF site, was revitalised in its entirety from 1997 to 2006. The new and modernised buildings were provided with innovative system solutions in the areas of thermal insulation and renewable energies in order to achieve maximum scores for energy and eco-efficiency. For the first time, a external thermal insulation composite system (ETICS) comprising insulating material panels made of Neopor® from thermal conductivity group 035 was used and, compared to conventional EPS insulating materials, it displays insulation performance that is up to 20 per cent better.

The economic, ecological and socio-cultural objectives were finally examined in a long-term study, as part of the sustainable revitalization of the district. The goal was to validate the desired advantages of the sustainable structures and to continue with these in the future.

Cost Put to the Test: Is Insulation Worth It?

A comparison of the measures implemented in the Brunck district in order to increase the level of energy efficiency shows that, depending on the type of building, the payback periods for insulation measures in the basement ceiling, the roof and the external wall are between eight and 17 years.

The payback period represents a key parameter for assessing the economic viability of energy efficiency measures. It defines the period at the end of which the costs saved as a result of the reduction in energy will exceed the level of investments made in energy-related building work.

Various factors need to be taken into account here. The condi- tion of the property prior to renovation plays a major role. The rule of thumb here is that, the greater the need for renovation, the higher the initial investment but also the greater the potential to save energy. If energy-related renovation is carried out as part of repair works that were required anyway, it usually does not account for more than 35% of the total costs. So if a building needs to have a new render applied to it, direct consideration should be given to facade insulation in order to save costs in the long run. In this connection, Werner Eicke-Hennig, an energy expert from the Energy Saving Campaign organised by the German state of Hesse, clearly summarises the situation:

"If you are put off by constant false messages, you are losing real cash. If you do not implement energy-saving measures on your property, you are throwing your money out of the window on ever-rising heating costs."

Facade insulation is also of interest to tenants. This is because in new buildings and in the renovation of existing ones it is possible to considerably reduce heating energy consumption. Although some of the costs of modernising the building are apportioned to rents excluding heating charges, the saving in the ancillary costs usually more than compensates for this increase. Besides the higher quality of life that a renovated apartment offers, tenants also benefit from a fall in rents including heating charges.

When it comes to new buildings, the payback period is essentially dependent on the target energy efficiency level that the new building is seeking to achieve. The rule here is that the more ambitious the energy specifications in relation to the energy efficiency levels stipulated by the German Energy Efficiency Ordinance (EnEV), which are already very good, the longer the payback period for individual energy-related measures. Using the five litre house in a new build in the Brunck district as an example, the different insulation measures had payback periods of just five to seven years.

Important Information on the Costs of Energy-Related Building Work

In the case of rennovation: If you combine building work, you save costs: Insulation of the facade can take place, for example, as part of replacement of the render that needed to be carried out anyway. This produces considerable savings. It should also be noted that the complexity of the building and the original condition of the building from an energy point of view have a crucial bearing on the costs and therefore also on the payback period.

In the case of new builds: The desired energy efficiency target for the building firstly dictates the level of investment, but also dictates the level of savings that can be made.

In the case of new builds and renovation, it is essential to plan the works carefully. They should be carried out by specialist experts. It is advisable to recruit an energy specialist to do the planning because complex conditions – such as the geographical location of the property or coordination of the technical facilities with the shell of the building – need to be considered if the building work is to be sustainable.

Does it Last? Lifespan and Durability of Facade Insulation

An investment in facade insulation – and in all energy-related renovation measures in general – is always a long-term invest- ment. Despite this, the shortest possible payback period is of course desired.

This is why as part of the monitoring for the Brunck district we also scrutinised the technical condition of the