June 26, 2014

Energetic refurbishment of buildings examined

BASF and LUWOGE: First holistic long-term monitoring of the modernization of a city neighborhood

  • Positive long-term commercial, technical, economic and environmental effects
  • Residents highly satisfied with living climate
  • Very good results for facade insulation

BASF and its housing company LUWOGE are publishing a first comprehensive investigation into the long-term effects of energy-related modernization measures in the Brunck residential quarter in Ludwigshafen. The main focus of the study is on all aspects of sustainability. In addition to purely technical criteria such as the condition of buildings around 10 years after the renovation work, the level of heating energy consumption and an ecological assessment, the wellbeing of the residents was also ascertained by carrying out a direct survey. This integrated approach makes the study the first of its kind.

Klaus Ries, who is responsible for BASF’s Styropor®, Neopor® and Styrodur® business in Europe, explained the motivation behind the comprehensive study: “In light of the discussion surrounding energy, insulation, and the renovation of existing housing stock, it was important to us to examine this showpiece site in detail.” The housing sector has a key role to play worldwide in the public debate about sustainability, as it accounts for significant energy and resource consumption, with different materials and technologies being employed.

Positive effects on the economy, ecology, engineering and wellbeing

The most important results from the study were that the energy efficiency measures, which were planned holistically in old and new buildings, paid for themselves in a short space of time and had a crucial financial impact by saving heating energy. The resulting reduction in CO2 emissions was considerable. The study showed that 80-90 percent of the residents today are satisfied to very satisfied with their housing. The respondents have an exceptionally positive view of the climatic quality in their apartments. This quality is due in large part to the thermal insulation. The external thermal insulation composite system (ETICS) comprising Neopor, the expandable polystyrene (EPS) from BASF which contains graphite and has a particularly good insulation performance for insulation, still functioned perfectly after more than 10 years of use.

The long-term study shows in an exemplary fashion the microeconomic and macroeconomic potential of integrated modernization in the real estate sector. In particular, it makes it clear that energy efficiency, urban planning quality, living comfort and economic efficiency complement one another perfectly if the planning is right. “With the Brunck Quarter, we ventured to try lots of new things more than 10 years ago, both in terms of the idea of renovating an entire quarter, which was still new at the time, and in relation to the options for energy-related renovation. The long-term study now provides objective data on the frequently discussed topic of energy-related modernization,” said Matthias Hensel, managing director of LUWOGE.

Further information about the Brunck Quarter study

Economic evaluation with good results

The study’s economic viability calculation and the conclusions drawn from this about the ecological aspects of the renovation of the quarter were prepared by LUWOGE Consult, a consulting company that operates in the field of real estate development and is a fully owned subsidiary of LUWOGE. Influencing factors include the original condition of the building prior to renovation and the energy level to be achieved. Using the example of the 5-liter house in the new building development in the Brunck Quarter, the payback periods for the different insulation measures in the area of the basement ceiling and the outer wall were just five to seven years, compared to 15 to 30 years in a newly constructed 1-liter house. The prices and performance capability of the material at the time of the renovation work were used for the calculation. Today it is possible to achieve much shorter payback times with insulating materials from a better thermal conductivity group, for example Neopor 032, and currently lower construction costs.

The comparison between the planned thermal heat demand of the 3, 5 and 7-liter houses and the actual average consumption figures over the years was positive overall. The actual consumption figures were in fact generally lower than the calculated demand figures.

8,300 metric tons of CO2 saved in 10 years

In a similar way to the potential for making reductions on the calculated thermal heat demand, it was possible to extrapolate the CO2 reduction achieved as a result of the energy-related measures for the entire Brunck Quarter. The values for the relative CO2 saving were between 70 and 86 percent across the different building standards. In relation to the Brunck Quarter as a whole, around 8,300 metric tons of CO2 has been saved over the last 10 years. Another factor is that the insulation measures were implemented primarily using Neopor, which has a very positive life cycle assessment: The gray energy – in other words the energy used for production, logistics and disposal – was compensated for after just about a year by the savings on energy used for heating resulting from the different insulation measures.

Very good condition of the EPS facade insulation confirmed after 12 years

The technical assessment of the facade was carried out by a publicly appointed and accredited expert in the stucco plaster field. He certified that the external thermal insulation composite system with Neopor was in very good condition without any thermal bridging or damage caused by birds, insects or microorganisms.

Residents feel comfortable

As part of the socio-cultural evaluation, the University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Hildesheim/Holzminden/Göttingen (Prof. Schlegel, Faculty of Design) analyzed the consequences of the modernization of the quarter on user behavior and the quality of the living environment perceived by the residents. A total of 187 residents of the Brunck Quarter and tenants in a comparable modernized residential quarter in Darmstadt (bauverein AG) were surveyed. Around 80 percent of those questioned were satisfied with the quality of the climate in their homes following the energy-related modernization; only seven percent felt uncomfortable. It was found that the residents’ expectations for a comfortable climate rose with increasing energy efficiency of the buildings.

The Brunck Quarter

The Brunck Quarter in Ludwigshafen was built in the 1930s by the Badische Anilin- und Sodafabrik, the predecessor of today’s BASF SE in Ludwigshafen, as a housing settlement for workers. Following severe damage in the Second World War, the Brunck Quarter was rebuilt in the 1950s and now contains around 500 dwellings. In 1996, LUWOGE, BASF, the city of Ludwigshafen and the state of Rhineland-Palatinate jointly developed a comprehensive scheme for modernization of the Brunck Quarter. The existing housing stock was renovated and expanded with the addition of new buildings. The scheme comprises 7, 5 and 3-liter houses and contains the first ever 3-liter house created through modernization in Germany. The measures implemented included façade insulation with Neopor, which had been newly launched on the market at the time.

About BASF

BASF is the world’s leading chemical company: The Chemical Company. Its portfolio ranges from chemicals, plastics, performance products and crop protection products to oil and gas. We combine economic success with environmental protection and social responsibility. Through science and innovation, we enable our customers in nearly every industry to meet the current and future needs of society. Our products and solutions contribute to conserving resources, ensuring nutrition and improving quality of life. We have summed up this contribution in our corporate purpose: We create chemistry for a sustainable future. BASF had sales of about €74 billion in 2013 and over 112,000 employees as of the end of the year. BASF shares are traded on the stock exchanges in Frankfurt (BAS), London (BFA) and Zurich (AN). Further information on BASF is available on the Internet at www.basf.com.


LUWOGE is BASF's housing company. LUWOGE provides BASF employees and a wide section of the local population with an extensive range of attractive and contemporary dwellings. The company currently owns around 7,000 dwellings in Ludwigshafen and the surrounding area. LUWOGE operates sustainably to create a decent future for everybody. It is commercially successful and has assumed a pioneering ecological and technical role. By embracing innovative concepts, using BASF products and acting in a socially acceptable way, the housing company helps to deliver sustainable and viable development in the construction and housing sector.


Last Update June 26, 2014