Energy efficiency and affordability
BASF, a major supplier of raw materials to the construction industry, is working with customers and partners in the UK to build an energy efficient and affordable house, as part of the Creative Energy Homes Project at the University of Nottingham’s School of the Built Environment.
BASF, the world’s leading chemical company, is already using show houses in Europe, Asia and the United States to demonstrate that simple, cost efficient devices can lead to more comfort, less consumption, savings in energy costs and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.
In designing The BASF House in Nottingham, BASF has taken into consideration a number of issues currently affecting the construction industry. A low carbon emissions target has been set for the house. Energy efficient products are being used to create a thermally efficient home and renewable fuel will be used for heating.
The cost of building an energy efficient house is being balanced against the requirement to make the house affordable to a first time buyer, and with available building land in short supply, the BASF House design has the flexibility to be used for semi-detached or terraced houses.
The house will initially be occupied by University staff or students and carefully monitored, but it has been designed to function as a conventional dwelling.
The collaboration between the School of the Built Environment at the University of Nottingham and BASF started as part of a research and dissemination project which explored the application of the German ‘Passivhaus’ Standard to other countries in Europe.
Brian Ford, Professor of Bioclimatic Architecture and Head of the School of the Built Environment, at the University of Nottingham, says the basic strategy for passive heating and ventilation has been followed in the design of the BASF house. The environmental design strategy proposed by his team varies from the Passivhaus strategy in combining natural ventilation with a high thermal capacitance interior.
“The two most significant aspects of our brief have made the house different in appearance from more conventional housing, “explains architect Derek Trowell. “Firstly, the house is intended to be extremely energy efficient and to have as near as possible zero carbon emissions. Secondly, the house is intended to be extremely economical and affordable. The key effect of these two important briefing considerations is that the house has a compact floor area and relies as much as possible on passive solar design to keep costs down.”
The house will have highly insulated north, east and west walls with the minimum number of openings compatible with acceptable day lighting standards. The southern elevation will consist of a fully glazed two-layer adjustable sunspace with glazed screens that can be opened or closed to facilitate heating or cooling.
For the ground floor walls Insulated Concrete Forms (ICFs) will provide a cost effective and quick construction material with high insulating properties. These lightweight Neopor® moulded blocks are assembled to create the shape of the building and the core is then filled with concrete.
ICFs are becoming increasingly popular for many projects due to the speed of construction, energy saving benefits, design versatility and sustainability.
The BASF House will be built from LOGIX ICFs made from BASF’s Neopor, an expandable polystyrene with a graphite content which gives it considerably enhanced insulating capacity. The ICFs will be filled with low energy concrete, using BASF Construction Chemicals’ admixture Rheocell® ICF, and waterproofed using a pre-coloured render supplied by BASF subsidiary Relius.
Above ground floor level, will be Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs), combining high performance Elastopor® H polyurethane foam insulation, from BASF subsidiary Elastogran, with oriented strand board (OSB) to produce a predictable, resource efficient and cost effective building product. Elastopor® H boasts extremely low thermal conductivity levels. The SIPs will be prefabricated off–site using product from SIP Building Systems Limited.
The roof is constructed of the same material, avoiding the need for a separate roof structure, but also ensuring consistency with air tightness and high thermal resistance to the building fabric superstructure.
The first floor and roof required a lightweight, durable, waterproof cladding. BASF has selected Colorcoat HPS200® by Corus, which when used in conjunction with Confidex SustainTM provides the world’s first 'cradle to grave' CarbonNeutral building envelope. Standing seam steel clad roofing, whilst not particularly common in housing in the United Kingdom, is widely used elsewhere in Europe and the USA. It is similar in many ways to traditional lead rolled roofing.
For this particular project, the Corus Colourcoat HPS200® pre-finished steel product uses BASF coil coating incorporating pigments for solar heat management. When energy radiated by the sun hits a coloured surface it is usually absorbed, generating heat, which is then transported by thermal conduction into the material and by convection into the surrounding air. Using predictions from their CoolSim® software BASF has developed a range of colours that reflects rather than absorbs heat from the sun, contributing to lower temperatures in the coating and also lower temperature strain in coating layers and for the substrate. This results in a longer lifetime for the coated material and enables the roof to be a traditional terracotta shade.
SmartBoard™ plasterboard, will be used on the internal walls. This BASF innovation helps to regulate temperatures, because it contains Micronal® PCM phase-change material – microscopically small plastic spheres with a wax core. When the temperature rises, the wax melts and the phase-change material absorbs heat. When the temperature drops, the wax solidifies, and heat is emitted.
The house will also include thermally efficient, engineered timber, external doors manufactured by Manse Masterdor Ltd., and Leaderflushshapland internal doors, both of which use BASF’s Permaskin® coating system. PermaSkin® is a new and unique system for finishing of three dimensional timber products using a weatherable high performance thermoplastic film. This cost effective system produces a long life, maintenance free finish in a single step and retains the original appearance of the wood grain.
One of BASF’s key partners in the project is Rehau who are supplying their Awadukt Thermo® ground-air heat exchanger system for controlled ventilation. Fresh air is drawn through an underground network of pipes and is then either pre-heated in the winter or pre-cooled in the summer by exploiting the energy stored in the ground.
Rehau has developed the first ground to air heat exchanger with an antimicrobial inner layer which, as well as saving both costs and energy, will ensure a considerable improvement to the quality of the air. Rehau are installing a Raurain® rainwater collection system, as well as the windows and all the pipework required for the house.
Solar power will provide an estimated 81% of the hot water via Hoval’s Solkit® solar system with its revolutionary LowFlow technology. The BASF House will be thermally efficient, using its passive house design to provide heat, but a biomass stove will also be installed to ensure the comfort of the occupants. This will also provide an additional hot water supply on winter days.
H2M8, a UK company, will be providing affordable home automation products based on internet technology, to enhance the living environment and provide energy management for the house. WebBrick Controllers® will control the heating, lighting and ventilation, while the WebBrick Gateway® will provide a whole house use interface with exception reporting to the occupants through SMS, email and web access.
Nottingham University will use the same WebBrick® technologies to monitor all aspects of power use and dissipation within the home, to research how the various energy efficient products used within the BASF House perform.
“Many of BASF’s companies, employees, customers, suppliers and partners will be contributing to this project to translate energy efficiency and affordability into the BASF House. From Hertel providing scaffolding, fencing and support to Roger Bullivant’s team supplying the foundation system, the network of competence and support for the BASF House is absolutely tremendous,” enthuses Claire Farrar, Project Owner for the BASF House.
Detailed information on the project and press photos can be found at www.house.basf.co.uk.
Creative Energy Homes
The Creative Energy Homes project is a showcase of innovative state-of-the-art energy efficient homes of the future being built on the University Park at Nottingham. Five houses will be designed and constructed to various degrees of innovation and flexibility to allow the testing of different aspects of modern methods of construction.
The project aims to stimulate sustainable design ideas and promote new ways of providing affordable, environmentally sustainable housing that are innovative in their design. Dr Mark Gillott, an Associate Professor in Sustainable Energy Technologies comments that, “the University are delighted to be working with BASF and their partners on this project. The BASF House will provide a valuable technology showcase and research test facility to evaluate passive house strategies for affordable housing solutions.”
The project will be described in more detail at the forthcoming BASF sponsored “Towards Zero Carbon Sustainable Homes” National Symposium organised and hosted by the University of Nottingham on the 18th & 19th of September.
BASF shaping a sustainable future with innovative chemistry
In helping to shape a sustainable future, BASF is committed to energy efficiency and saving resources by developing innovative solutions. Energy efficiency is one of the ways we can meet the growing need for resources and energy on our planet and at the same time support climate protection. This can only be achieved through joint efforts by politics, society, science and business. In its role, as The Chemical Company, BASF is dedicated to using energy efficient production processes at its major sites worldwide. Furthermore, it uses its know-how in chemistry to develop innovative products and solutions that help its customers as well as the end-consumer to save energy and resources. In 2007, BASF will invest €1.4 billion in research and development and approximately one-third of this budgeted figure will be dedicated to energy efficiency, and saving resources.
BASF is the world’s leading chemical company: The Chemical Company. Its portfolio ranges from chemicals, plastics, performance products, agricultural products and fine chemicals to crude oil and natural gas. As a reliable partner to virtually all industries, BASF’s high-value products and intelligent system solutions help its customers to be more successful. BASF develops new technologies and uses them to meet the challenges of the future and open up additional market opportunities. It combines economic success with environmental protection and social responsibility, thus contributing to a better future. BASF has approximately 95,000 employees and posted sales of €52.6 billion in 2006. 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.