In the zero-heating cost house from LUWOGE, heating costs are history
Housing company officially opens a low-energy building in Pfingstweide
A 1970s-era building that earns its own heating costs? In just six months of construction work, LUWOGE transformed an occupied older building in the Ludwigshafen district of Pfingstweide into a zero-heating cost house. On May 29th. 2007, the BASF housing company officially opened the multi-unit building together with Margit Conrad (Environment Minister of the State of Rhineland-Palatinate), Ernst Merkel (Director, Ludwigshafen Municipal Construction and Environment Department), Ernst Schwanhold (Director, Competence Center Environment, Safety and Energy at BASF), and Hans-Carsten Hansen (Director, Competence Center Human Resources at BASF).
In the words of Environment Minister Conrad, “Ludwigshafen has developed into an outstanding center for energy-efficient construction – from April 2001 when the completion of the 3-liter house in the Brunck Quarter attracted interest throughout Germany, to the cutting-edge standards in the building opened today. Saving energy and reducing costs go hand in hand here, and we need these types of projects. They demonstrate that comprehensive modernization represents a real economic alternative not only for tenants but also for property owners. This zero-heating cost house provides impressive support for our campaign to encourage precisely such projects, namely UnserEner. Macht mit! - Unsere beste Energie ist gesparte Energie (roughly: ”It’s our energy. Join us! – The best energy is saved energy“), in order to protect our climate and resources.”
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The zero-heating cost house is a clear example of how investing in energy-efficient modernization can be highly profitable. The attraction of the zero-heating cost house is that the building itself covers the costs for the comfortable conditions within the apartments. NeoporÒ panels from BASF are very well suited to provide excellent insulation and superior cost-effectiveness. Together with triple-glazed windows and a controlled ventilation system with thermal recovery, they enable fuel consumption and CO2 emissions to be reduced by around 80%. Even the residual heating requirements do not generate costs. Solar panels on the roof and the facades provide the energy for electricity and warm water. Anja Ackermann, a tenant in the zero-heating cost house, is enthusiastic about the results. As she notes, “Not only do we now live in a building that is just like new and has this great technology, we are also actively helping to preserve the environment.”
According to Ernst Schwanhold, “With projects such as this one, BASF is showing that innovative solutions from the chemical industry can contribute substantially to protecting the environment. If all the older buildings in Germany were refurbished with these modern insulating materials and other energy-saving components, we could save not only major heating costs but also more than 80 million tons of CO2 – which amounts to half of the yearly CO2 emissions produced by all of the cars in Germany.”
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Hans-Carsten Hansen added that “the zero-heating cost house is an excellent example of how economic, environmental, and especially social responsibility can be combined. The result is sustainability that one can literally live in.” Residents of the 16 apartments benefit in many ways. The drop in heating costs means that their combined rent and heating payments are no longer dependent on energy prices. The thermal insulation promotes both comfort and health – by improving noise insulation, for example. Radiators are no longer necessary, so these “dust catchers” have all been removed. Even under extremely cold weather conditions the tenants still enjoy a cozy warmth, thanks to a great new technology that is being used for the first time in homes in Germany, namely a thermal radiation system integrated into the windows. It achieves a comfortable interior temperature faster and with less energy than conventional heating systems. The tenants also enjoy an extra amenity in the form of new balconies measuring eight square meters built onto the house. The previous loggias were fitted with a glass front, which increases the total amount of living space. And the bathrooms were completely redone. “We’re more than happy,” says Ms. Ackermann about the modernization work on her home. This project was made possible by LUWOGE consult, a subsidiary of LUWOGE that provides consulting services for energy-efficient construction and housing.
The building is a pilot project within an overall strategy for the Pfingstweide residential district. As part of the strategy, LUWOGE takes into account changing demands in the residential market, technical advances in building modernization, and demographic trajectories. Objectives include increasing the value of LUWOGE units in the Pfingstweide district, promoting social and cultural benefits, and adapting LUWOGE’s holdings to meet demand. To achieve these objectives, LUWOGE will be applying an entire range of social, economic, and environmental measures over the coming years. As elements of the overall strategy, these measures will help make the 1970s-era district into a modern and attractive residential area.
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