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Research results shared on passive energy efficiency in building

CSIR research has demonstrated the efficiency of a csir-minerschoicehighly insulated building with regard to indoor comfort and reduced heating and cooling loads. The new data, released recently, will support specifiers and architects when determining their insulation requirements

The CSIR, in conjunction with BASF, undertook an energy and thermal performance experiment on a house constructed on the CSIR Innovation Site in Pretoria using BASF materials. The study analysed the energy and thermal performance of a highly insulated demonstration house (the ‘BASF House’) through actual data collection and thermal modeling.

At the research results dissemination session held towards the end of August, BASF and the CSIR renewed their memorandum of understanding (MoU) for another two years.

“Temperature data collection took place between December 2011 and April 2013. The BASF house is based on the innovative technology and design of the CSIR’s low-income house of 40 m2, the same size as a standard, government-subsidised house,” notes Llewellyn van Wyk, CSIR researcher who leads this project.

The results indicate that the BASF house will require minimal heating in winter to maintain a comfortable indoor environment. Using the conversion rate of 1Gigajoule (Gj) equalling 277.77 kilowatts hour (kWh) and a kWh rate of R1.20, the BASF house will have an annual heating cost of R567. For comparative purposes the standard low-income, government-subsidised house constructed on the CSIR Innovation Site has a heating load of 12.28 Gj or 3 401 kWh with an annual heating cost of R4 082, while a South African National Standards 204 (SANS) compliant house has a heating load of 7.66 Gj or 2 127 kWh and an annual heating cost of R2 553.

As can be expected from a highly insulated building in summer the house will require cooling, but this can be achieved by opening windows and doors to allow natural ventilation.

While the experiment demonstrates the efficiency of a highly insulated building, the placement of insulation and effective ventilation is critical in terms of maximising these efficiencies. The optimal performance will be achieved through:

  1. Installing a roof with high reflective paint
  2. Placing 100 mm insulation on top of the ceiling
  3. Ensuring that the insulation is tightly fitted to avoid thermal bridging
  4. Ensuring effective ventilation to the rooms for the summer period
  5. Ventilating the attic.

“Space heating costs can be significantly reduced in a residential building such as this: An owner of a small house such as this could save close to 80% in heating per year as opposed to the SANS compliant household, and this inevitably contributes to a healthier environment when one considers other forms of heating,” says Van Wyk.

The aim was to measure absolute temperature performance of a standard building consisting of a roof, floor and walls using an alternative insulation technology based on Neopor®, a thermal insulation material by BASF. The house was also fitted with double glazed windows and doors.

“BASF engaged in this study with the CSIR to demonstrate the need for insulation in maintaining comfortable living temperatures. Although this test case was aimed at measuring the effectiveness of Neopor® in the southern hemisphere, BASF also has other energy efficient solutions for the building industry, which enhance the local drive towards energy efficient buildings,” says Dr Dieter Kovar, Managing Director of BASF Holdings South Africa.

The article was written by:Hilda Van Rooyen, CSIR Strategic Communication.







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