Effective Insulation. A safe house - Expert conference in Warsaw
On BASF’s initiative, representatives from trade associations, politics, and the construction industry came together in Poland in September 2019 to discuss the industry’s role in tackling climate change.
Together with players from the entire value chain for insulation materials, BASF engaged in dialogue on the development prospects for energy-efficient construction. The conference was organised in collaboration with the Association of Polish Architects (SARP), PlasticsEurope Polska, and the United Nations Global Compact Network Poland (GCNP) in order to promote the exchange of ideas and information between industry, architects, trade associations, and UN entities. More than 70 participants, primarily Polish Neopor® processors, followed the discussions. They covered energy efficiency and climate change, fire protection of buildings, and the contribution of EPS insulation materials to sustainable construction and the circular economy.
In the opening remarks, Kamil Wyszkowski, President of the Board of the GCNP, emphasised that energy-efficient construction is becoming increasingly important in view of the challenges posed by climate change. He also discussed BASF’s graphitic EPS insulating material Neopor® as a solution for sustainable building design. In its applications, this high-performance insulation material saves valuable heating energy, reducing the CO2 emissions of residential buildings and thus contributing to active environmental and climate protection.
The first round of discussions focused on fire safety. The experts agreed: “Fire safety of buildings should´not be reduced to the building materials used, but instead be explored from a holistic perspective. This also includes fire prevention,” concluded Quentin de Hults, Executive Chair of the Modern Building Alliance (MBA). With the European target to achieve a highly efficient and low-carbon building stock by 2050, plastics will be increasingly used in the construction industry, including insulation materials such like Neopor®. De Hults stressed that although foam insulation, like all organic materials, is combustible, it isn not easily ignited. This makes it all the more important to test the entire external thermal insulation composite system (ETICS) for fire safety. A number of fire protection tests demonstrate the safety of EPS/Neopor® as an insulation material in ETICS.
Over the course of the event, the focus was on sustainable building design and the circular economy of plastics in the construction industry. Agnieszka Kalinowska-Sołtys, Member of the General Board and responsible for sustainability at SARP, presented environmentally friendly design options for sustainable buildings and their certification. She also highlighted the issue of plastics in the construction industry in connection with renewable energy sources and the circular economy. With biomass-balanced Neopor®—known as Neopor® BMB—BASF has already implemented the approach of replacing fossil resources with renewable ones. The necessity of recycling plastics from building products was also touched upon: “It’s important to point out that one of the goals of the Europe 2020 strategy is a sustainable construction sector and plastics are already part of the circular economy. The construction industry is one of the main recyclers—in Germany, the proportion of recycled material in building products in 2018 was more than 21%,” said Kazimierz Borkowski, Managing Director of PlasticsEurope Polska.