Public debate is currently dominated by the issues of network expansion and electricity costs – the energy transition is a major talking point. Achieving an effective reduction in the heating demands of buildings is one of the measures required to meet the ambitious energy and climate targets adopted by the European Union. Germany, for example, has set itself the target of cutting the heating requirements of buildings by 20 per cent by 2020, with the aim of making its building stock largely climate neutral by 2050.
Heating, hot water, electrical devices and lighting – in our homes and in offices and public buildings, we want our surroundings to be warm, bright and comfortable. This is not without consequences: the existing building stock accounts for around 40 per cent of energy consumption, which equates to roughly one third of all CO2 emissions. The share of energy used in industry, trade and commerce is even higher, at 44 per cent. To achieve a lasting reduction in energy consumption, we not only need to erect sustainable new buildings, but also actively tackle the backlog of modernisation work required to upgrade existing buildings and make them more energy efficient. There is huge potential here: around two thirds of residential buildings in Germany are over 35 years old and were constructed before the first heat insulation regulation came into force in 1979. These buildings consume up to five times more energy than new builds constructed after 2001. In the public and commercial sectors, up to 500,000 buildings are in need of refurbishment. Significant opportunities are offered here with regard to operating equipment, heating systems and pipework, as carrying out professional refurbishment and installing modern building services can cut energy requirements by up to 80 per cent.
Intelligent refurbishment begins in the basement
Roof, windows, building envelope – there are numerous possibilities for refurbishing existing buildings. But the heating system is often ignored, despite being a real energy guzzler. Over one third of all heating systems in Germany are already more than 20 years old, which means they use up a substantial amount of energy. Upgrading a heating system significantly reduces consumption. Burners, combustion chambers, exhaust air ducts and controls are continuously being optimised thanks to ongoing developments in technology. But it is not only the heating system itself, but also the refurbishment of the pipework, heating surfaces of facilities and the water pipes that plays an important part in saving energy and costs.
In public and commercial buildings there are various versions of large-scale heating facilities; however, the most common configuration consists of a series of radiators linked to a central heating boiler. Medium-sized steel pipes are frequently used to connect a network of radiators spread throughout the building. The pipework runs along a central service duct before dividing off into smaller diameter pipes on each floor.
If pipes, valves, flanges or pipe supports are poorly or not continuously insulated, heat loss can be excessively high. In residential blocks or workspaces, this means energy is already lost before the heat even reaches its destination. The result is that the heating is turned up, leading to higher costs and, in turn, even more heat loss. The European Union’s climate targets are designed to prevent this.
Insulation is essential
Before refurbishing pipework, it is important to check first whether the pipes in colder rooms or on exterior walls are adequately insulated, if at all. If the pipework in exterior walls is not insulated, it can be very expensive to do this afterwards, should it be needed, because the walls need to be opened up and then sealed again in order to insulate the pipes. In this case, it may be easier to lay new pipes and disconnect the old ones. Here, it is advisable to decide on a case-by-case basis whether new piping should be laid in a better position with adequate insulation. In colder rooms, the insulation thickness should correspond to the inner diameter of the internal pipe.
The entire pipeline network, distributors, shut-off valves and solar connection cables can be insulated easily and cost-effectively with Kaiflex insulation. It is straightforward to install and often pays for itself in one or two heating periods. Kaimann has transformed heat insulation challenges into solutions. Kaiflex KKplus s1/s2 and Kaiflex HTplus are ideal for insulating heating systems. These dust and fibre free insulation materials contribute significantly towards creating a pleasant interior climate and to the economic viability and security of a building, and are an integral part of an efficient heating system.
Kaiflex KKplus s2
With a lambda value of λ <0.038 W/(m·K) for sheets and λ <0.033 W/(m·K) for tubes at a temperature of 0 °C, this advanced insulation by Kaimann demonstrates high thermal efficiency. The closed cell structure not only ensures greater dimensional stability and easier handling, it also provides a secure water vapour barrier. Moisture penetration is effectively prevented and high insulating performance is maintained throughout the entire service life of the insulated system. With its combination of very low thermal conductivity and high water vapour diffusion resistance, Kaiflex KKplus s2 guarantees reliable protection against energy losses, even with shallow insulation thicknesses. Thanks to KaiCene technology, the sheets have a lower bulk density and thus an improved insulating effect compared to other low-smoke products.
Kaiflex HT s2
The flexible elastomeric insulation material Kaiflex HT s2 enables the energy costs of a building to be significantly reduced just by insulating the accessible pipes. With thermal conductivity λ at 40 °C ≤ 0.04 W/(m·K), HT s2 has an excellent thermal insulation value. This highly flexible foam material with a very fine cell structure meets the requirements of the Energy Saving Ordinance and is easy to handle, even in difficult installations.