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About the author

David Moreno

If you live in the Northern Hemisphere, you will have probably stowed away your bathing suits, shorts and bikinis. Let’s face it: Winter is quickly approaching. I’ve already turned up the heating system in my flat.

‘Thermal comfort’ is the magic word: having a pleasant room temperature at home or at the workplace that makes us feel comfortable. Unfortunately, in many buildings, too much energy is wasted in order to achieve thermal comfort. Energy efficiency, however, is not just another buzzword. It is a reality.


Even the location matters

Every detail affects a building’s energy consumption: not only the local climate, the building’s size and its design or the installations inside, but also its placement and its surroundings. Other houses, trees and hills can block wind. Windows facing south increase the amount of sunlight entering a room. Dark roofs become hotter than light-colored roofs, sending additional heat inside the building. There are many ways to make heat enter a building… and, of course, many ways to keep the heat inside.


Proper insulation

I remember all too well sitting in cold classrooms or chilly dorm rooms. While the heating was often insufficient, the real problem was poor insulation of walls and windows. Luckily, new insulation methods are slowly becoming a standard everywhere, as many chemical companies are working on new materials which provide better insulation. Here are three examples:


BASF offers ‘Neopor’, an expandable polystyrene. It’s a foam which contains tiny graphite

particles that reflect radiant heat and lower the thermal conductivity. Neopor panels are about 20% thinner than those made of Styropor.

Learn more here:


Evonik produces thin, fine-celled foam panels made from polyurethane.

They have excellent insulation properties because special foam stabilizers make sure that there

are barely any air bubbles. The result is a durable, strong, uniform structure.

Learn more here:


Dow Chemical have applied their ‘Styrofoam’ polystyrene for many years,

which easily blankets the wall cavities and moves the dew point from inside the wall cavity to outside of it.

Learn more here:

Everlasting comfort

These materials are resistant to ageing, so you can enjoy their quality for as long as necessary. Their thinness has several advantages: fewer raw materials are used and fewer resources are needed to produce them. They save many times the amount of energy required to produce them. And they can easily be used to renovate walls that are not properly insulated.

Thinking about good insulation should always be high on your priority list when you buy a house or an apartment.