Ludwigshafen, Germany-'Construction Assistant' is a new consultation and calculation program for private builders and construction specialists, developed by BASF. The German chemicals group says it will be showcasing the new software at BAU, the trade fair for construction and housing, to be held in Munich, Germany, from 15-20 Jan 2007.
"The program is easy to work with. Laypersons can quickly obtain a grasp of the costs and benefits of individual energy-related modernisation measures," said Dr. Jürgen Fischer, head of this project at BASF, in BASF's press release. Fischer stressed, however, that detailed planning and calculation of the total energy balance "should be carried out by a specialist."
The program consists of several databases on BASF insulating materials for construction, including rigid polyurethane and various polystyrene foams. It lists their most important energy-saving properties.
Based on this data is a calculation module that determines values such as the U-value (coefficient of heat transmission) and the dew point for various building components and insulating measures, in accordance with the German Energy-Saving Directive (EnEV), said a BASF statement.
The Assistant also calculates the heating energy saved as well as the time needed to recoup the costs. BASF said the main difference between this program and conventional energy consultation software is that it offers a preliminary overview, even for those with no specialised knowledge of building physics.
Users quickly acquire information about the energy-saving potential of specific insulating measures in their own houses.
The software can be used anywhere in Europe, says BASF, since it is based on the U-value determination and on the resultant transmission heat losses.
Wall, roof, floor and ceiling structures are displayed in 3D graphics. The technical drawings can be modified depending on the construction material in question, on the thermal and moisture-related technical properties of the construction materials as well as on the thickness of the insulation panels. The objective is a "before and after" comparison.
The dew point (moisture protection) before and after the renovation as well as the energy saved annually can also be calculated. BASF stresses that this means the time needed to recoup the renovation cost, as well as the annual savings, can be determined as a function of the existing heating system, of the investment costs and of the annual inflation rate.
The Assistant can also be used by BASF's insulating material customers, who can incorporate their own products into the database. An English version is in preparation, BASF pointed out. PIC: Heat escaping from a building as seen using infra-red imaging. "