Saint-Gobain has significantly improved the effectivity of its insulation products in recent years – the effect being better solutions.
An energy revolution
The habitat market is undergoing a revolution, and Saint-Gobain aims to be a leading stakeholder. Today, energy consumption in houses plays a greater role than ever, both when constructing new houses and renovating older ones.
The energy consumed in the operation of buildings in most European countries accounts for up to half of all their CO2 emissions. This has led to the introduction of stricter legislation with particular emphasis on the construction of new buildings.
Saint-Gobain provides solutions that enhance the heat-retention properties of buildings and thereby reduce their impact on the climate. This is an ongoing effort. For instance, Saint-Gobain has initiated the construction of 17 Multi Comfort Houses around Europe, which exhibit close to a zero energy loss upon completion. The aim of these houses is to spread knowledge about buildings with passive heating and to set the agenda both for future construction and for the energy policy debate. The houses are not just empty showcases. They are in fact inhabited. We are able to carry out a practical test of the energy consumption and register the indoor climate. In other words: these innovative houses can bring us valuable knowledge about our products and solutions, knowledge that will help create even better solutions in the future.
Saint-Gobain is constantly striving to develop new low-energy solutions and to improve our existing products. Another good example is the insulation company ISOVER, which through extensive research has constantly been able to reduce heat loss (U value) in insulation products significantly below earlier levels. In the context of buildings, ISOVER provides insulation solutions for all building applications. ISOVER also produces technical insulation for pipes, windmills, etc.
Although it plays a key role, energy-efficient buildings are not just about insulation. Equally important is the complete optimisation of the building envelope: external walls, foundation, windows, and roof.
Saint-Gobain companies are of course active in this area too. Weber for instance, help improve the density of heavy outer walls and make them “warm” with products such as wall fibre, wall mortar and thermal insulation composite systems. Manufacturers like Gyproc who fabricate plasterboards and wall and ceiling solutions, and ISOVER who make insulation, provide solutions for energy effective walls of a far lighter density than earlier.
Thanks to improvements in the energy-retention properties of window glazing during the last decade, today windows are no longer the achilles heel of a building’s envelope. Relatively new types of glass developed by companies such as Saint-Gobain’s Glassolutions are extremely energy effective. While they keep the cold air outside and the warm air inside, glazing solutions even exist that filter the warm sunlight and ensure a pleasant indoor climate year-round.