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Model for Affordable Housing Demonstrated in Germany

09 May 2017

Model for Affordable Housing Demonstrated in Germany

The 'House of Nations’, a multi-purpose building developed as a model for affordable housing, has been completed in Bergisch Gladbach, Germany. It was designed and built by the city administration, French prefabricated building manufacturer Logelis and Covestro.

Providing housing quickly, cost-effectively and sustainably is a global challenge. This is true in low-income and economically underdeveloped regions, but also in places where housing is scarce or expensive. In collaboration with industry and government partners, Covestro is developing models of affordable housing.

“This highly cost- and energy-efficient building was completed in just four weeks,” stated Dr Markus Steilemann, Chief Commercial Officer on the Covestro Board of Management, at a ceremony to hand over the building to its new occupant, the German Red Cross. “With this pilot project we want to show how we can work with partners to provide housing quickly and inexpensively. This is an increasing challenge in many cities.”

The outer envelope of the model building is fully insulated with polyurethane. Self-supporting, prefabricated elements from Logelis were used for the walls. They comprise a core of polyurethane foam encased in a thin layer of cement. The floors – with insulation boards from puren – and the drop ceiling are also insulated with polyurethane.

Thanks to the excellent thermal insulation of the wall panels, a wall thickness of only 16 cm was sufficient. The annual heating energy requirement is designed to be less than 15 kWh/m2, meaning the building fulfils the requirements of the passive house standard.

The elements are simple to manufacture and very lightweight. Each of the large, composite elements weighs only slightly over 100 kg. Transporting them is simple and consumes less fuel. They are also easy to install. Taken together, these factors reduce time and expense both in the preparation phase and on the construction site.

The single-story multi-purpose building has two group rooms, a kitchen and two restrooms. According to Logelis, the total costs add up to €1,150 per square metre, making the building significantly more affordable than a conventionally built structure.

Covestro has been supporting projects in Asia to provide affordable housing for permanent occupancy for several years. These mainly benefit people made homeless after a natural disaster. Industry partners in the Middle East are also using this method to construct turnkey buildings that fulfil local codes. A current example is the successful construction of 70 residential units and other buildings in Erbil, Northern Iraq. Covestro and Logelis teamed up on this project as well.

Photo provided by Covestro

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