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Hard Foam Industry Association IVH

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Hard Foam Industry Association IVH
Hard Foam Industry Association IVH

Video: Hard Foam Industry Association IVH

Video: Hard Foam Industry Association IVH
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In various public media, thermal insulation composite systems based on the insulating material polystyrene have been pilloried aggressively and not very objectively due to the alleged risk of fire. The painter's sheet interviewed managing director Dr. Hartmut Schönell and spokeswoman Ute Hagmann from the Hard Foam Industry Association IVH on the allegations made.

Consumers were greatly unsettled by two television programs and an article in a national newspaper when it came to insulating the facade with polystyrene. When I looked at these posts I couldn't get rid of the feeling that there was deliberately wrong information. How do you see that?

Schönell: Campaign-like attacks on polystyrene insulation have been going on for around two years. I say campaign-like because we do not know whether there is someone behind it or whether it simply became media hype after this now well-known fire in Frankfurt. In any case, we still have a lot to fight there, because the accusations are unjustified in every respect. We are dealing with a product on the facade, with a composite system that consists partly of polystyrene. All of this is flame retardant and German building law stipulates that construction products may be used as long as they are normally flammable or better. There are millions of wooden roof trusses in our houses that are normally flammable - and after that no rooster crows.

Was there a fire on the facades or why was this sow driven by the media?

Schönell: That is the crazy thing: we are aware of nine fires, i.e. facade fires, nine since 2005, two of which are still in Austria, which is downright ridiculous, under 0.1 per mille with a total of 180,000 fires per year, on or in buildings arise.

Dr. Hartmut Schönell

Then it all sounds a bit like a bad film. And there's always a bad guy there. Who might be interested in making EPS, expanded polystyrene, bad?

Schönell: I'm not going to speculate here if someone is behind it and who it could be. We just don't know. Perhaps it is a nice thing for some public media to pounce on topics that are supposed to make headlines. The editorial offices also get less and less time and money for solid research. And so it tries to make an "event" out of everything, even a television interview. But despite all attempts to inflate things, it is still the case that you do not even look at a dozen fires here and do not see the millions of square meters that have been insulated and with which everyone involved is satisfied, the processors, i.e. craftsmen and painters and plasterers or even the consumer, the client.

Hagmann: Perhaps the topic of insulation also appeals to some journalists because industry and politics are more or less in agreement and are marching in the same direction. Insulation with polystyrene may be a thing of the past and a kind of platform that is searched for places that can be negatively reported.

Most experts who deal with insulation are in favor of it. But they did not have a say in the critical reports

Schönell: That is why we endeavor to have experts other than those mentioned in the articles talk. We want experts from science, architecture, we want to give processors and consumers a stage. Then it also becomes clear why over the past few years 85 percent of people have opted for a thermal insulation composite system with EPS.

Hagmann: That speaks for itself and doesn't really need to be commented on. These experts always have their say in the specialist media, but not in the public media, because that doesn't give them an exciting story.

Ute Hagmann

Let us take a brief look at the other areas of energy saving. The heating and window people naturally want money to be taken into account first for their products and services. Isn't the consumer torn about what to do?

Hagmann: Well, you first have to renovate the building shell in order to then set the appropriate heating output on it.

Schönell: The sensible order of priority is first the non-transparent part of the building envelope, which has priority, then the transparent part, i.e. the windows - and once this is done, the heating technology must be adjusted accordingly.

Perhaps we can also explain two terms at this point that would like to be thrown into the discussion rounds: energy demand and energy consumption

Schönell: Yes, both are often said so easily. There is a big difference. Let's take the vehicle sector as an example: when I buy a new car, I read in the brochure "Average consumption 9.4 liters". So, that's the need of the automobile for behavior in compliance with standards, excluding user behavior. And now we take two semi-detached houses. In one lives a couple of pensioners who are at home all day and always freeze, in the other live students who are not in the house from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Consumption will be high in one half and low in the other. And that is the difference between demand and consumption. We always point this out.

Now back to reporting on the thermal insulation composite systems with the insulation material polystyrene. After the television broadcast of the WDR and after the article in the FAZ, the critical magazine Öko-Test also took up the topic

Schönell: Yes, Öko-Test dealt with polystyrene and thermal insulation. The author Volker Lehmkuhl has really researched and dealt seriously with the various possibilities of insulation and came to clearly different statements than those heard in the WDR contribution or those read in the FAZ.

A striking word that also appears regularly in the media is sustainability

Schönell: Let me put it this way: One liter of petroleum in the form of styrofoam in the thermal insulation composite system "parked" on the wall for over 50 years, which saves at least 200 liters of oil. That is the answer to sustainability. The environmental product declarations of the Institute for Building and Environment certify polystyrene over the entire life cycle from the cradle to the grave a high sustainability. And the polystyrene insulation material has a good price-performance ratio. I always say that this is not a Ferrari or Maserati, but a Golf. A well-proven golf to get from A to B. And because styrofoam is also easy to handle, this is very widely used by artisans.

Hagmann: The largest passive house settlement is in Heidelberg and it is also completely insulated with polystyrene. And it gets international attention, for example groups from China are being held, simply to show how something like this can work, from the architecture, the outside view and from the point of view of energy saving.

Good cooperation is particularly important to them, including craftsmen, painters and plasterers. How do you transport that?

Schönell: We attach great importance to working with the processors, and we demonstrated this for two years in our “Warmth in dialogue” campaign. There was a common platform, namely from the Werkmörtel IWM industry association, the thermal insulation composite systems association, and from us, the IVH hard foam industry association. The two associations of painters and plasterers were also present. This campaign worked well in the “external mission” because we showed unity here, but also internally, because we understand each other better since then.

How do you see the current campaign "Insulating is worthwhile", which is carried out by four manufacturers?

Schönell: I see that very positively. Considerable resources are being taken in hand to pass on positive arguments across the board. I have to say, Chapeau, all respect, what is going to be done at a good time is worth the sweat of the noble people who came together for it, Stotmeister, Brillux, Caparol and Baumit.

How will you deal with critical reporting in the future?

Hagmann: Clearly, as in the past, we don't want to hide anything. We speak openly about our insulation material and want to be viewed realistically by the critics.

Schönell: We will not stick our heads in the sand, we have to and want to express ourselves and have to communicate skillfully in all directions.

Ms. Hagmann, Dr. Thank you very much for the interview

The interview was conducted by Ulrich Schweizer.

Ute Hagmann and Dr. Hartmut Schönell: We attach great importance to working with the processors.

Photos: Ulrich Schweizer Source: Malerblatt 08/2014