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Gutex, BAU 2019, wood fibre insulation, insulation, wood fibre, redensification, building refurbishment, micro-architecture, renovation, ecological building materials, timber construction

Insulation in times of ecological awareness: Project examples with wood fibre insulation

Located in the border triangle of Germany, Switzerland and France, Gutex describes itself as a pioneer of environmentally-friendly insulation in Europe. For more than 85 years, Gutex has been producing insulating materials from wood sourced from sustainably-managed forests near its production plant. Over time, the raw material has not changed, but processing techniques and constructional properties have been steadily optimised. The result: insulation solutions made of wood fibres for facades, roofs and interiors whose ecological awareness is confirmed by a series of environmental, healthy living and sustainability certificates.

Wood facade and wood fibre insulation that promote nature conservation work
Various references show the range of possible applications, which are focused in particular, but not exclusively on timber construction. At the end of 2018, for example, Braun + Müller Architekten from Konstanz created a multifunctional building for the German Nature Conservation Association. In addition to offices, the NABU Bodensee Center in Konstanz also houses exhibition areas, a workshop for landscape conservation and a living area for volunteers. The centre for excellence for nature conservation work consists of two separate buildings whose facades are characterised by domestic fir wood and glass surfaces. The construction work was carried out by Ettwein Holzbau. Only wood fibre insulating materials were used for the ventilated facade and the interior fittings.

Redensification in timber construction in Weimar
For an apartment building in Weimar, local company Koop Architekten und Ingenieure opted for solid wood construction and mainly ecological building materials. The timber construction work was carried out by Pfeiffer from Remptendorf. The new building, which since January 2018 has housed four families on 120m2 respectively, stands on the site of a 3-storey building with a tower destroyed in 1945. The cubic structure with its heterogeneous facade cladding transforms the Südstadt monument ensemble into a contemporary architectural language. The jury of the Thuringian State Prize for Engineering Services, which awarded the special prize for timber construction to the property in 2017, ruled: "Not only are all the load-bearing and stiffening parts made of wood, the used insulation is also made of ecological wood fibre insulation. In this structure, sustainability and ecology are systematically implemented. Through the external plaster facade, the new cubic building, broken up by protruding projections, harmoniously blends into the melange."

Wood fibre insulation for renovation and refurbishment projects
Two projects in Berlin and in the southern Black Forest show the potential of wood fibre insulation in existing projects. On the one hand, wood fibre insulation was used in the ecological roof renovation of a Berlin building dating from the late 19th century. The so-called Berlin roof, a modification of the pent roof, represents with its steep side inclines between flat-pitched roofs a challenge for planners and craftsmen alike. In order to make the previously unventilated flat roof usable in the Berlin project, the roof was fitted with a moisture-variable vapour barrier and ecological wood fibre cavity frame insulation together with PIR insulation as a fire-protection-compliant closure. Thus, an ecological and at the same time robust roof construction was realised, as required by the client.

When converting a guesthouse into a health centre in Witznau in southern Germany, securing a healthy indoor climate was considered of paramount importance. In addition, the appearance of the historic facade as well as the roof beam construction inside was to be preserved as far as possible. To this end, Gutex's RAL-certified internal insulation system was used. Heat transfer through the outer wall is already slowed down on the room side and thus eliminates the risk of condensation in the masonry. For the insulation of the roof as well as the floors, wood fibre insulating materials were also used as sheet material and as cavity insulation.

Wood fibre-insulated microarchitecture
The ecological insulation material can even be integrated into small-scale projects, as the project Tiny House in Berlin by Isabelle Tellié shows. Here, wood fibre insulating materials were used for the roof, floor and ceiling. The Berlin artist, who works at the interface between innovative technology, sculpture and construction, undertook the design and development of her own 16-m2 micro-apartment herself. The result is a sculptural wooden construction sized 6 x 2.5 x 4m, which according to Tellié has been implemented with the latest technology and using sustainable construction methods at low cost. Moreover, the minimal living space is mounted on a mobile frame borrowed from shipbuilding, so that another aspect of contemporary urban life, mobility, is taken into account.

At BAU 2019, Gutex will present its repertoire of insulation materials and system solutions. These include, for example, the Ultratherm rigid underlay which allows for a joint-free installation with a tongue-and-groove connection for a continuous roof level. According to the manufacturer, the geometry of the patented edge profile means particularly high weather protection. Another topic at the fair will be fire protection and the possibility of using wood soft fibre insulation in multi-storey timber construction. Gutex's stand can be found in Hall B5, Stand 302.

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