References ⁄ Environmentally-compatible building with PAVATEX (F)
 
A first in France: 22 properties receive award for energy efficiency and sustainability

In a housing project in Saint Dié des Vosges, eastern France, a company called “Le Toit Vosgien” (“The Vosgian Roof”) has demonstrated once again that publicly-assisted housing can be friendly to the environment and to the occupants alike. The company opted for PAVATEX high-performance, wood fibre insulation boards to insulate the exterior of the 22 properties.

Founded in 1955, “Le Toit Vosgien” is a French company that specialises in publicly-assisted housing and maintains a rental park of currently over 2,300 apartments in 32 French communes. Most of the properties are located in the Saint Dié des Vosges area, where they are used mainly by local industry employees as publicly-assisted housing. 25 years ago, “Le Toit Vosgien” decided to build timber houses in a move aimed at achieving greater energy efficiency and environmental friendliness. The project was supported by politicians and the local building industry. Thus France’s first low-energy, multi-storey timber houses with a positive energy balance were built. The publicly-assisted housing specialists are currently engaged on a building project in the Les Toits de la Corvée district of Saint Dié des Vosges, a small town on the French-German border. Here, an estate with 22 low-energy timber houses will be ready by autumn 2009.

Sustainable insulation with PAVATEX

Until recently, the building site in Saint Dié des Vosges was occupied by five old houses built in 1956. Demolition of the properties paved the way for a building project designed to tick all the boxes in terms of forward-looking living. The aim of “Le Toit Vosgien” was to construct environmentally compatible houses which combine maximum energy efficiency with low ancillary rates, without ignoring factors such as economic efficiency and simplicity of finish. For this reason, the architect decided to use PAVATEX wood fibre insulation boards to insulate the exterior walls. The sloping, centrally located land on which the publicly-assisted timber housing was to be built restricted the architects’ freedom of design and posed a number of problems for the project owners, too. The building had to be accessible by people with disabilities, and the number of properties to be built meant that it was impossible to position all of them perfectly in terms of bioclimatic criteria.

PAVATEX-DIFFUTHERM protects from the outside

60 mm PAVATEX-DIFFUTHERM wood fibre boards were chosen as the insulation material for the exterior walls. An important attribute of PAVATEX-DIFFUTHERM is that it can be coated in a mineral-based paint that allows diffusion on both sides. PAVATEX-DIFFUTHERM can be attached directly to the timber frame and combines excellent acoustic properties with a healthy and comfortable interior climate. Thanks to its ability to absorb heat, it also protects against overheating in the summer months. On the inside, the interior walls of the timber frame were insulated using bonded solid wood boards (94 mm). The ground-floor facades were additionally provided with a layer of plaster, while the upper sections of the houses were given a cladding of 20 mm wood panels or clay tiles. The rainproof ISOROOF/ISOLAIR insulation system with boards made from natural wood fibre was used to ensure triple insulation of the facade and natural moisture exchange. “ISOROOF/ISOLAIR gives you additional acoustic benefits compared with conventional solutions using protective rain sheeting,” explains Christophe Beaussire, CEO of PAVATEX FRANCE SARL. “What’s more, ISOROOF/ISOLAIR eradicates the thermal bridges on the front of the timber frame and enhances summer comfort by preventing overheating.” ISOROOF/ISOLAIR is made from fresh off-cuts from sawmills and does not require any additional binding agents. The pressure-resistant wood fibre insulation boards also help regulate the ambient atmosphere of the buildings. The interior boards which demarcate extremely open-plan living quarters are made from plaster and cellulose, another environmentally compatible material. The combination of wood, clay tiles and mineral elements on the ground floor harmonises with the natural environment, while respecting the neighbouring urban architecture.

Renewable energy complements PAVATEX insulation

Besides the exterior insulation using PAVATEX-DIFFUTHERM and PAVATEX ISOROOF/ISOLAIR, the individual houses are equipped with a controlled, mechanical, dual-flow 2 kWh ventilation system and a water heater with a burner. The idea is that the water is heated before the air warms up. Only 4 m3 of wood a year is needed to heat a house and provide warm water. The 5 m2 of solar cells installed on the roof are used in the summer months and are sufficient to cover between 40 and 60 per cent of the house’s hot water requirements. For these reasons, the 22 timber houses were awarded the “Bâtiment Basse Consommation Effinergie” (BBC-Effinergie) seal of quality by the Directorate for Housing, Town Planning and Landscape in France, introduced in May 2007: a first in the country. And the numbers speak for themselves: each house “locks up” 25 tonnes of CO2, a one-off total of 550 tonnes for all 22 properties. Given that the properties are predicted to produce around 330 tonnes of CO2 themselves, we are left with a positive balance of 220 tonnes of “locked up” CO2, thus easing the burden on the environment.

Financial independence

Over-investment is the buzzword of “Le Toit Vosgien”. “We’re not talking about extra costs here, but rather about a form of over-investment underwritten entirely by “Le Toit Vosgien,” explains Jean-Luc Charrier, chief engineer of the French company. This is because future rents will stick to the agreed percentages. Jean-Luc Charrier continues: “The over-investment of around 10% of the total amount allows us to provide a healthy and comfortable place in which to live while providing independence from the expected increases in energy costs. Because the tenants of our publicly-assisted housing will be paying very low utility rates, we can avoid the painful rises in rents and ancillary costs we saw recently when the oil prices exploded.”

A first in France: 22 properties receive award for energy efficiency and sustainability

In a housing project in Saint Dié des Vosges, eastern France, a company called “Le Toit Vosgien” (“The Vosgian Roof”) has demonstrated once again that publicly-assisted housing can be friendly to the environment and to the occupants alike. The company opted for PAVATEX high-performance, wood fibre insulation boards to insulate the exterior of the 22 properties.

Founded in 1955, “Le Toit Vosgien” is a French company that specialises in publicly-assisted housing and maintains a rental park of currently over 2,300 apartments in 32 French communes. Most of the properties are located in the Saint Dié des Vosges area, where they are used mainly by local industry employees as publicly-assisted housing. 25 years ago, “Le Toit Vosgien” decided to build timber houses in a move aimed at achieving greater energy efficiency and environmental friendliness. The project was supported by politicians and the local building industry. Thus France’s first low-energy, multi-storey timber houses with a positive energy balance were built. The publicly-assisted housing specialists are currently engaged on a building project in the Les Toits de la Corvée district of Saint Dié des Vosges, a small town on the French-German border. Here, an estate with 22 low-energy timber houses will be ready by autumn 2009.

Sustainable insulation with PAVATEX

Until recently, the building site in Saint Dié des Vosges was occupied by five old houses built in 1956. Demolition of the properties paved the way for a building project designed to tick all the boxes in terms of forward-looking living. The aim of “Le Toit Vosgien” was to construct environmentally compatible houses which combine maximum energy efficiency with low ancillary rates, without ignoring factors such as economic efficiency and simplicity of finish. For this reason, the architect decided to use PAVATEX wood fibre insulation boards to insulate the exterior walls. The sloping, centrally located land on which the publicly-assisted timber housing was to be built restricted the architects’ freedom of design and posed a number of problems for the project owners, too. The building had to be accessible by people with disabilities, and the number of properties to be built meant that it was impossible to position all of them perfectly in terms of bioclimatic criteria.

PAVATEX-DIFFUTHERM protects from the outside

60 mm PAVATEX-DIFFUTHERM wood fibre boards were chosen as the insulation material for the exterior walls. An important attribute of PAVATEX-DIFFUTHERM is that it can be coated in a mineral-based paint that allows diffusion on both sides. PAVATEX-DIFFUTHERM can be attached directly to the timber frame and combines excellent acoustic properties with a healthy and comfortable interior climate. Thanks to its ability to absorb heat, it also protects against overheating in the summer months. On the inside, the interior walls of the timber frame were insulated using bonded solid wood boards (94 mm). The ground-floor facades were additionally provided with a layer of plaster, while the upper sections of the houses were given a cladding of 20 mm wood panels or clay tiles. The rainproof ISOROOF/ISOLAIR insulation system with boards made from natural wood fibre was used to ensure triple insulation of the facade and natural moisture exchange. “ISOROOF/ISOLAIR gives you additional acoustic benefits compared with conventional solutions using protective rain sheeting,” explains Christophe Beaussire, CEO of PAVATEX FRANCE SARL. “What’s more, ISOROOF/ISOLAIR eradicates the thermal bridges on the front of the timber frame and enhances summer comfort by preventing overheating.” ISOROOF/ISOLAIR is made from fresh off-cuts from sawmills and does not require any additional binding agents. The pressure-resistant wood fibre insulation boards also help regulate the ambient atmosphere of the buildings. The interior boards which demarcate extremely open-plan living quarters are made from plaster and cellulose, another environmentally compatible material. The combination of wood, clay tiles and mineral elements on the ground floor harmonises with the natural environment, while respecting the neighbouring urban architecture.

Renewable energy complements PAVATEX insulation

Besides the exterior insulation using PAVATEX-DIFFUTHERM and PAVATEX ISOROOF/ISOLAIR, the individual houses are equipped with a controlled, mechanical, dual-flow 2 kWh ventilation system and a water heater with a burner. The idea is that the water is heated before the air warms up. Only 4 m3 of wood a year is needed to heat a house and provide warm water. The 5 m2 of solar cells installed on the roof are used in the summer months and are sufficient to cover between 40 and 60 per cent of the house’s hot water requirements. For these reasons, the 22 timber houses were awarded the “Bâtiment Basse Consommation Effinergie” (BBC-Effinergie) seal of quality by the Directorate for Housing, Town Planning and Landscape in France, introduced in May 2007: a first in the country. And the numbers speak for themselves: each house “locks up” 25 tonnes of CO2, a one-off total of 550 tonnes for all 22 properties. Given that the properties are predicted to produce around 330 tonnes of CO2 themselves, we are left with a positive balance of 220 tonnes of “locked up” CO2, thus easing the burden on the environment.

Financial independence

Over-investment is the buzzword of “Le Toit Vosgien”. “We’re not talking about extra costs here, but rather about a form of over-investment underwritten entirely by “Le Toit Vosgien,” explains Jean-Luc Charrier, chief engineer of the French company. This is because future rents will stick to the agreed percentages. Jean-Luc Charrier continues: “The over-investment of around 10% of the total amount allows us to provide a healthy and comfortable place in which to live while providing independence from the expected increases in energy costs. Because the tenants of our publicly-assisted housing will be paying very low utility rates, we can avoid the painful rises in rents and ancillary costs we saw recently when the oil prices exploded.”