This is what climate protection looks like.

A good climate pays off.

Thrifty Number-Crunchers Keep Their Cool


The European Commission's Directorate-General for Energy and Transport forecasts that energy consumption for air-conditioning units will double between now and 2020. Yet half of the expected rise could be offset by improved energy efficiency in buildings, the forecast goes on to say. At the same time, the European Union undertook upon signing the Kyoto Protocol to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by eight percent between 2008 and 2012. To do so, the EU member states are establishing minimum performance requirements for the energy efficiency of new and existing buildings. Compliance with these requirements will be regularly tested. This presents a challenge for architects who have to meet these goals by using innovative building materials.

„The heat is on. The heat is …… ON ," the pop song belts out on the radio. True enough, outside the midday sun has reached its height. But here, in the foyer of the Hans Börner company, it's pleasantly cool. "That wasn't always the case," reports Armin W. Schulze, Purchasing Manager at Hans Börner GmbH & Co.KG. This German company is one of the biggest manufacturers of PLEXIGLAS® light domes. "When the light domes in our office were still made of conventional plastic, the heat on sunny days was almost unbearable," Mr. Schulze recalls. That is why the building's 15 light domes were replaced this year. The new ones are made of PLEXIGLAS HEATSTOP®, a special material that reflects sunlight and substantially reduces heat buildup. "The ladies at the reception desk are particularly pleased, because it was often far too hot in the foyer, with its big light domes, despite the air conditioning," Mr. Schulze says.

The employees are not the only ones to benefit from the new light domes - the company also saves on electricity for air conditioning. "We used to have the air conditioning going at full blast. But not even that was enough on really hot days. With PLEXIGLAS HEATSTOP® there is much less need for cooling, and we certainly notice the difference in our electricity bills," Mr. Schulze explains. This is an aspect that is set to become more important still in the future. Energy prices continue to rise, as numerous studies have shown. "We already had good experience with PLEXIGLAS HEATSTOP® in the past. We have had a barrel vault made from this material over our office for several years and are very satisfied with it. So in view of rising electricity prices, it made sense for us to exchange the light domes too."
A further benefit is that PLEXIGLAS HEATSTOP® very effectively diffuses existing light, so there is no need for artificial lighting in the rooms either. That means no unnecessary heat is produced by the light source, and no further power is needed. The effective heat shield therefore cuts costs in the long term. At the same time, the low energy consumption reduces carbon emissions, making an important contribution to climate protection. A contribution that pays off for the companies concerned.

PLEXIGLAS HEATSTOP® reflects 68 percent of infrared sunlight, as compared with conventional acrylic, which only reflects 36 percent. In comparison with standard light domes, the heat buildup in rooms equipped with PLEXIGLAS HEATSTOP® is reduced by around 50 percent, as stated in a study conducted by the Institute for Lighting and Structural Engineering at Cologne University of Applied Sciences.

Owners of existing buildings can switch to PLEXIGLAS HEATSTOP® just as easily as owners of new buildings. This is a factor that also pays off for private customers, to whom Hans Börner has already sold about 500 light domes made of PLEXIGLAS HEATSTOP®. "Customers are especially impressed if they formerly had clear double-glazed light domes made of conventional plastic on their roofs, and then switch to milky-white, opaque triple glazing made of PLEXIGLAS HEATSTOP®. This makes an enormous difference in room temperature," Mr. Schulze reports. The specialists at Hans Börner manufacture tailormade new domes for every kind of building requirement. The flat PLEXIGLAS® sheets are thermoformed to the required shape. "We heat the sheets until they are about as floppy as a wet towel," Mr. Schulze says. Then the contour of the outer frame is established. It can be round, oval or polygonal. Finally, the highest point of the dome (pitch or vertex) is defined. Then the softened sheet is expanded by means of compressed air to provide the desired form. Holes for screw fastening are made so that they fit into the existing clamping frame. 

Mr. Schulze tells us that the main requirement for PLEXIGLAS HEATSTOP® is in factory units and assembly halls. But the material is also an interesting solution for office buildings. In view of rising energy prices and the planned energy performance certificate for buildings, Mr. Schulze expects a growing demand for PLEXIGLAS HEATSTOP® in this sector. "It is becoming more and more important to save energy, so architects will have to focus on more energy-efficient construction. If architects come to us in the planning phase, they can save a lot of money by implementing the heat-shield concept. We can then recommend the least expensive standard size for the required application," Mr. Schulze says. He also expects rising demand on the private market once the EU energy performance certificate has become obligatory: "When a new heat insulation regulation for roofs was enforced a few years ago, the sales figures for triple and quadruple glazing rocketed. The same thing might well happen as regards heat shielding," Schulze predicts.

Product brochure as PDF:
Energy-Saving Heat Shield for Factory Units and Office Buildings with PLEXIGLAS HEATSTOP®. Download PDF

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