News

Home comfort for the elderly
By Knauf Australia on September 09, 2015

In old age we deserve a home that’s warm, comfortable and inexpensive to heat. It was this simple human need that inspired our team at Krupka in the Czech Republic to launch a €300,000 project to refurbish a block of 42 apartments occupied by retired people in the town of Krupka.

Krupka plant’s spirit of Partnership transforms the lives of local retirees with a 300,000 renovation.

In old age we deserve a home that’s warm, comfortable and inexpensive to heat. It was this simple human need that inspired our team at Krupka in the Czech Republic to launch a €300,000 project to refurbish a block of 42 apartments occupied by retired people in the town of Krupka.

The result of the renovation was that the building’s energy consumption was cut by two thirds and residents now enjoy a more comfortable retirement with less of their pension being spent on heating.

“We have been supporting the residents in this building since 2008. Volunteers at the plant and from Prague have been giving them computer and internet lessons, for example, and we also helped raise money to expand their library,” says Jan Brázda, plant manager of Krupka plant.

“But during our visits it became obvious that the quality of the building’s thermal efficiency was very poor due to old concrete panels, poor quality insulation and badly fitting doors and windows.”

As a result, the Krupka team, supported by Eastern Europe Public Affairs Director Ondřej Šrámek, decided to launch a major renovation project entitled ‘A Passive House For Active Seniors’. Joining forces with EkoWatt, our Green Building Council partner, the team carried out an energy audit and planned the refurbishment. Support was also provided by some of the more technically experienced residents at the apartment block — some of which remembered plant manager Jan Brázda as a boy and insisted on calling him “Little Jan”.

Work on the refurbishment started in April 2015 and was completed five months later. Based on the study initiated by Knauf Insulation and EkoWatt, Krupka Town Hall met 25% of the cost and funding was released from the Operational Programme Environment.

The project was completed to a high standard and featured Rock Mineral Wool for the façade — rather than polystyrene — offering excellent levels of fire safety, an important consideration for elderly residents in case of an emergency evacuation. The heat transfer coefficient (U-Value) of the building's envelope was reduced by almost two thirds from 2.04 to 0.79W/m2K as a result and the building moved from band F to band C in terms of national energy efficiency rating.

“I was always astonished by how many activities were organised at this apartment block for the people living there, but how little attention was paid to their home comfort,” says Jan Brázda. “We had a great opportunity to improve their lives and save their pension money by reducing the energy costs of their home.”

Krupka plant is involved in a wide range of project in the local community including grant schemes for community projects; sponsorship of schools and non-profit groups; refurbishment of Krupka Castle; the revitalisation of Krupka’s central park; annual social and sports events and volunteering in the community.