Reducing the amount of energy required to heat buildings - even eliminating the need for central heating altogether in some cases - can require a lot of mass. Walls in passive homes, like this newly certified brownstone in New York City, can reach upwards of two feet thick. BASF is developing a new insulating panel that is expected to be up to 50 percent thinner than similar panels, while delivering higher insulating properties. The company’s insulating panel incorporates organic aerogels for a strong, lightweight solution to better building envelopes with less mass. According to BASF, the panels will be highly adaptable and allow for more effective retrofits in historic buildings and interiors. The product also has potential applications in making more energy efficient refrigerators.

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