Taking an innovative approach to achieving U-values
Taking an innovative approach as part of a whole building solution to achieve U-values can not only meet or exceed Building Regulation and prevent heat loss, but also improve design and build efficiencies offering an overall superior result. Annemarie Shotton, Category Group Manager for insulation at CCF, discusses methods of insulating walls and the benefits new products are bringing to market.
When it comes to insulating a new-build, materials change of use or refurbishment project; architects, specifiers and building contractors all know the importance of adhering to the Building Regulations. In particular, when focussing on meeting U-values, in accordance with Approved Document Part L (Conservation of Fuel and Power) there are a lot of products and construction methods to consider for roof, floor and wall solutions. Choosing products that maximise the effectiveness of performance, are easy to install and make the best use of space, is essential especially when every inch of the build area counts. In particular, wall insulation has a wealth of gain to be made if chosen with care.
Modern methods of construction
Meeting and even exceeding U-value specifications is very important as failure to do so will have serious repercussions on building conformity, energy usage and the comfort of occupants. There are lots of different methods and construction types available, with each product and method differing from the next. This is where expert advice at the planning stages can help towards generating the best overall U-value and ensure the space is used to its full potential.
Building external walls with cavities that can be filled with insulation, whether partially filled or fully filled, has been the method of choice for a number of years now. Insulation innovations on the market, have been developed in-line with this method, to include higher performance insulation offering either thinner insulation to achieve the same U-value or improved performance at traditional thicknesses.
This is important to factor at the specification and planning stages as it allows architects and builders even greater design freedom while still achieving the desired U-value. This is because choosing products carefully will help to maintain the ideal cavity size of around 100mm. Any larger and this can impact the plot size of the building and other product details too, which can then encroach on precious internal living or working space. The added benefit of cavity wall insulation is that it can also be an acoustic insulator, protecting the building from letting in unwanted exterior and interior noise.
For older builds whereby a solid wall has been constructed and doesn’t allow for cavity wall insulation, external wall insulation (EWI) and cladding solutions are increasingly available as is a range of internal wall insulation (IWI) solutions that can be added to help reduce heat loss and improve efficiency. To maximise energy efficiency further, it is recommended that the roof and floors are also insulated as part of a whole building solution.
Importantly, choosing a reputable manufacturer will mean specification support is always available. This will ensure that the most appropriate insulation product to meet the set U- values is always recommended, with added thought around Building Regulations. Innovative products for example, the Kingspan Kooltherm Lower Lambda product range can offer a reduced thickness of insulation to achieve the desired U-value or air tightness solutions to help control airflow through a building, can make all the difference.
Getting to grips with U-value calculations and wider support will also be guaranteed when choosing a quality manufacturer and distributor. CCF has a wide range of insulation expertise and product support available in branches or through its dedicated insulation sales team.
Whether a new-build project or bringing Britain’s ageing building stock up to date, the insulation options on the market will energy fit buildings, which can deliver heat and monetary savings throughout the life of the property. It is down to architects, specifiers and building contractors now to take advantage of the products available on the market to create better insulated and more efficient solutions to meet the building requirements.