The amended National Building Regulations 2011 require fairly stringent interventions towards improving building energy efficiency, including building envelope insulation of new buildings and dwellings.
However, there is a massive stock of existing buildings which were designed and built without any particular focus on being energy efficient, in the days when our electricity was of the cheapest in the world. This circumstance made mechanical heating and cooling a viable economic choice, and insulation an expensive luxury.
We all know how that story ended. Electricity is a scarce and expensive resource, and we need to look elsewhere for ensuring our buildings contribute to our health, productivity and comfort.
Given that retro-fitting insulation in existing buildings to achieve an energy efficient building is excluded from current regulations, we can apply common sense and an economic cost/benefit approach to interventions for existing buildings. For this we need to understand the objectives.
Installing copious quantities of insulation does not necessarily result in lower building heating and cooling energy running costs. Insulation does not automatically reduce the cost of heating or cooling a space occupied by people, it is their own perceived comfort which dictates whether they want additional heating or cooling. Adding additional amounts of building insulation results in a diminishing return in terms of reducing the total thermal transmittance, (the more insulation you add, the less difference each added layer makes). Adding more insulation does add to the costs, and accordingly, the amount of time before you get your money back, if ever.
Granted, each building is unique in character, in location, orientation, occupation, build quality and purpose. No one size fits all. And the human beasties that occupy the building are different too! We know there are physiological differences in our response to temperature and perception of comfort, based on factors ranging from gender, age, activity levels, clothing choices, and many others.
So is there a common sense solution, now we have agreed there is infinite variability? What will make the most difference, to most people, most of the time?
You can start with your ceiling, and you probably need to add a thermal resistance, or R value of 1.5 m2K/W, which in our product is the equivalent of 40mm thickness IsoBoard.
If you have a perfectly good ceiling, there are many insulators you can choose from to insulate above the ceiling, though as these are mostly competitor products, they can tell you about them themselves.
If you want to replace a damaged or old ceiling, or remove the ceiling to utilise loft space, or simply install great insulation that will give you a thermally comfortable space to live and work in, safely and easily, which will last as long as the building will, you need to consider IsoBoard. If you are concerned about the possible effects of moisture on a ceiling in a room, IsoBoard is a great solution, being effectively waterproof. And, of course, it’s paintable.
Fitting IsoBoard directly below a damaged ceiling will add thermal comfort to a room, reducing heat flow through the roof system, without the time, cost, stress and mess of removing the existing one.
The insulated ceiling can be installed at a lower height than the existing, so as to reduce the volume of an area which is subject to heating or cooling. This is useful when adding a mezzanine office in a factory, for instance, or converting a warehouse space into a retail environment.
Adding insulation can also assist in creating a loft room in a home, utilising the space available in the roof cavity.
Please talk to one of our consultants the next time you feel you can improve your home or office space by adding the comfort of true temperature control.