Today’s thermal insulation techniques

The different properties of different insulation materials

Sprayed polyurethane foam (as the name suggests) is an insulation technique that is applied to the surface in sprayed form. It can be used to various types of buildings, residential or commercial alike. Sprayed polyurethane foam is a plastic insulation foam that is applied in a liquid form then it expands up to 100 times to its original volume, creating an excellent airtight layer of insulation. Sprayed foam insulation can be used in many different forms, from soft/half-rigid to high density roof insulating foam that can withstand the weight of a person as well.injection, insulation works background

This technology is capable of not only filling gaps, but due to the specially developed two-component material it uses, it also creates a perfect thermal and damp insulation layer. It is applied with an industrial machine that can only be operated with the appropriate qualification. The foam is applied to the surface with a high-pressure spray gun, this creates a perfect insulating layer, that will fill the tiniest gaps as well. As the spraying method is continuous we will be able to create a homogenous layer.

Sprayed foam is applied with a pressure between 150-200 kPa, ensuring the aforementioned continuous layer, therefore the resulting insulation value will be excellent. Insulation boards are incapable of preventing condensation or maintaining surface temperature, this can only be achieved by closed-cell foam that will not absorb heat from its surfaces, eliminating heat bridges – creating perfect insulation between the external and internal space.

Types of sprayed foams:spray foam instalation

1.Closed-cell foam

Has very tight structure, creates much denser and more rigid layer than the open-cell foam.

Recommended application: on surfaces where thermal and damp insulation would both be necessary (e.g. screed where traditionally thermal insulation is installed on top of damp insulation), however closed-cell foam can replace these two layers by itself. (find further details here) Also by footing walls where both thermal insulation and damp proofing are indispensable, facades or roofs where the thermal insulation is exposed to humid air, internal/external underground insulation where the humidity is present in the surrounding soil. Poliurea can create a 100% water tight layer.

2. Open-cell foam1

This is less dense foam than the closed-cell. Has a better thermal insulating value than the closed-cell foam, however it is not watertight. Can be applied to any kind of surface and will eliminate draft. Excess material (once the foam is cured) is easy to cut so the surface is prepared for installing drywall. Its features are quick application, short curing time and no heat leakage.

Recommended application: internal insulation of roofs. Also for insulating cavity walls, internal walls (used for its sound-proofing feature), and joists above fitted ceilings. Insulating light gauge frame buildings’ walls, joists and various other areas in industrial buildings.

3. Poliurea coat/cover2

Poliurea is an excellent coating/covering system that is very versatile in application. Its most common application is for creating a watertight layer on concrete and steel structures, but it also acts as wear-proof coating. Its biggest advantages are fast application, versatility and excellent material properties. It is usually applied in sprayed form but it can be injected or poured as well. Because of its excellent physical properties it is used to coat/cover surfaces that need to withstand extreme wear. The application of poliurea coating has increased by 70% in the last 5 years in Europe because of its outstanding properties and versatility.

Recommended application: insulating flat roofs and pools due to its water tightness, UV resistance, flexibility, wear resistance and its ability to withstand chemicals. Also can be used for waterproofing basements, fixing ruptured pipes or covering balconies, terraces. Combining it with closed-cell foam we can achieve excellent thermal insulation and water tightness.

As always, do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or just feel like sharing your thoughts.

(Quote the following code in your enquiry and we grant you a 10% discount of the price of your next project! NTIT)

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Ecobuild Expo 2016 – 2. – Conclusion

Ecobuild 2016, ExCel – London – The conclusion

Ecobuild 2016 logoWhat makes a house eco? – Eco means economical, environment-friendly, low-emission.

What will ensure a house is eco? – Briefly: good EPC rating. The better the EPC rating is (B, A or A+) the more eco the building is. (More details about EPC ratings in our previous articles.)

Why is it beneficial for a property owner to build an eco-building, or to refurbish the current one eco-consciously? – Because it is a financially profitable investment.

We will elaborate this topic later in our blog.

Ecobuild 2016 - epc imageThe main steps of an energy-conscious refurbishment project:

  • Initial diagnostics of the current building (ascertainment of the starting state)
  • Detailed planning of the refurbishment (materials to be used, technologies, budget)
  • Estimating the operational costs of the upgraded house (savings will be foreseeable)
  • Calculating the break-even point of the invested amount (on the basis of the previous two points)
  • Strictly supervised implementation of the design – daily reports
  • EPC surveying – product evaluation

Let us deal with the second to fourth bullet points, as those are the most important ones for a home owner.

Cost-effective eco-conscious refurbishments include:

  • Damp-proofing walls where they are surrounded by wet soil
  • Complete thermal insulation of the building (walls, loft, flooring, etc.)
  • Installation of energy-efficient heating and ventilation systems
  • Installation of energy-efficient lighting and household appliances
  • Installation of appliances using renewable energy sources (e.g. solar panels)

This list is in respective order in regards to installation AND importance as well.

You might say that the prologue ended up being a little too detailed. Well, believe me it was necessary in order to see the big picture clearly.

Considering the above mentioned list, I have to say, not many companies built their range of products and services on the issue at hand; the improvement of the existing buildings that are in rather bad shape (damp-proofing, thermal insulation).

^3401AF009F3A873C11D2EBEF0B48F44C4600DDBA593C347075^pimgpsh_fullsize_distrMy main point is this: there has to be a certain logic and order in improving a building’s energy-efficiency. You cannot skip steps, cut corners and expect that the result will be the same. Installing solar panels, while the building is still damp or poorly insulated will have little effect on its EPC rating. And have we considered the number of sunny hours in the UK compared to the humidity. Which one do you think is more common?

A house with good EPC rating is so much more than „eco”. It is healthier and more valuable as well. Let us not forget that.

If you wish to gain the most benefits from your investment, do not hesitate to ask for our advice!

We would still like to hear from you, so do keep sharing your thoughts, remarks, critiques even.

And ask for our on-site diagnostics that is still free in March.

(Quote the following code in your enquiry and we grant you a 10% discount of the price of your next project! NECOB2)

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Ecobuild Expo 2016 – 1. – First impressions

Ecobuild 2016, ExCel – London

Ecobuild 2016 logoOur company finds it important – no, vital to utilize today’s energy efficient and economical building materials, solutions and technologies, therefore we went to this year’s EcoBuild Expo with high expectations (not as an exhibitor but as a visitor).

I would like to emphasize that the thoughts in this article are based on a single day visit to the Ecobuild Expo, it is not a description of the event as a whole. We leave that to the organisers.

Our initial impression after the first few minutes was positive. Although it was the last day of the event, the turn-out was relatively high, the appearance of the stands were spectacular, and we got to listen into some interesting lectures from forward thinking people as well. The fact that the exhibition hall was completely occupied by exhibitors shows how many companies feel it is important to participate in an event such as this. The main purpose for the exhibitors was to build business relationships and make themselves recognised on the field of economical building.

My colleague and myself tried to focus on companies that work on the same field as us; we tried to engage in casual conversations with representative of other companies, get to know their perspectives, sharing stories, experiences. The day went past really fast; it happens when people with mutual interest get to pick each others brains a little bit, altough we did not want to hold up anybody for too long.

Ecobuild 2016 conferenceOn our way home we discussed our impressions, thoughts about the event.

The high number of companies focusing on solar energy and installation of solar panels is definitely something worth mentioning. To be honest, this creates mixed feelings in me, but please allow me to circle back to this topic in the second part of the article.

On the Ecobuild Expo we found also a relatively high number of companies that emphasized the importance of engineering appliances, such as heating systems, ventilation systems or waste-water management systems.

We did feel however that the whole idea of „Ecobuild” (economical building technologies and solutions) should have brought more attention to one key element: thermal insulation (energy-conscious building). Sadly other than a few insulation manufacturer companies we did not find small and middle size businesses who wanted to show themselves or the technologies they use.

Please allow me to elaborate my opinion on how this can affect the building industry in the future, and what kind of message this conveys.

To be continued….

We would still like to hear from you, so do keep sharing your thoughts, remarks, critiques even.

And ask for our on-site diagnostics that is still free in March.

(Quote the following code in your enquiry and we grant you a 10% discount of the price of your next project! NECOB1)

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About our articles in the “Blog” tab

First of all I would like to thank you for all the positive comments, feedbacks on our articles.

Let me reply to that most common question that we receive.

“Who writes our articles and how is it that the discussed topic (though being quite professional) is so easy to read?”

  • Eco news articlesOur “blog” was / is / will be intended to be a “News” tab that communicates useful information to our customers.
  • The articles are not written by a freelance copywriter.
  • They are written by the diagnostic engineer of our company (who also happens to be the director of the company) using his own experiences, expertise.
  • We aim to use “layman terms” where possible, the articles are intended to give customers, non-professionals relevant information about economical building solutions.
  • Prior to publishing the articles are revised by a non-professional (just to make sure every bit of information “reaches” our readers the right way).
  • The main idea is to help the decision making process of our customers; we aim to provide enough information so the topic is readable, understandable yet not too “dry”
  • Also we noticed that by having these information our customers have a better understanding of the refurbishment / extension project ahead of them.
  • These articles will provide a picture about us as well, about our ideas and expertise.
  • Often we will aim to destroy some of the “ancient”, false ideas of building (e.g. mould treatment) – we believe in the success of our method.

We would still like to hear from you, so do keep sharing your thoughts, remarks, critiques even.

And ask for our on-site diagnostics that is still free in March.

(Quote the following code in your enquiry and we grant you a 10% discount of the price of your next project! NART1)

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Let’s talk EPC 4.

How to improve your home’s EPC rating

In the previous part we talked about what important pieces of information we can learn from a property’s EPC certificate. If you have read all 3 previous parts of this article series, by now you are aware that a building’s EPC rating does not necessarily depend on the age of the building or when it was last refurbished.

Epc- planingHow can you turn your house into a healthy, economical, energy efficient home, or how can you make nearly double the profit when selling your property?

As we said in the previous part, a property’s market value can be increased by approx. 15-20% by refurbishing it (regardless of its EPC improvement). Taken into account the invested amount (the cost of the refurbishment) one will realise a profit of 6-8%; in some cases this may be as high as 10%.

Below you can see some of the added benefits of economical refurbishment:

  • Healthy building, (mould-free environment – can mean 10 extra years)
  • Economical operation of the building, you can save up to 50% on utility bills
  • Better EPC rating means another 8-15% increase in the market value – this can almost be converted into profit completely (total profit after economical refurbishment: 16-18%)
  • Reduced carbon footprint (less energy required) – environmentally friendly building
  • Increased comfort level
  • The property will be on higher demand, will sell quicker, easier
  • A well-planned scheduled refurbishment means saving time and money – a highly profitable investment that creates additional value

The increase in the EPC rating can be predicted when the refurbishment process is planned thoroughly, consciously.

epc - main steps of refurbishmentThe main steps are:

  • On-site inspection, diagnostics
  • Energetic calculations, project preparation, implementation schedule
  • Strict supervision in implementation, daily documented progress
  • Quality checked materials and technologies
  • Attention to deadlines
  • Accountability upon and after completion – even for the structure
  • Ordering new EPC certificate from independent firm
  • Repeated survey (if required), even for control purposes

As always, do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or just feel like sharing your thoughts.

(Quote the following code in your enquiry and we grant you a 10% discount of the price of your next project! NLTE4)

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Let’s talk EPC 3.

EPC rating in relation to comfort level

First of all, let me thank you for showing your interest in this rather dry but absolutely vital topic. EPC rating cannot be ignored during today’s energy prices and pollution.

  • Is your house due for a renovation? Would you like to make it cosier?
  • Would you like to sell your house quicker with bigger profit?
  • Or you have just purchased one, and you would like to redecorate it prior to moving in?

If you are in any of the above three groups, you should definitely keep reading.

High EPC rating property on the market

Everybody knows that renovating a house will increase its value (if done properly). Depending on its location and the quality of the material used during the refurbishment project, a property’s market value can go up by an average 15-20%. We can safely say that two adjacent, similar-sized houses (one of which has just been refurbished) will sell with a minimum difference of 15% in price. If the renovation included a heating system upgrade as well, your EPC rating may go up by a few points, but the house is likely to remain at the same EPC level. It is because this change has not been done purposefully to improve the EPC rating, it just so happened to improve it. The amount invested in the refurbishment will not bring the desired improvement in EPC rating. For example EPC 68, the score mentioned in our previous article, can be increased by 5-6 points only by having an upgraded heating system. With that, we can achieve Level C rating in EPC, but other main features of the building have not been changed, so the building is still uneconomical. The only difference is, now it is uneconomical with a modern heating system installed.

A modern, economical heating system should be the solution to all these problems, wouldn’t you say? After turning on the heating, the house should get warm quicker, and the fact that the unheated areas of the house (lounge, hall, kitchen, etc.) get cold during the night should not bother us at all. Isn’t that right?

mould

  • What one probably does not realise while staying inside the house: a significant part of the heating energy escapes through the poorly insulated walls, floors (remember, we are talking about a house with level C or D EPC rating) – this is very uneconomical.
  • No matter how efficient your heating system is, because of the high humidity and the damp cold walls, mould will appear in the corners. Your home is a little more modern now, but it is still an unhealthy environment.
  • Most of our customers wanted us to look into the following issues: draught (around the windows even “through” the walls, but most commonly through the floors) they can feel the chilly effects of the cold wind inside their houses. This happens because of the ventilated flooring. This system is still used today, although it is a faulty concept.

A modern heating system on its own is not able to tackle the above mentioned issues. Now you have a nicely refurbished home, with a fairly modern heating system that still does not provide the comfort level you are after.

Unfortunately these factors that ruin the comfort level are present in the new properties as well. It is very hard to face the fact, for new property owners that even though they have just purchased a new home, they will still need to invest more money into it in order to turn it into a cosy home.

thermal image

Before you purchase a new house or flat make sure to check its EPC diagram. It will tell you everything you need to know about the building (energy efficiency-wise). If the rating is below 75, you can be almost certain that you shall live with mould. And no, painting will not solve the problem. The problem originates from the structure of the house. Even if your EPC score is between 75-85 you are likely to have mould in your house. Poor ventilation, cold surfaces and the ever present humidity, together can result in mould occurrence.

It can be very upsetting when in order to resolve all of  these issues, one needs to spend an extra 8-10% of the price of a recently purchased property.

Ask for our expert advice, calculate and you will see, it will be worth investing money in order to save money. When it came to valuable properties, it used to be location, location, location. Now, it is more like EPC, EPC, EPC.

It is still not the end, in our next article we will talk about why it is important to carry out diagnostics prior to purchasing a property and how to solve all these issues related to poor EPC rating.

To be continued…

(Quote the following code in your enquiry and we grant you a 10% discount of the price of your next project! NLTE3)

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Let’s talk EPC 2.

EPC rating
EPC rating diagram sample

In the first part of the article we tried to provide a general overview about Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). Today we are going to explain what different ratings mean, and how they affect our everyday life.

To demonstrate these effects, we chose a home with the most common EPC rating on the British market. The diagram below belongs to such a house.

diagram about-uk-domestic-EPC-rating

The EPC rating is 68 (level D). Most homes in the UK have a rating between 55 and 75, so we can say this example represents an average UK home. Now is this value good or not? I know I said this was an average value, so I might shock a few readers now when I say this value is very low. To tell you the truth only 2% of the British homes have a level B or higher rating.

Having today’s technologies and materials at our disposal it seems to me that this value is just not good enough. Although the climate varies on a large scale throughout Europe (think about the Mediterranean, Greece, Spain, Portugal and the northern countries such as Norway or Sweden) they manage to have a better overall rating in domestic EPC rating than the UK, regardless of their climate. This is because of the physical features of the buildings, the materials and technologies used, therefore the operations of the buildings are much more economical there (average EPC rating in Europe 75-80, in Germany this value is 85). Sadly the UK is significantly behind these countries in terms of domestic energy consumption.

The importance of thermal insulation started to become a factor in Europe since the ‘70s, whereas in the UK, energy efficient building technologies have only just started to be of high demand.

This results in quite significant arrears. We can still catch up to the leading European countries (in terms of high EPC rating domestic buildings), but we have to consciously design the new buildings and also plan the refurbishment projects.

The meaning of EPC rating 68:eco EPC rating A

  • cold, draughty floor
  • damp house
  • mould occurrence in corners, around windows, behind cupboards or in the bathroom – unhealthy environment
  • the changes in the outer temperature is perceptible inside the house even next to constant heating
  • high energy bills, high pollution emission

These conditions can easily be improved by professional diagnostics and the usage of modern building materials. Upgrading the windows to double-glazed or triple-glazed will not be sufficient on its own (it is a start nonetheless). To upgrade your house’s EPC rating to level “B” is easily achievable if you plan your next refurbishment project thoroughly and energy consciously – and it does not have to cost more!

How is this possible? What are the costs and how quickly will such an investment show financial return? We will elaborate these in our next article.

As usual, please feel free to share your comments, own experiences or relevant stories you may have.

To be continued…

(Quote the following code in your enquiry and we grant you a 10% discount of the price of your next project! NLTE2)

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Let’s talk EPC 1.

What does EPC mean?

EPC rating 1

In this article we will try to help you understand what EPC means furthermore what it means in regards to your property. It is the mandatory document that goes with every property sale; EPC stands for Energy Performance Certificate.

It basically shows you how economical a building is. But what does it tell you exactly?

It is a classification that is based on a pre-determined scale (A – G, “A” being the most economical category). The categories are determined by direct measurable factors and indirect calculations.

The two most important factors are:

  • The measure of energy required to maintain a certain temperature inside the building
  • The thermal storage capacity of the building (calculated from its physical features)

These two factors are absolutely independent from one another. We can maintain 20°C in a room by either

  • Little usage of the heating system, but in a building with excellent thermal storage capacity
  • Or with massive energy consumption (constant heating) in a poorly insulated building

EPC illustration

In both cases we would be sitting in a 20°C – room; so the result would be the same, yet what a difference in the energy consumption.

But the biggest difference is this: Let’s assume we turn down the heating in the living room for the night. In the first case (well-insulated room, excellent thermal storage capacity, high EPC ranking), not only, will the air  remain a pleasant 20°C in the morning, but also all the solid objects (floor, walls,  furniture, etc.) will not get cold. Whereas in the second case (poor insulation, poor thermal storage capacity, poor EPC ranking), we will definitely need a sweater till we have our first tea in the morning.

We are yet to highlight all the financial benefits that you can enjoy by having an economical home, with high EPC ranking. You can read about the costs of such an investment and the break-even time in our next article. Also we will explain the meaning of the different categories, e.g. what it means to have a home that is classed “D” in its Energy Performance Certificate.

In the meantime browse through our website for more interesting articles about insulation and heating technology, or contact us with any questions you may have.

To be continued…

 (Quote the following code in your enquiry and we grant you a 10% discount of the price of your next project! NLTE1)

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Advantages of steel frame building structure

Lightweight steel frame structure building system

house structureWhen customers plan to build a new house, or extend their existing one, our focus is always on satisfying their requirements. We examine their ideas of the number and the sizes of the rooms and their practicality. After thorough discussions, having learnt as much as possible about their needs, we recommend the most suitable materials. Choosing the right structural system is one of the most technical and most vital part of designing a house, therefore taking a professional’s guidance on this topic is indispensable. It is the engineer’s responsibility to make sure that the recommended technology suits your needs the best. Here are some of the numerous advantages of lightweight steel frame structure over the traditional brick or timber structure.metal frame building structure

  •  Easy planning, excellent dimensional accuracy
  • Allows to implement bespoke designs
  • Pre-fabricated and pre-cut elements – fast and accurate feasibility
  • Standard and customised profile sizes and shapes
  • Uniform material quality
  • Lightweight structure, cheaper delivery
  • Slimmer elements, slimmer walls, bigger net space
  • Better sound and temperature insulation quality
  • Straight walls, perfect right angle corners, covered pipes
  • Ideal building structure to use with our spray foam insulation system
  • Results in EPC level B, A or A+ with warranty

 

(Quote the following code in your enquiry and we grant you a 10% discount of the price of your next project! NSFBS)

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New generation of condensing boilers

Condensing boilers by WOLF

heating systems

The most commonly used appliance in building technology, due to its widely-known efficiency and reliability.

Another advantage of using a condensing boiler is its low installation cost. Many professionals have the misconception that condensing boilers do not go well with radiators. Well, the newest heating regulations have taken into consideration systems with changing temperatures. Read more

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