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60 INSULATION Time for change


Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) comes into effect in England and Wales on 1 April. Adrian Pargeter of Kingspan Insulation looks at the effect this will have


require further disruptive work within a few years. One of the most cost-effective ways to deliver significant long-term improvements is by raising the thermal performance of the building fabric.


Fabric first


Unlike potentially short lived renewable technologies, a well detailed and carefully installed insulation retrofit should continue to perform over the long term with little or no maintenance. While insulation retrofits have typically focused on attics or cavity walls, 45 per cent of all fuel-poor households live in solid walled or hard-to- treat dwellings. It is therefore vital that the external walls on these properties are tackled.


Compliance with MEES will become compulsory for all privately rented properties from 2023


he new legislation aims to address the worst performing private rental properties by preventing landlords from granting tenancy in buildings with an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) lower than an E (subject to certain exemptions). MEES will become compulsory for all privately rented properties from 2023.


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Estimates suggest that the average annual energy cost for an EPC band G property is £1,150 more than that of an EPC band E property. This additional cost can make it unaffordable for tenants to properly heat their homes, potentially leading to significant health issues. With around 320,000 private rental dwellings in England falling within EPC bands F and G, it is easily understandable why the Government has identified this as a priority area. When undertaking work on these projects, specifiers should carefully consider options which can raise buildings beyond the minimum standards. In its Clean Growth Strategy, the Government committed to upgrading as many private and social housing properties as possible to EPC band C by 2030. Properties refurbished to an EPC of E may therefore


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The thickness of the insulation layer in solid wall insulation applications is a key design consideration. Any insulation installed internally will cut into the avail- able living space, while thick external insulation layers can present structural challenges (particularly on taller buildings). Solid wall insulation applications also require the depth of window sills to be increased. As a result, installing significant thicknesses of insulation can reduce internal light levels, creating dark, unwelcoming environments which are potentially unhealthy for tenants.


In order to keep the insulation depth to a minimum, without compromising thermal performance, it is necessary to install insulation materials with a low thermal conductivity. The latest generation of phenolic insulation boards can now achieve a thermal conductivity of just 0.018 W/m.K, much lower than other commonly used insulation materials. The rigid insula- tion boards can be quickly and easily installed and are available for both internal and external solid wall applications.


Fire safety


Any improvements to the energy efficiency of existing buildings must not be made at


ADF MARCH 2018


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