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84 INSULATION


Better insulation- vital if we are to slow global warming


domestic housing if the UK is to meet its legally binding climate change targets. This is an unambiguous conclusion of the recently published Committee for Climate Change Report “UK Housing: Fit for the Future” The report pulls no punches, stating that


T


the majority of homes in the UK are unfit for the challenges of climate change and its contribution to global warming and that the performance of housing is an issue that needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency. Statistics paint and uncomfortable picture,


with 14 per cent of total UK CO2 emissions resulting from energy usage in homes.


Another recent headline was the fact that in 2017, emissions from buildings actually rose by 1per cent over those of the previous year. It should be also be noted that over 60 per


cent of our current housing stock was built pre-1960 when little thought was given to heat-loss prevention. Energy costs were low and coal was still king, being the main source of domestic heating. Central heating systems were in their infancy and the incorporation of insulation in new-build properties only really began in the years following the oil-price shock of 1973.


Minimising air leakage Retro fitting of traditional insulation materials is a complex and time-consuming and expensive affair and one which rarely addresses the important issue of air leakage. As up to 40 per cent of a building’s heat loss can be attributed to air leakage [what we would all understand as draughts], it is vital that air leakage is included in any programme of measures designed to improve a building’s thermal performance. Moisture vapour in the air within a


building carries heat and moist humid air can support up to 4000 times more heat energy than dry air. As air leaks out of a building it carries this moisture vapour and with it, heat. For new-build properties, maximum permitted air leakage figures vary considerably. In Ireland, it is proposed that the maximum permitted air leakage is reduced from seven to five [7-5cum/m2


/h].


he uptake of energy efficiency measures such as loft and wall insulation must be accelerated for


60% of our current housing stock was built pre-1960 when little thought was given to heat-loss prevention.


14% of total UK CO2 emissions result from energy usage in homes.


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ADF JULY 2019


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