Insulate Magazine - April Issue 17

A Free Lunch, The language of Insulation, Artificial Intelligence and Insulation, and in-depth review of Ecobuild 2018 feature amongst articles from the BBA, NIA, Kingspan, IMA, Sto and more feature in this months edition

A Free Lunch, The language of Insulation, Artificial Intelligence and Insulation, and in-depth review of Ecobuild 2018 feature amongst articles from the BBA, NIA, Kingspan, IMA, Sto and more feature in this months edition


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The only independent<br />

insulation industry<br />

trade magazine<br />

<strong>Issue</strong> <strong>17</strong> | <strong>April</strong> 2018<br />

New forms of insulation<br />

Ecobuild 2018 Review<br />

AI Insulation<br />

Energy Efficiency<br />

Infrastructure Priority

The only independent<br />

insulation industry<br />

trade magazine<br />

The only independent<br />

insulation industry<br />

trade magazine<br />

Insulation<br />

Outlook 2018<br />

The only independent<br />

insulation industry<br />

trade magazine<br />

Published on a monthly basis by Versanta ltd<br />

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<strong>Issue</strong> 14 | January 2018<br />

Website: www.insulatenetwork.com<br />

Standing Out From the Crowd<br />

Email: sales@insulatenetwork.com<br />

NIA Conference Review<br />

Keeping Everything Moving<br />

Review, Reflect and Reset<br />


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Outlook 2018<br />

Insulation<br />

<strong>Issue</strong> <strong>17</strong> | <strong>April</strong> 2018<br />

New forms of insulation<br />

Ecobuild 2018 Review<br />

Free Lunch....<br />

Energy Efficiency<br />

Infranstructure Priority<br />

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<strong>Issue</strong> 14 | January 2018<br />

Standing Out From the Crowd<br />

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Keeping Everything Moving<br />

Standing Out From the Crowd<br />

Review, Reflect and Reset<br />

<strong>Issue</strong> 14 | January 2018<br />

NIA Conference Review<br />

Keeping Everything M<br />

Review, Reflec<br />


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Contents<br />

It’s been an extremely busy month here at HQ, it seems<br />

that coming into spring has brought the industry into<br />

overdrive, projects and initiatives from across the globe<br />

are being submitted to us as future articles and features for<br />

<strong>Insulate</strong> magazine.<br />

New forms of Insulation: Something to Reflect on<br />

Tallest Piece of Street Art<br />

Efficeint Cambridge Virido Development<br />

6<br />

10<br />

12<br />

We’ve had the consultation for ECO3 opened by BEIS in<br />

preparation for it’s implementation, with much discussion<br />

on social media still centring around “deemed scores” - the<br />

team at <strong>Insulate</strong> Network would love to hear your views for a<br />

feature next month, simply send an email to<br />

news@insulatenetwork.com and share your thoughts.<br />

This month we hear from our Technical Editor, Paul Forrester<br />

on “The Language of Insulation” “Continued Professional<br />

Development in Insulation” and a review of the final Ecobuild,<br />

ahead of its transformation to Futurebuild in 2019.<br />

All of your usual <strong>Insulate</strong> Columnists deliver their thoughts for<br />

the industry from the view of their respective trade bodies and<br />

the BBA chart the rise of reflective insulation in the U.K.<br />

Enjoy!<br />

Tests Even Tougher 13<br />

Energy Efficiency is Infrastructure Priority<br />

12<br />

The Language of Insulation 16<br />

Free Lunch 19<br />

Speciers of Insulation Projects 21<br />

Ecobuild is Evolving (Ecobuild Review)<br />

22<br />

Heat or Eat<br />

24<br />

Insulation and Artificial Intelligence<br />

26<br />

Embracing Ecommerce<br />

31<br />

Colin Heath<br />

Managing Editor<br />

colin@insulatenetwork.com<br />

@colin_insulate<br />

26<br />

12<br />

Jamie Street<br />

Head of Creative<br />

jamie@insulatenetwork.com<br />

@jamie_insulate<br />

6 14<br />

Paul Forrester<br />

Technical Editor<br />

Winner!<br />

Congratulations to Tim Potter<br />

from CMS Danksin, who won<br />

the tickets to Anthony Joshua<br />

vs Parker thanks to Mauer in<br />

<strong>Insulate</strong> <strong>Magazine</strong> issue 15.<br />

The UK's only dedicated<br />

trade journal for the insulation industry<br />


The only independent insulation industry trade magazine<br />

instant insulate<br />

A quick look at what is in store in this months issue of <strong>Insulate</strong> <strong>Magazine</strong>.<br />

Head over to page 27 for Embacing Ecommerce in Insulation<br />

Europe is currently developing a<br />

harmonised European Product Standard<br />

for reflective insulation which is due<br />

to be published shortly. Once officially<br />

issued, manufacturers will then be able<br />

to CE-mark their product to encourage<br />

increased sales across Europe.<br />

Read More: Page 6<br />

Under new ownership, ecobuild<br />

2018 represented a confident<br />

transition to what will become<br />

futurebuild in 2019<br />

Ecobuild Review: Page 22<br />

The walls of the Virido properties allow<br />

approximately 20% less heat loss than a<br />

typical building, without having to<br />

compromise on room sizes.<br />

Read More: Page 12<br />

No: insulation is a technical, logical<br />

language, born of the laws of physics.<br />

Read More: Page 16<br />

Energy efficiency measures provide a<br />

public service: they insulate<br />

consumers—literally—against the volatility<br />

of energy markets. Likewise, they provide<br />

health and wellbeing benefits,<br />

Read More: Page 14<br />

There are still millions of households<br />

and commercial and public<br />

buildings that are yet to be properly<br />

insulated and yet insulation is<br />

still the single most effective method<br />

of saving energy and money.<br />

Read More: Page 21<br />

With government-backed delivery of home<br />

energy efficiency improvements stalling,<br />

we inevitably end up playing political football<br />

with the issue whilst the poorest and<br />

most vulnerable in society suffer.<br />

Read More: Page 26<br />

no such thing as a free lunch, but<br />

when a construction product<br />

manufacturer wants to present to an<br />

office full of professionals then<br />

making sure they are well fed is<br />

virtually a prerequisite<br />

Read More: Page 18<br />

For the UK’s Tallest Piece of Street Art Turn to page 10<br />

4<br />


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The only independent insulation industry trade magazine<br />

<strong>Insulate</strong> Insight<br />

New forms of Insulation<br />

Something to Reflect on<br />

Marin Oxley Charts the rise of reflective insulation<br />

A<br />

fter running 26.2 miles and receiving your<br />

well-earned finisher’s medal, you usually<br />

receive a goody bag after completing<br />

your marathon. Along with the T-shirt, snack<br />

bar and muscle-relieving pain gel, you will find<br />

a shiny, highly reflective space blanket. This<br />

helps to keep you warm after you have stopped<br />

running – so why not use the sametechnology<br />

to keep your house warm as well?<br />

Testing the Performance<br />

When the first reflective insulation products hit the<br />

shelves of builder’s merchants many years ago, there<br />

was limited certified testing, so some of their original<br />

performance claims might have been a little optimistic.<br />

Testing houses in both the UK and Europe also<br />

achieved varying results after analysing the products<br />

in the same way as they normally would traditional<br />

insulants.<br />

So while the test houses and manufacturers agreed<br />

on a standard testing methodology for thermal<br />

performance, a process which took a few years,<br />

some companies opted for in-situ evaluation.<br />

It soon became apparent that it was extremely difficult<br />

to build ‘standard houses’ repeatedly and ensure<br />

that thermal performance and weathering conditions<br />

remained absolutely identical, so as to evaluate the<br />

true performance of these new reflective insulants<br />

with 100% accuracy. This caused market confusion<br />

and ultimately led to many architects, specifiers and<br />

contractors not selecting reflective insulation for their<br />

projects.<br />

Thermal Performance Standard<br />

After several rounds of evaluation with some of the<br />

best testing houses for insulation’s thermal performance,<br />

in 2012 Europe agreed on a standard thermal<br />

Europe is currently<br />

developing a harmonised<br />

European Product<br />

Standard for reflective<br />

insulation which is due to<br />

be published shortly. Once officially<br />

issued, manufacturers will then be able<br />

to CE-mark their product to encourage<br />

increased sales across Europe.<br />

performance testing standard, BS EN 16012: 2012<br />

+A1: 2015 Thermal insulation for buildings – Reflective<br />

insulation products – Determination of the declared<br />

thermal performance. (http://bit.ly/2bramb2).<br />

There was now a defined methodology for direct<br />

thermal comparison of reflective insulants. This, together<br />

with the emergence of the first reflective insulation<br />

certificates from the British Board of Agrément<br />

(BBA) over <strong>17</strong> years ago, increased the credibility of<br />

the industry and provided consumers with the reassurance<br />

they required, and sales started to increase<br />

significantly during this period.<br />

Radiation of Heat<br />

All insulation products work by reducing heat flow, in<br />

one or more of three ways: conduction, convection or<br />

radiation. Heat always flows from the hot side to the<br />

cold side.<br />

Reflective insulation’s key feature is, of course, to limit<br />

heat flow by radiation. The radiated energy is invisible<br />

and causes no rise in temperature until it hits a<br />

surface, where it is absorbed and causes the object<br />

to get warmer. For instance, radiative energy from the<br />

sun will pass through double-glazing and once it hits<br />

an object inside the conservatory it starts to heat it<br />

up.<br />

6<br />


When comparing the performance of reflective insulations,<br />

a key technical characteristic is the emittance<br />

of the product, more usually described as emissivity,<br />

specifically a surface measurement of the product’s<br />

ability to emit radiant energy.<br />

Emissivity is a ratio and is given a value between zero<br />

and one. A value of zero indicates that all the energy<br />

is reflected and none is absorbed, as for example,<br />

with a highly polished silver surface. Conversely, a<br />

value of one denotes that none of the energy is reflected<br />

and all is absorbed, as by a totally black body<br />

such as a black hole in space.<br />

For a typical reflective insulation product, the aluminium<br />

foil outer surface would have a declared aged<br />

emissivity of around 0.05, meaning that the significant<br />

majority of energy is not absorbed. Conversely, for a<br />

typical brown house brick, you would usually expect<br />

an emissivity value of around 0.90 – that is, most of<br />

the energy is absorbed.<br />

As emissivity is a ratio of energy, the temperature and<br />

direction of measurement is an important function, so<br />

you need to measure the emissivity accurately. The<br />

texture of the sample can also affect the true result by<br />

scattering the light.<br />

BS EN 16012: 2012 + A1: 2015 refers to BS EN<br />

15976: 2011 Flexible sheets for waterproofing –<br />

Determination of emissivity, which details testing and<br />

reporting methodology (http://bit.ly/2bCJq5p). With<br />

most reflective insulations, you are determining very<br />

low emissivity values and are working at the very<br />

limits of the instrumentation, so using an experienced<br />

independent testing laboratory such as the BBA is<br />

vital to obtain accurate, precise and credible results.<br />

The results supplied should be ‘aged’ results to take<br />

into effect the material’s ability to resist oxidation<br />

/ corrosion, i.e. how the product will perform after<br />

many years as opposed to just initially.<br />

Europe is currently developing a harmonised European<br />

Product Standard for reflective insulation which<br />

is due to be published shortly. Once officially issued,<br />

manufacturers will then be able to CE-mark their<br />

product to encourage increased sales across Europe.<br />

BBA History<br />

The BBA celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2016,<br />

which means we have been evaluating numerous<br />

insulation types from novel to traditional, in many<br />

different applications for over half a century. Each<br />

certificate has a scope of that the lists.<br />

www.insulatenetwork.com<br />


www.insulatenetwork.com<br />

what the product is, its technical performance, how it<br />

complies with Building Regulations and where it can<br />

be used.<br />

Insulation manufacturers work hard to produce the<br />

best product for each specific application, to ensure<br />

that all the necessary requirements are met. Obviously,<br />

for an insulation the key element is thermal<br />

performance, so the correct installation of any<br />

insulation is absolutely essential. If it is installed poorly<br />

or incorrectly, there will be a loss of thermal performance<br />

and, with the majority of insulation ending up<br />

covered once it is installed, this reduced performance<br />

will continue throughout its life, and may even cause<br />

issues at a later date.<br />

Correct installation of insulation was one of the<br />

many parameters picked up in the Zero Carbon Hub<br />

Performance Gap report as an area to improve (see<br />

Building Control Journal February/March, pp.14–15).<br />

Architects, designers and specifiers are required to<br />

take CPD to keep abreast of developments. However,<br />

an installer may often only attend a one-day<br />

training course and become approved with typically<br />

very little follow-up or auditing, even though he/she<br />

may then be considered the company expert.<br />

So the focus for manufacturers to increase market<br />

share must be in preparing comprehensive technical<br />

literature to complement the sales material, as well<br />

as detailed installation guidance to demonstrate the<br />

ease of fitting all the key features and benefits.<br />

This guidance can range from images of the installation<br />

process right through to on-site training<br />

schemes. Companies are keen to ensure that their<br />

product is installed correctly, does what it should do<br />

and stands the test of time.<br />

So, if reflective insulation uses the standard principles<br />

of physics for thermal performance and has been<br />

around for the past 60 years or so, used as it was<br />

during the great space race of the 1950’s and 60’s,<br />

being both thin and lightweight, then you could ask<br />

the question – why is it not used in more applications?<br />

The lack of a current European Product Standard<br />

may be one of the reasons why architects, specifiers<br />

and contractors continue to use their normal insulant,<br />

given that this has worked in the past and they do<br />

not have time to investigate all the possibilities.<br />

This is where a BBA Certificate gives the manufacturer<br />

the ability to go out into the market place to support<br />

and solve many of the questions that industry<br />

has regarding product performance.<br />

With regulated building requirements for U-values<br />

getting lower and lower, the use of reflective insulation<br />

in conjunction with other traditional insulants can<br />

help achieve these increasingly stringent targets. To<br />

achieve maximum performance, products must be<br />

used in conjunction with an air cavity in front of, and<br />

in some cases behind, the insulation.<br />

Some products are also classed as a vapour control<br />

layer because they offer a high degree of moisture<br />

resistance and, of course, must be used on the warm<br />

side of any proposed system to reduce the risk of<br />

any interstitial condensation. Others are classed as<br />

breathable because they are perforated through all<br />

layers to allow any moisture build-up to pass through<br />

the material and dissipate on the other side, typically<br />

in the form of a ventilated cavity in a warm pitched<br />

roof.<br />

Although it may not have been a smooth or easy<br />

ride to get here, reflective insulation is now definitely<br />

making significant inroads into the European insulant<br />

market.<br />

The BBA’s auditing and inspection team has a huge<br />

wealth of knowledge and experience of the whole<br />

spectrum of on-site insulation installations, from the<br />

very best to the very worst, so it can offer a valuable<br />

resource for those looking to ensure that the product<br />

is installed correctly.<br />

Market Share<br />

8<br />


Value<br />

Your<br />

U-value<br />

Thermal Conductivity: 0.007 W/m 2 K<br />

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Contact us for more information on<br />

our full range of products and<br />

services:<br />

0333 207 0870<br />

office@ctfinsulation.co.uk<br />

www.ctfinsulation.co.uk<br />

As with all CTF products, each<br />

system is tailored to your needs<br />

and upheld through our services<br />

in design, U-value calculation,<br />

site survey and delivery.<br />

CTF Ultra ® VIP System: Combined thickness<br />

of 60mm system will achieve 0.18 W/m 2 K.<br />

www.insulatenetwork.com<br />


www.insulatenetwork.com<br />

<strong>Insulate</strong> News<br />

Sto Helps Bring Tallest<br />

Piece of Street Art Alive in Leeds<br />

A<br />

Wall insulation system supplied by Sto Ltd has helped bring to life a 137ft high mural called<br />

“Athena Rising” in what is considered to be the tallest piece of street art in the UK. The office<br />

development in Leeds has been clad with StoTherm Vario external wall insulation and finished<br />

with StoColor X-black facade paint.<br />

Created by articles Cbloxx and<br />

AYLO (Joy Gilleard and Hayley<br />

Garner from the Nomad Clan<br />

Muralists Collective) the artwork<br />

depicts an owl in flight alongside<br />

a moon and a crown. The artwork<br />

took four weeks to complete and<br />

covers the east elevation of the<br />

building. To complete the ‘Athena<br />

Rising” street art Joy and Hayley<br />

were required to suspend from a<br />

cradle, hand-painting the artwork<br />

using emulsion and spray paint.<br />

Sto’s Account Manager, Jim<br />

Allan said:<br />

“This project is an excellent<br />

example of the way that Sto can<br />

provide a fully integrated solution<br />

for an unusual project such as<br />

this.”<br />

“StoTherm Vario is a high performance<br />

and cost-effective<br />

insulation system which features<br />

a mineralic reinforcing coat which<br />

is designed to meet stringent fire<br />

safety requirements. It provides<br />

excellent thermal performance<br />

and protects the external wall<br />

from weathering. No additional<br />

expansion joints are required and<br />

this was an important feature for<br />

the Platform building, as it gave<br />

Joy and Hayley a smooth canvas<br />

on which to work.”<br />

Dark finishes on render applied<br />

over external wall insulation have<br />

traditionally suffered from heat<br />

build-up due to solar gain. This<br />

can subject the render and insulation<br />

to temperatures of up to<br />

80°C, which causes dimensional<br />

instability, cracking and damage<br />

to the insulation.<br />

However, the StoColor X-black<br />

paint uses special near-infrared<br />

black pigments that cause much<br />

of the solar energy in the invisible<br />

near-infrared spectrum to be<br />

reflected. Despite the render surface<br />

being dark in colour, it stays<br />

considerably cooler, protecting<br />

both the render itself and the<br />

insulation material beneath it from<br />

the extremes of thermal stress.<br />

The Nomad Clan’s work is part of<br />

the city-wide street art project in<br />

Leeds, called ‘A City Less Grey’.<br />

Joy and Hayley are experienced<br />

giant muralists, having painted<br />

some of the largest artworks in<br />

the North of England, and they<br />

have been called ‘one of street<br />

art’s finest female duos.’<br />

Craig Burrow of the building’s<br />

owner, Bruntwood said:<br />

“We’re very excited to be part<br />

of this project and pleased that<br />

Platform can provide the canvas<br />

for this mural,.”<br />

“Bruntwood firmly believes that<br />

the strength of our cities is directly<br />

impacted by social and cultural<br />

vibrancy, so it’s great to see citywide<br />

projects like ‘A City Less<br />

Grey’ bringing organisations from<br />

across the region together to<br />

create powerful art.<br />

“Bruntwood firmly believes that<br />

the strength of our cities is directly<br />

impacted by social and cultural<br />

vibrancy, so it’s great to see citywide<br />

projects like ‘A City Less<br />

Grey’ bringing organisations from<br />

across the region together to<br />

create powerful art.”<br />

10<br />


With Vario ® XtraSafe<br />

preventing moisture<br />

build-up, the outlook<br />

couldn’t be better<br />

Vario® XtraSafe is the next generation of<br />

‘smart’ vapour barrier, delivering<br />

airtightness alongside active moisture<br />

management. Helping you protect<br />

the building fabric and meet the latest<br />

Building Regulations.*<br />

Find out more and request your<br />

free sample at isover.co.uk/vario<br />

*Part L 1 A of the Building Regulations (England & Wales) and Section 6 (Scotland)

<strong>Insulate</strong> News<br />

Kingspan Tek Insulation<br />

Underpins Efficient Cambridge Virido Development<br />

irido, the new high energy efficiency housing development in Cambridge features Kingspan’s TEK<br />

V Building System of Structural <strong>Insulate</strong>d Panels (SIPs).<br />

Located in the rural suburbs of the University City,<br />

Virido was developed and constructed by Hill. The<br />

development features 208 apartments and townhouses<br />

in a grid of quads around a central courtyard.<br />

A high performance fabric specification, was achievable<br />

thanks to the Kingspan TEK Building System and<br />

was designed by Pollard Thomas Edwards.<br />

The Kingspan TEK Building System comprises a<br />

high-performance insulation core sandwiched between<br />

two layers of OSB/3. The lightweight panels<br />

were designed and factory cut to the project’s unique<br />

requirements by Kingspan Timber Solutions. This ensured<br />

a fast-track erection programme with minimal<br />

onsite adjustments and waste.<br />

To maximise the energy performance of the dwellings,<br />

the envelopes of all properties on the development<br />

have been designed to be extremely airtight.<br />

This was a key consideration in the specification of<br />

the Kingspan TEK Building System as its unique jointing<br />

system and OSB/3 facing supports highly airtight<br />

constructions. On completion, each property was<br />

individually assessed and achieved recorded air leakage<br />

rates of below 1.5 air change per hour @ 50 pa.<br />

The highly airtight design necessitated the use of mechanical<br />

ventilation heat recovery systems (MVHR).<br />

These systems use the heat from the outgoing stale<br />

air to heat incoming fresh air, further reducing heating<br />

demand and maintaining comfortable internal living<br />

conditions.<br />

The Kingspan TEK Building System also<br />

contributed towards the excellent fabric performance<br />

of the properties as Heike Messler from Pollard<br />

Thomas Edwards explained:<br />

“The walls of the Virido properties allow approximately<br />

20% less heat loss than a typical building, without<br />

having to compromise on room sizes. This high level<br />

of thermal performance means that the homes don’t<br />

really need radiators, but we have included them for<br />

personal comfort.”<br />

Both the Kingspan TEK Cladding Panel and Kingspan<br />

TEK Building System panels are also available<br />

in a <strong>17</strong>2 mm thickness, offering enhanced insulation<br />

performance with U-values of 0.<strong>17</strong> W/m2.K or better.<br />

The manufacturing facility where the panels are<br />

produced carries both FSC® (FSC®-C109304) and<br />

PEFC Chain of Custody certification. As standard,<br />

the OSB/3 facing of all Kingspan TEK panels is PEFC<br />

certified.<br />


www.insulatenetwork.com<br />

BBA Tests Even Tougher<br />

with Heavyweight Instron Testing Machine<br />

OTest experts at the British Board of<br />

Agrément (BBA) are making full use of<br />

their new Instron universal testing machine<br />

to pull, squeeze, twist, bend and tension<br />

building products under assessment, including<br />

those for the roofing, cladding, highways/car<br />

parking, house-building and civil engineering<br />

industries.<br />

The new load frame equipment is an upgrade to the<br />

BBA’s previous machine, offering an additional test<br />

space, a widened scope of products to be tested<br />

thanks to an increased load capacity from 100kN to<br />

250kN, greater levels of accuracy and stability and<br />

the latest Bluehill Universal software.<br />

Mike Beale, BBA Test Contracts Manager, said:<br />

“The new Instron machine can test more<br />

than 30 product types, from insulation to<br />

membranes, resins, moulded plastics including<br />

pipes and window frames to waterproofing<br />

systems. It’s a crucial piece of<br />

equipment that is in virtually constant use<br />

tensioning, flexing, compressing, peeling<br />

and shearing products. It is a great asset<br />

that is perfect for supporting our clients’<br />

needs. We will continue to invest in new<br />

test fixtures to maximize the possibilities<br />

of this state-of-the-art equipment.”<br />

13<br />

www.insulatenetwork.com<br />


<strong>Insulate</strong> insulate Columnist columnist<br />

EE as Infrastructure Priority<br />

Secures Cross Party Consensus<br />

Sarah Kostense-Winterton Executive Director, MIMA<br />

“It is all very well giving assistance with bills,<br />

but a long-term solution - insulating houses<br />

- is surely the way forward” said Conservative<br />

sponsoring MP and EEIG supporter,<br />

Antoinette Sandbach opening the recent debate<br />

in Parliament on Energy Efficiency and the Clean<br />

Growth Strategy.<br />

Sandbach continued by setting out a range of potential<br />

policy levers, and highlighting that bills are £500<br />

lower today than they would have been without energy<br />

efficiency improvements, yet “there is still more to do”.<br />

She did not fail to point out that there has been an 80<br />

per cent reduction in energy efficiency improvement<br />

measures between 2012 and 2015. Never a truer<br />

word spoken.<br />

This two and a half hour debate was a long time in<br />

the waiting – with debates on energy efficiency being<br />

few and far between - also providing the first actual<br />

chance to debate the Clean Growth Strategy launched<br />

in October last year. This was a valuable opportunity to<br />

put on the public record the cross-party commitment<br />

to coordinated action on boosting the energy<br />

efficiency of our homes to deliver social, economic and<br />

environment opportunities for all.<br />

The policy wish list – the cross-party MP’s central ask<br />

“to designate energy efficiency measures as<br />

infrastructure spending” – with the clear economic and<br />

social benefits, not surprisingly reflected the EEIG’s<br />

messages, with all of those speaking at the debate<br />

supportive of the coalition’s campaign. As Sandbach<br />

stated energy efficiency spending is closer to capital<br />

than revenue<br />

Sarah Kostense-Winterton is Executive Director<br />

of MIMA, the Mineral Wool Insulation<br />

Manufacturers Association and founder of the<br />

Energy Efficiency Infrastructure Group.<br />

For further details of the EEIG and if you would<br />

like to join, please contact EEIG’s political<br />

advocacy and support, Alasdair MacEwen at<br />

alasdair@theeeig.co.uk<br />

expenditure, and such investments free-up energy<br />

capacity, delivering multiple economic, environmental,<br />

and energy security benefits for the UK.<br />

“Why invest in the big plant if we can roll out energy<br />

efficiency measures across the country, as part of<br />

an infrastructure project?” Sandbach boldly proclaimed.<br />

“Energy efficiency measures provide a public<br />

service: they insulate consumers—literally—against<br />

the volatility of energy markets. Likewise, they provide<br />

health and wellbeing benefits, by enabling consumers<br />

to heat buildings more effectively, and they have<br />

the knock-on consequences of reducing our carbon<br />

emissions and contributing towards our overall aim of<br />

clean, green growth.”<br />

Minister, Claire Perry did not disappoint with her enthusiastic<br />

response saying, “the case that was made<br />

for demand-side as well as supply-side infrastructure<br />

investments is powerful” also committing to meet with<br />

the National Infrastructure Commission in the<br />

coming months.<br />

14<br />


The only independent insulation industry trade magazine<br />

“There is a huge amount more to do,” inferred Perry.<br />

“We have heard lots of sensible ideas today, many<br />

of which are extremely attractive and that we want to<br />

take away. All of us want ​to get the costs and consumption<br />

of energy down, reduce carbon emissions,<br />

make our homes warmer, and make the transition to<br />

low-carbon energy less risky. This is not an either/<br />

or question; in order to meet our carbon targets, and<br />

to create a housing stock that is fit for the future, we<br />

absolutely need to do this.”<br />

However, the Minister’s one word of caution that making<br />

energy efficiency an infrastructure priority “does<br />

not automatically turn on a new funding tap” must be<br />

ignored at our peril.<br />

“There is no packet of money under the Chancellor’s<br />

desk marked ‘Infrastructure’, so this all has to be put<br />

through a similar hopper,” Perry warned.<br />

“Nevertheless, the point about energy efficiency is excellent;<br />

energy efficiency is not only a strategic imperative,<br />

but an economic imperative. If we improve energy<br />

efficiency, we reduce people’s bills, create value, and<br />

create opportunities and investment for new forms of<br />

technology.”<br />

What was clear during this debate – or dare I say discussion<br />

given the MPs support across the political divide<br />

- is that the politicians agree with one another and<br />

there is immense (and very welcome) support from the<br />

government minister too. We have challenges ahead<br />

but the Clean Growth Strategy represents one of the<br />

most significant milestones – the path ahead – to support<br />

the reset and transformation of energy efficiency<br />

policy, of how it is approached. This, supported by<br />

the recommendations, amongst others, of this week’s<br />

Green Finance Taskforce report, the Climate Change<br />

Committee and, with fingers firmly crossed, of the National<br />

Infrastructure Commission’s recommendations<br />

due in the spring/early summer.<br />

It is imperative that EEIG and its members focus on<br />

supporting Perry and the Government on how to<br />

deliver the jigsaw of potential policy measures and to<br />

ensure HM Treasury becomes sold on the new way<br />

of framing energy efficiency. The momentum we have<br />

achieved throughout 20<strong>17</strong> must be maintained lest we<br />

let this important issue slip back into the traffic jam of<br />

the new policy queue. As Perry rightly said<br />

“This is not an either/or question; in order to meet our<br />

carbon targets, and to create a housing stock that is<br />

fit for the future, we absolutely need to do this.”<br />

With this in mind, the EEIG has a packed strategy for<br />

2018 with focus on doing exactly this. The EEIG remains<br />

a broad church which represents those who are<br />

committed to achieving change and delivering good<br />

energy efficiency policy and quality housing “fit for the<br />

future”. We are not about specific products, businesses<br />

or organisations but committed to<br />

achieving the EEIG’s goals. We are widening and<br />

growing the membership so come and join us at the<br />

next meeting on 11 <strong>April</strong>!<br />


www.insulatenetwork.com<br />

Exclusive <strong>Insulate</strong> Column<br />

The Language of<br />

Insulation<br />

Paul Forrester Technical Editor, <strong>Insulate</strong> <strong>Magazine</strong><br />

The ‘language of insulation’ is not what you<br />

would call romantic. It’s unlikely to inspire<br />

a book of sonnets any time soon; budding<br />

Blakes, Chaucers and Shakespeares tend<br />

to have weightier things on their minds! by Paul<br />

Forrester<br />

No: insulation is a technical, logical language, born<br />

of the laws of physics. Much of it is black and white,<br />

but there remains room for nuance. Used well, it is a<br />

powerful tool for communicating ideas about building<br />

design and performance. The words themselves may<br />

not be beautiful, but they can help create great spaces<br />

that inspire great work from the people who use them.<br />

Thermal Properties<br />

A fundamental measure of a thermal insulation material<br />

is its thermal conductivity (lambda value, units: W/<br />

mK), the amount of heat energy it conducts. Generally,<br />

thermal conductivity doesn’t change with thickness,<br />

so thermal resistance (R-value, units: m2K/W) is<br />

a more accurate measure of a material’s ability, at a<br />

specific thickness, to resist heat transfer.<br />

The resistances of the materials in a wall or roof are<br />

combined with internal and external surface resistances,<br />

then the reciprocal taken, to give the thermal<br />

transmittance (U-value, units: W/m2K) of the<br />

element. Additional calculation procedures apply to<br />

floors, basements and steel framed structures.<br />

Conduction through materials is one mechanism<br />

for heat transfer; another, via the movement of air, is<br />

convection. The third principle mechanism occurs<br />

due to bodies emitting and absorbing electromagnetic<br />

radiation at different rates, depending on temperature<br />

and emissivity.<br />

Installation<br />

Thermal insulation is most effective when installed<br />

as a continuous layer, forming a thermal envelope.<br />

Interruptions to the insulation layer are<br />

thermal bridges (or cold bridges), and should be<br />

avoided as far as possible. They can be the result of<br />

structural requirements, poor design, or poor<br />

installation.<br />

Thermal bridges can be repeating, occurring at<br />

consistent intervals (like timber rafters, a structural<br />

frame, or mechanical fixings), or linear, where the<br />

geometry of a construction element changes or at the<br />

junction between elements (the floor/wall junction, the<br />

wall/roof junction, or around door and window openings).<br />

Gaps in insulation layers can result in warm and cold<br />

air mixing, and circulating around the insulation layer.<br />

This is one type of thermal bypass, a collective term<br />

for different types of air movement (also including air<br />

infiltration and wind washing) that result in significantly<br />

increased heat loss.<br />

Taking a fabric first approach to construction centres<br />

on reducing heating demand and energy use through<br />

efficient building fabric (i.e. insulation and well-detailed<br />

thermal bridges) and passive heating techniques.<br />

Maximising solar gains through good design maintains<br />

comfort in winter, with solar shading to limit the<br />

risk of summer overheating.<br />

Condensation Risk<br />

A fabric first approach also relies on airtightness, to<br />

stop warm air leaking from the building, and controlled<br />

ventilation, to make sure occupants have<br />

fresh air to breathe. Design for low energy construction<br />

typically features a continuous airtightness line<br />

within the thermal envelope; the level of airtightness<br />

dictates the ventilation measures that should be<br />

installed.<br />

16 16<br />


Air holds moisture vapour. The warmer the air, the<br />

more moisture vapour it can hold. When air comes into<br />

contact with colder surfaces it drops in temperature.<br />

The temperature at which the air is saturated by its current<br />

moisture load (100% RH) is the dew point; when<br />

the air drops below the dew point it can no longer hold<br />

the excess moisture vapour and deposits it as<br />

condensation.<br />

Surface condensation occurs on surfaces that are<br />

colder than the surrounding construction, such as windows<br />

or badly detailed thermal bridges, while<br />

interstitial condensation typically occurs unseen within<br />

the layers of a construction.<br />

In terms of general moisture management, materials<br />

should be selected appropriately. Closed cell products<br />

absorb limited quantities of moisture and do not<br />

allow the passage of moisture vapour, unlike vapour<br />

permeable materials. Older buildings, especially with<br />

solid walls, often rely on moisture transport through<br />

the building fabric, so any retrofit measures must be<br />

sympathetic.<br />

Acoustics and more<br />

As well as thermal insulation, fibrous materials also<br />

provide sound insulation. They can reduce airborne<br />

sound or act as a resilient layer to deaden vibrations.<br />

At their heaviest, they can add mass to a building and<br />

reduce impact sound, including deadening rain noise<br />

on a roof.<br />

Other performance characteristics influence a material’s<br />

suitability for certain applications. Compressive<br />

strength is the ability to bear imposed loads; some<br />

products also declare compressive creep to demonstrate<br />

their behaviour under load for an extended period.<br />

Specific heat capacity is used to calculate the<br />

contribution to an element’s thermal mass. Thermal<br />

insulation products resist the transfer of heat rather than<br />

storing it, so effective use of thermal mass - also part of<br />

a fabric<br />

No: insulation is a technical,<br />

logical language, born of the laws of<br />

physics. Much of it is black and white,<br />

but there remains room for nuance. Used<br />

well, it is a powerful tool for communicating<br />

ideas about building design and<br />

performance.<br />

first approach - depends on the types of structures into<br />

which the insulation is installed.<br />

The introduction of Construction Product Regulations,<br />

including requiring products to be CE marked to<br />

harmonised European standards, has raised quality<br />

and improved the consistency of insulation products.<br />

An overview like this can never exhaustively cover ‘the<br />

language of insulation’ but we hope it has proved a<br />

useful summary of insulation properties and some of<br />

the issues associated with its use. Did we miss anything<br />

from the topics covered? Are there other insulation-related<br />

topics we could do a follow-up on? Get in touch<br />

and let us know!<br />

www.insulatenetwork.com<br />

<strong>17</strong><br />




insulate network puts<br />

you in touch via every device<br />

www.insulatenetwork.com<br />


The only independent insulation industry trade magazine<br />

Exclusive <strong>Insulate</strong> Column<br />

There is no such thing as a<br />

Free Lunch<br />

Paul Forrester Technical Editor, <strong>Insulate</strong> <strong>Magazine</strong><br />

There’s no such thing as a free lunch, but when a construction product manufacturer wants to<br />

present to an office full of professionals then making sure they are well fed is virtually a<br />

prerequisite. It’s a well established system designed to suit both parties - but is it meeting the<br />

needs of either? by Paul Forrester<br />

Most professional institutes in the construction<br />

industry require members to undertake continuing<br />

professional development (CPD).<br />

Recognising that any qualification, no matter how<br />

prestigious, becomes outdated in a shifting landscape<br />

of legislation changes and ‘innovative’ product<br />

development, the theory behind CPD is to keep<br />

knowledge relevant and up to date, readying professionals<br />

to face new challenges. Different institutes<br />

guide members in different ways with regard to how<br />

they should meet their CPD needs.<br />

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), for example,<br />

has a ‘core curriculum’, from which a certain<br />

number of members’ CPD hours should come each<br />

year. Others give complete freedom, allowing each<br />

professional to personalise their learning in accordance<br />

with their individual requirements.<br />

Structured Learning<br />

With the rise of different platforms for delivering information,<br />

so the number of ways it is possible to undertake<br />

CPD has increased. Podcasts and online learning<br />

are just as valid as traditional books and magazines;<br />

delivering training to colleagues or mentoring students<br />

are legitimate development activities too.<br />

Construction product manufacturers - insulation<br />

producers among them - have long been happy to<br />

support the provision of education. The key is that a<br />

chosen activity should be planned, and of a level appropriate<br />

to supporting the identified learning needs.<br />

If a manufacturer is prepared to offer it, the recipient<br />

is prepared to travel, and the content has been approved,<br />

even a factory tour is a possibility.<br />

Presentations remain the favoured option, however,<br />

and a CPD coordinator may book a manufacturer to<br />

attend their office because the topic of a presentation<br />

is useful to the aims of the organisation as a whole.<br />

But that doesn’t stop some people from attending<br />

purely out of convenience, or to boost their CPD hours<br />

for the current year.<br />

In a similar vein, while CPD material is expected to not<br />

be overtly promotional - and is assessed accordingly<br />

in order to be included in some CPD provider directories<br />

- it rarely takes a huge logical leap to get from the<br />

general topic of a seminar to a particular product the<br />

manufacturer is keen to promote.<br />

Mixed Feelings<br />

As a result, it’s not uncommon to come across conflicting<br />

evidence about the success of in-office lunchtime<br />

CPD seminars. Feedback forms give recipients<br />

the chance to express their opinions. A presentation<br />

might be judged as unbiased by the majority, but one<br />

or two will always feel it could have been less promotional.<br />

Where 90% or more of responses are favourable<br />

though, and where a majority of attendees<br />

suggest a willingness to specify a company’s products<br />

in future, the actual rate of conversion into<br />

specifications can be surprisingly - and disappointingly<br />

- low.<br />

www.insulatenetwork.com<br />


www.insulatenetwork.com<br />

From the other side, I’ve heard comments from new<br />

and experienced presenters expressing surprise that<br />

an audience was less engaged, or had a lower level<br />

of base knowledge on the subject, than they expected.<br />

From personal experience, I’ve been willing<br />

to discuss live projects in relation to a presentation’s<br />

topics - and had nobody take up the offer.<br />

Never having been a full-time CPD presenter, I<br />

recognise isolated examples aren’t necessarily<br />

representative of a majority of audiences. Anecdotal<br />

as all this evidence may be, however, it can’t help but<br />

raise questions - not least whether conventional CPD<br />

seminars are delivering their intended benefit to<br />

specifier or manufacturer.<br />

they might have. If presentation slots fail to fill generous<br />

seating areas reserved for them, where’s the<br />

harm in experimenting with more exclusive sessions,<br />

held away from the noise and distraction of the main<br />

hall?<br />

An often-overlooked aspect of CPD is reflection.<br />

Professionals are expected to consider whether an<br />

item of CPD met their needs, and adjust their other<br />

planned activities in response. Whether they do or<br />

not is a matter for debate, but consider this: manufacturers<br />

like describing themselves as innovative,<br />

and show organisers want their event to be the most<br />

important of its kind. So shouldn’t there be reflection<br />

on their parts too, about why they keep doing the<br />

same things?<br />

A New Approach<br />

Is it time for trade shows and exhibitions to work<br />

with manufacturers to develop alternative formats?<br />

Classroom or workshop arrangements could offer a<br />

greater level of freedom and interaction, delivering a<br />

higher quality experience, of greater value, that might<br />

even generate increased interest from the intended<br />

target audience.<br />

Better to address questions the audience on the day<br />

actually have, rather than ones assumed in advance<br />

20<br />


www.insulatenetwork.com<br />

<strong>Insulate</strong> Columnist<br />

Support Available<br />

To Specifiers of Insulation Projects<br />

<strong>Insulate</strong> <strong>Magazine</strong> columnist Neil Marshall, Chief Executive of the National Insulation Association<br />

T<br />

here are still millions of households and<br />

commercial and public buildings that are<br />

yet to be properly insulated and yet<br />

insulation is still the single most effective<br />

method of saving energy and money. For<br />

example a detached home fitted with Solid Wall<br />

Insulation could save just over £400 per year.<br />

The National Insulation Association and its members<br />

offer a comprehensive range of services to specifiers<br />

looking for support in the design and delivery of their<br />

upcoming refurbishment and new build projects on<br />

domestic, commercial and public sector buildings<br />

and these include:<br />

• Information, advice and guidance on funding<br />

opportunities.<br />

• Assistance with the design, specification and delivery<br />

of multi property, multi measure upgrades.<br />

• Access to a national network of accredited<br />

installers that meet the NIA’s strict membership<br />

criteria and sign up to its code of professional<br />

practice. Provides specifiers and project managers<br />

with assurance and peace of mind when<br />

choosing an NIA member.<br />

• Issuing expressions of interest and requests to<br />

tender for work on behalf of specifiers to NIA<br />

members.<br />

• An online member directory www.nia-uk.org<br />

NIA registered members have significant experience<br />

of working with energy suppliers, private and social<br />

housing managers, funders, builders, architects and<br />

other specifiers in delivering high quality energy efficiency<br />

schemes. The NIA’s membership includes the<br />

leading manufacturers/system suppliers and installers<br />

of all insulation measures so it’s able to offer a one<br />

stop shop.<br />

For more information about all the work above<br />

and membership of the NIA please email<br />

neil.marshall@nia-uk.org<br />

www.insulatenetwork.com<br />


22<br />

22<br />

Ecobuild is Evolving<br />

Paul Forrester Technical Editor, <strong>Insulate</strong> <strong>Magazine</strong><br />

Under new ownership, ecobuild 2018 represented a confident transition to what will become<br />

futurebuild in 2019. By giving more of the construction industry space to shine, it not only<br />

showcased how buildings are built now but the methods and materials we can expect to see<br />

in coming months and years by Paul Forrester<br />

With several full scale houses on display around<br />

the exhibition hall, the effect of ecobuild highlighting<br />

more system-based approaches to construction was<br />

arguably to dilute the impact of traditional product<br />

manufacturing. Enough manufacturers - including from<br />

the insulation sector - were present with impressive,<br />

inviting stands, but the mix across the show was noticeably<br />

different.<br />

Insulation will always be an integral part of<br />

construction projects as occupant comfort, energy<br />

use and emissions targets remain high on the agenda.<br />

Overall, however, representation from the sector was<br />

lower key than in previous years - due, perhaps, to<br />

both ecobuild’s change in focus, and challenges faced<br />

by the sector throughout 20<strong>17</strong>.<br />

Who was there?<br />

Insulation companies were, unsurprisingly, to be found<br />

in the Building Performance hub. Bauder had a large<br />

presence, but concentrated on their complete roof<br />

systems; as such they were in the Green & Blue Infrastructure<br />

hub.<br />

Rockwool’s stand featured their complete product<br />

range, as well as interesting case studies to catch<br />

the eye and a display about the distinction between<br />

non-combustibility and Class 0 to help answer fire<br />

performance questions.<br />

Kingspan promoted their phenolic and polyisocyanurate<br />

(PIR) rigid foam products, and their ‘Insight’<br />

educational platform. Meanwhile, Recticel introduced<br />

a new PIR range featuring a thermal conductivity of<br />

0.019 W/mK, alongside their more established offerings.<br />

Both Kingspan and Recticel included a vacuum<br />

insulated panel (VIP) on their stands, while Radmat<br />

focused on the thermal performance benefits and<br />

insulation thickness savings of VIPs. For now, these<br />

products continue to be offered predominantly for flat<br />

roofs, but in coming years it will be interesting to see<br />

how widely their use extends as the market develops<br />

its confidence using them.<br />

Insulation Further Afield<br />

Many of ecobuild’s international trade pavilions<br />

included companies offering insulation products.<br />

Unfortunately, the level of detail available was variable<br />

and it was rarely clear whether products were available<br />

from a UK distributor to be able to specify.<br />

A mineral wool product from Portugal, for example,<br />

proudly claimed to be derived from sand thanks to<br />

an unspecified “innovative process”. There were no<br />

performance claims, but if nothing else it showed the<br />

potential even for traditional insulation materials to<br />


Meanwhile, a Polish manufacturer<br />

displayed an insulation board<br />

made from cellulose - a material<br />

more<br />

commonly used in blown applications<br />

- which they marketed as<br />

ideal for the sympathetic internal<br />

upgrade of historic buildings.<br />

Offsite Takes Off?<br />

Back in issue 15 of <strong>Insulate</strong> we<br />

took a look at offsite manufacturing<br />

(OSM) and it was certainly<br />

out in force at ecobuild. Did the<br />

refreshed thinking behind the<br />

show encourage more offsite<br />

companies to attend, or has the<br />

sector simply come of age and<br />

ecobuild was the perfect place to<br />

show it?<br />

Perhaps it was a combination of<br />

both, but either way the Offsite<br />

hub was a buoyant place to be.<br />

In a show with a well-attended<br />

seminar programme, the offsite<br />

talks and discussions seemed<br />

particularly popular.<br />

Among the many modular<br />

building systems and wholehouse<br />

concepts, Marley were<br />

prominent in launching their own<br />

version of a structural insulated<br />

panel system (SIPS) featuring a<br />

PIR foam sandwiched between<br />

two layers of oriented strand<br />

board (OSB). Most notably,<br />

perhaps, the foam was green in<br />

colour!<br />

Passivhaus Prominence<br />

Unfortunately, the floor space<br />

earmarked for the Building<br />

Research in Architecture group’s<br />

Passive Pod House did not feature<br />

what was advertised.<br />

It is pretty hard to miss a complete<br />

house, so unfortunately it<br />

seems the concept did not reach<br />

the show - but if it had been<br />

there I would have enjoyed seeing<br />

an example of their demountable<br />

Passivhaus-standard home,<br />

fabricated off site using just five<br />

main components.<br />

The UK’s Passivhaus Trust were<br />

in attendance, and enough build<br />

systems advertised Passivhaus<br />

levels of performance to suggest<br />

that awareness of the standard<br />

- and highly efficient building<br />

fabric generally - is growing. One<br />

system offered by a group of<br />

Polish companies took a novel<br />

approach, offering performance<br />

levels from ‘basic’ to ‘sub-arctic’.<br />

Education<br />

The plethora of housing solutions<br />

going beyond building<br />

regulations and advocating<br />

future-proofed building fabric<br />

was encouraging. A number of<br />

stands, however, risked undermining<br />

the trend thanks to confusing<br />

displays and terminology.<br />

Several mixed up thermal conductivity<br />

(W/mK) and U-values<br />

(W/m2K), making it difficult for<br />

a trained eye to discern what<br />

performance was actually being<br />

claimed. It almost certainly made<br />

life hard for anyone who was<br />

less familiar with the terminology<br />

but interested in doing the right<br />

thing.<br />

Large student groups remained<br />

a noticeable part of ecobuild’s<br />

visitors, and it is particularly<br />

worrying to think they’re being<br />

exposed to inaccurate and<br />

potentially misleading messaging<br />

at what is supposed to be one<br />

of the major exhibitions of the<br />

construction industry’s year.<br />

insulate at ecobuild<br />

For our part, <strong>Insulate</strong> was<br />

pleased to have a stand in the<br />

Building Performance hub. We<br />

spent the show’s three days<br />

distributing free copies of the<br />

magazine and providing a<br />

showcase for Mauer UK’s<br />

external wall insulation (EWI)<br />

system, featured in last month’s<br />

issue, which deservedly proved<br />

popular with visitors.<br />

23<br />

23<br />

23<br />


www.insulatenetwork.com<br />

<strong>Insulate</strong> Columnist<br />

Heat or Eat<br />

the Need to Tackle Fuel Poverty Crisis<br />

Simon Storer, Chief Executive of Insulation Manufacturers Association (IMA)<br />

With the ‘Beast from the East’ striking three times in succession this month and the threat<br />

of Storm Toby over Easter, this March has certainly been one of the coldest I can recall for<br />

a long time. This of course means that people need to heat their homes for longer periods<br />

than they would normally and for those on low incomes and those living in fuel poverty this can<br />

sometimes mean making difficult choices about whether to heat or eat.<br />

The consequences of fuel poverty are well-documented<br />

and include discomfort, ill health, mental illness and<br />

debt. Fuel poverty is also linked to increased winter<br />

mortality with a rise in winter deaths associated with<br />

cold homes. Such is the problem that according to a<br />

study by the Association for the Conversation of Energy<br />

(ACE), living in a cold home kills more people than<br />

road accidents, alcohol or drug abuse.<br />

But it is not just the vulnerable, frail, and elderly who<br />

become a statistic. A cold home can mean lower<br />

educational attainment and lead to social exclusion<br />

for young children. There are also links to rising costs<br />

within the NHS in the fight to treat conditions worsened<br />

by insufficiently heated homes, particularly heart<br />

and respiratory diseases.<br />

We all know that energy efficiency improvements<br />

should play their part in helping those in fuel poverty<br />

to keep up with rising energy costs, but with government-backed<br />

delivery of home energy efficiency<br />

improvements stalling, we inevitably end up playing<br />

political football with the issue whilst the poorest and<br />

most vulnerable in society suffer.<br />

The government’s 2015 Fuel Poverty Strategy, which<br />

introduced a statutory target to ensure that as many<br />

fuel poor homes as practically possible achieve a<br />

minimum energy efficiency rating of Band C by 2030,<br />

will only be reached if we can upscale installation of<br />

high performance thermal insulation, to the nation’s<br />

housing stock. In short, we have to agree the process,<br />

ensure that the work has been carried out to a decent<br />

standard and is value for money. This is the real challenge<br />

we face.<br />

Firstly, is the need to provide an accurate upfront<br />

assessment of the existing building by a competent<br />

assessor, who can then interpret the findings and prescribe<br />

appropriate energy improvement measures.<br />

There will be various measures required to refurbish<br />

a building, but to ensure the right result is achieved<br />

there has to be coordination between all retrofit activities.<br />

Getting the fabric of the building well insulated<br />

should always be the starting point.<br />

With examples of poor practice in retrofit on the<br />

increase, it is important that a comprehensive set of<br />

standards: the assessment, installation and<br />

commissioning, are all carried out correctly; and the<br />

consumer has a retrofit that works. Professional<br />

co-ordination coupled with consumer motivation,<br />

will deliver a successful retrofit and this is one of the<br />

key objectives of the Each Home Counts 1 review<br />

which recommends that there be a quality mark for<br />

all energy efficiency and renewable energy measures<br />

to ensure that the consumer receives excellent<br />

levels of consumer protection, companies adhere to<br />

a strict code of conduct when operating in the energy<br />

efficiency arena and that products are installed to<br />

approved codes of practice.<br />

24<br />


Retrofitting insulation works for a whole host<br />

of reasons from saving money to reducing carbon<br />

and being good for our health. Whether<br />

it is an internal or external insulation application,<br />

it is vitally important we bring the nation’s<br />

homes up to or beyond an acceptable standard<br />

by getting the fabric of the building as<br />

energy efficient as possible. Using the highest<br />

performing products, such as PIR insulation,<br />

will go a long way to achieve this. Only then<br />

will we be able to provide a long-term asset<br />

that can be passed onto future generations.<br />

For more information about the Insulation<br />

Manufacturers<br />

Association please visit:<br />

www.insulationmanufacturers.org.uk<br />

We all know that energy<br />

efficiency improvements<br />

should play their part<br />

in helping those in fuel<br />

poverty to keep up with<br />

rising energy costs, but<br />

with government-backed<br />

delivery of home energy<br />

efficiency improvements<br />

stalling, we inevitably end<br />

up playing political football<br />

with the issue whilst the<br />

poorest and most<br />

vulnerable in society suffer.<br />

Simon Storer<br />


www.insulatenetwork.com<br />

Artifical Intelligence<br />

and the Insulation industry<br />

Jamie Street Lead Creative at <strong>Insulate</strong> Network<br />

What impact will Artificial Intelligence have on the Insulation Industry? From<br />

insulation products and manufacturing processes to installation and performance<br />

it’s exciting to speculate how Insulation will be affected by Artificial<br />

Intelligence. By Jamie Street<br />

Everyday Artificial Intelligence<br />

Artificial Intelligence has always been a fascination<br />

for me and for many I’m sure. From Terminator and<br />

Robocop to i-Robot and Westworld, the prospect of<br />

a world populated by robots is common in Hollywood<br />

and all forms of visual entertainment.<br />

In the UK we have already had the pleasure of<br />

self-service checkouts for almost a decade. Amazon’s<br />

Go 1 has seen the first introduction of “no lines, no<br />

checkouts”, giving customers in the U.S unprecedented<br />

shopping freedom. In Dubai they have recently<br />

launched their first “robotic cop” to handle smaller<br />

workforce duties. Whilst In Japan and China we are<br />

already seeing the rapid replacement of humans on<br />

the factory production line, with the long term goal of<br />

replacing human labour altogether 3 .<br />

Whilst Artificial Intelligenceis often seen as the “future”,<br />

there is no denying the future is upon us.<br />

Vision for the Future<br />

A recent article from construction enquirer 4<br />

discusses Balfour Beatty’s vision for construction<br />

sites in 2050. Balfour believe the majority of work will<br />

be done off-site, work will be completed by robotic<br />

cranes and diggers overseen by drones. Construction<br />

materials will be dynamic and capable of self-assembly,<br />

on-site humans would wear exoskeletons to<br />

improve performance whilst others would be deployed<br />

off-site to monitor drones and cameras from afar.<br />

Terms like “offsite”, “drones” and even “exoskeletons”<br />

are more than familiar in todays vocabulary, so this<br />

picture for 2050 is already materialising.<br />

Paul Forrester’s 5 “offsite” feature in issue<br />

15 of insulate magazine and the<br />

signifiant presence of offsite at<br />

ecobuild this year is<br />

just the tip of the<br />

iceberg.<br />


www.insulatenetwork.com<br />

Insulation Technology<br />

Furthermore, an announcement from Caterpiller<br />

provides some insight into the Artificial Intelligence<br />

we can expect to see on construction sites in the<br />

not too distant future. The article details Caterpillar’s<br />

recent investment into a brick-laying robot capable<br />

of laying 1,000 bricks an hour<br />

A Complex Concept<br />

So is Artificial Intelligence unavoidable and we<br />

should all fear for our jobs? Well there appears to<br />

be a bit of ironing out to be done when it comes to<br />

more intricate detailed tasks<br />

A recent article from TRIB live 7 highlights BMW’s<br />

requirement for human skills over AI for intricate and<br />

complex tasks at their largest factory. In the same<br />

article, Cisco Systems notes the complications<br />

Unsurpising Evolution<br />

It probably doesn’t seem a shock to many that<br />

Artificial Intelligence will be a dominant feature of<br />

the construction industry work force in years to<br />

come. Factories and building sites have used machines<br />

for years, off-site construction continues to<br />

grow in popularity and newer technologies such as<br />

BIM are now common phrases in the construction<br />

landscape.<br />

However, as with all industries it does raise<br />

questions over the role of humans and the<br />

investment required to adopt the<br />

new technologies.<br />

with extracting data<br />

from highly automated<br />

manufacturing processes.<br />

<strong>Issue</strong>s of trust are also a<br />

significant factor. The issue of<br />

speed seems to be a stumbling<br />

block when it comes to more<br />

intricate tasks. The BBC 8 reported<br />

that burger flipping robot had to be<br />

taken offline because it was too slow.<br />

Despite these teething problems, it’s a matter of<br />

time before issues of speed, efficiency and even<br />

trust are overcome and robots of a common fixture.<br />

But What About Insulation?<br />

At this stage you are probably wondering, “But<br />

What about Insulation?”. Well here goes.<br />

As a key component within the construction<br />

process, the forecasts from Balfour Beatty will<br />

undoubtedly play a significant role. Robotic<br />

installation, self-assembly, off-site construction<br />

and more.<br />

We are already seeing leading manufacturers<br />

utilising virtual reality at exhibitions to showcase<br />

their products, which points towards a similar<br />

embrace when it comes to more advanced<br />

Artificial intelligence.<br />

www.insulatenetwork.com<br />


www.insulatenetwork.com<br />

Insulation Technology<br />

Insulation Products and Artificial Intelligence<br />

Will the capabilities of Artificially Intelligent life forms<br />

be so advanced that they are able to identify insulation<br />

products that offer better performance in specific<br />

environments and locations? Perform scientific<br />

calculations that allow for the development of insulation<br />

solutions that haven’t previously been considered?<br />

Or the lower risk to human error by making it<br />

possible to use materials that were previously overlooked?<br />

It’s exciting to consider how insulation products will<br />

evolve as a consequence of Artificial Intelligence. In<br />

the short-term Insulation products will undoubtedly be<br />

thinner, lighter and better performing than ever before.<br />

A big question to ask is whether insulation materials<br />

and products will be a standalone product category<br />

at all? Is Structural Insulation Panels (SIPS) a sign of<br />

things to come as insulation becomes integral to other<br />

elements of construction?<br />

Will construction materials become like the modern<br />

mobile phone, becoming “smart” materials that<br />

integrate thermal and acoustic benefits into one single<br />

high performance kitchen top?<br />

Insulation Manufacturing<br />

The visions for on-site construction will be ten-fold<br />

when it comes to Artificial Intelligence’s impact on<br />

insulation manufacturing. Insulation factories will be<br />

populated with even more robotic machines than they<br />

are today, monitored by drones and watched over by<br />

human inspection.<br />

Artificial Intelligence will undoubtedly reduce the<br />

margin of error, improve efficiency and increase output<br />

when it comes to Insulation manufacturing process.<br />

The potential for enhanced output of insulation products<br />

as a result of Artificial Intelligence will be most<br />

apparent with 24 hour, 365 day operation becoming<br />

normality. No staff breaks, no holidays, no errors, less<br />

health and safety implications. The cost of AI will be<br />

significant, but the yield benefits appear to justify its<br />

early adoption.<br />

Insulation Distribution<br />

With Heavy Good Vehicles (HGV) predicted to move<br />

from one location to another without a human driver<br />

becoming more of a reality, it’s fascinating to consider<br />

how insulation distribution will be affected. If much<br />

of the construction is completed off-site will the days<br />

of insulation panels and boards being shipped from<br />

factory to construction site be a thing of the past?<br />

Advances are likely to have positive implications in<br />

the reduction of energy consumption and carbon foot<br />

print, but more importantly what role will insulation<br />

distributors play in the future?<br />

With construction taking place off-site will their<br />

services be as essential as they are today and how<br />

will their role need to change to accommodate such<br />

changes in the industry?<br />

Insulation Installation<br />

The degree of accuracy and speed achievable by<br />

future robots suggests humans will have a limited role<br />

in insulation installlation. Insulation materials will likely<br />

be installed off-site and any on-site installation will be<br />

conducted by robots, significantly reducing build times<br />

and human error.<br />

The influence on installation will be effected by the<br />

form insulation products will take in years to come.<br />

Will insulation products be primarily sprayed to exact<br />

depths, without any significant human involvment?<br />

28 www.insulatenetwork.com

www.insulatenetwork.com<br />

The implications of Artificial<br />

Intelligence on the Insulation industry as<br />

with all industry’s will undoubtedly be<br />

significant, effecting every process along<br />

the path towards a buildings completion<br />

That answer would appear to be yes, at least for<br />

some applications. As featured in the Decemeber<br />

issue of <strong>Insulate</strong> <strong>Magazine</strong>, the Q-Bot 9 robot delivers<br />

sprayfoam underfloors to precise depths, whilst saving<br />

money and time. It can’t be long until Insulation panels<br />

and rolls can be installed at unimaginable speeds and<br />

incredible accuracy. AI may even help overcome the<br />

cocerns over human error frequently associated with<br />

insulation installation.<br />

It’s realistic to envisage that AI developments will<br />

speed up build times in all areas of construction,<br />

with projects being completed in weeks if not days.<br />

24 hour operation is a possibility with modern methods<br />

potentially reducing the noise, disturbances and<br />

delays caused by all stages of construction. These<br />

factors would be also be vastly reduced if the majority<br />

of the work is completed offsite. It’s overwhelming to<br />

consider how rapidly existing landscapes and skylines<br />

will develop in short periods of time.<br />

Space for Debate<br />

The implications of Artificial Intelligence on the<br />

Insulation industry as with all industry’s will<br />

undoubtedly be significant, effecting every process<br />

along the path to a buildings completion. I have only<br />

scratched the surface of its potential impact and<br />

it would be interesting to hear from experts in the<br />

insulation industry on how they envisage the future will<br />

unfold. Maybe you already know?<br />

Share your thoughts on the impact of<br />

Artificial Intelligence on the Insulation Industry,<br />

send your comments to news@insulatenetwork.<br />

com or @insulatenetwork on twitter.<br />

References<br />

1. Amazon Go<br />

2. Robotic Cop in Dubai<br />

3. The Robot Revolution : The New Age of Manufacturing<br />

4. Construction Enquirers: Balfour Beatty’s Artificial Intelligance vision<br />

5. The Spotlight is on Offsite Construction, Paul Forrester<br />

6. Caterpillar, 1,000 bricks per hour<br />

7. Burger Flipping robot taken offline after one day, BBC<br />

8. TRIB Live, Why the Robot takeover is proceeding slowly<br />

9. Q-Bot The Robot for Insulating Under Floors<br />

Jamie Street,<br />

Creative at <strong>Insulate</strong> Network<br />

@jamie_insulate<br />

www.insulatenetwork.com<br />


A site for<br />

sore eyes<br />

Looking at the advantages of BBA Certification<br />

As you well know, major construction work on building sites<br />

involves a huge amount of product and materials checking, not<br />

least to make sure everything meets the exacting requirements<br />

of building regulations. This can be stressful at the best of times<br />

and a helping hand is always welcome.<br />

That’s why more and more people are coming to the BBA for<br />

off-site certification of their products. For many years now, our<br />

work in the offsite construction sector has brought peace of mind<br />

to hundreds of architects and manufacturers alike.<br />

BBA Agrément Certificates are widely read and respected by<br />

industry decision-makers who want to select innovative products<br />

that have been thoroughly assessed by the BBA. Our assessors<br />

have decades of experience in evaluating Offsite Construction,<br />

and we are currently assessing many new systems, adding to the<br />

many already approved including insulated concrete formwork,<br />

SIPs and framed systems.<br />

Of course, our main focus is on the requirements of Building<br />

Regulations — not just in England and Wales, but also in Scotland<br />

and Northern Ireland. But we go much further than that. We<br />

want to ensure that a system is not only waterproof, warm and<br />

structurally sound; it has to be durable, too. No-one wants to buy<br />

a system with a short life expectancy, so we seek to ensure that it<br />

will last for an appropriate period of time.<br />

Neither are our assessments simply desk exercises. As well as<br />

testing, we go out to the factory to check system documentation<br />

and control, making sure that the specification we approve is<br />

capable of being produced consistently.<br />

We also go out on site to see units being offloaded and installed.<br />

That’s because we know that what may seem simple when<br />

explained in a dry office or factory can turn out to be very<br />

different on a building site.<br />

Once we have gathered data from testing, factory inspections<br />

and site surveillance, we consider how we can use it to establish<br />

that the requirements of Building Regulations and other statutory<br />

or non-statutory documents have been met.<br />

BBA Agrément Certificates are regarded as quite simply the best<br />

assurances you can get for your off-site products. With BBA’s 50<br />

years of unrivalled expertise in building and construction<br />

certification, it’s easy to see why.<br />

clientservices@bba.star.co.uk<br />

www.bbacerts.co.uk<br />

01923 665300

The only independent insulation industry trade magazine<br />

<strong>Insulate</strong> Columnist<br />

Embracing Ecommerce<br />

Time to take Advantage of Online Opportunities<br />

Andrian Sanders, Director of Ecommerce, Construction Materials Online<br />

A<br />

drian Saunders, Director of eCommerce, Construction Materials Online, analyses the benefits<br />

of eCommerce for the construction industry, and looks at why it is becoming the first choice<br />

for professionals looking to source materials.<br />

The construction industry has firmly entered an era of<br />

connection, with technology radically transforming the<br />

supply chain. eCommerce is now a trusted alternative<br />

to traditional building merchants, not just offering<br />

opportunities for significant cost savings, but also<br />

improved productivity, a greater choice of products<br />

and access to expert support<br />

Construction professionals want fair pricing and a<br />

varied product range, alongside the convenience of<br />

an online retail experience, and a recent survey we<br />

conducted of over 200 professionals from across all<br />

construction trades, to analyse this shift in behaviour,<br />

revealed that 94% now find that online.<br />

Whilst traditional high street builders’ merchants favour<br />

the bricks and mortar approach, product choice is<br />

limited, and employees often lack the expert knowledge<br />

required to make informed recommendations<br />

based on a specific project. With 44% of professionals<br />

now opting for online sourcing in comparison to just<br />

24% favouring high street and commercial merchants,<br />

it’s clear that eCommerce is becoming the preferred<br />

choice.<br />

Construction eCommerce is built on the fundamentals<br />

of modern online customer behaviour, offering a more<br />

collaborative and innovative approach to sourcing<br />

materials, unrestricted by store opening times. Made<br />

to order and bespoke products can also be sourced<br />

quickly, whilst expert online support teams can advise<br />

on how best a project can meet budgets and exceed<br />

building requirements and regulations.<br />

Usually offering far greater product selections and<br />

competitive pricing, it’s little wonder that buying online<br />

is now the favoured option. More than half of survey<br />

respondents agreed, revealing that visits to builders’<br />

merchant chains in the past year have been marred by<br />

product stock shortages - with 55% also witnessing<br />

product price rises.<br />

With the quality and variety of materials continuing to<br />

advance at a rapid pace, it can be difficult for<br />

traditional merchants to keep up. Combined with the<br />

time taken to source materials from the high street,<br />

eCommerce is a viable solution which can significantly<br />

improve productivity, saving valuable time in an industry<br />

focused on meeting tight build deadlines.<br />

Our own company growth is evidence of this, with<br />

over 50,000 products available across our three<br />

eCommerce brands, Roofing Superstore, Drainage<br />

Superstore and Insulation Superstore. Roofing Superstore<br />

is also now the largest online supplier of roofing<br />

materials in the UK, and with strong relationships with<br />

some of the world’s leading manufacturers, it is the<br />

‘one stop shop’ for roofing materials.<br />

We are focused on providing a bespoke, human approach<br />

to eCommerce and are a trusted online source<br />

of building materials - with over 8,000 independent<br />

customer reviews on Trust Pilot, over 90% of which<br />

are positive.<br />

With demand only set to increase for easier and more<br />

efficient methods of purchasing, the industry now<br />

needs to embrace eCommerce, understanding the<br />

value and benefits it brings.<br />

www.insulatenetwork.com<br />


The only independent insulation industry trade magazine<br />

Content Partners<br />

National Insulation Association (NIA)<br />

The NIA represents the insulation industry in the UK and our members include manufacturers and<br />

installers of a number of insulation solutions for your home or business. Both the NIA and its members<br />

are fully committed to maintaining and raising standards within the insulation industry.<br />

Contact Name: Neil Marshall Email: neil.marshall@nia-uk.org Website: http://www.nia-uk.org/ Social:<br />

@NIALtd<br />

Mineral Wool Insulation Manufacturers Association (MIMA)<br />

Established in 1962 (originally as ‘Eurisol’), the Mineral Wool Insulation Manufacturers Association<br />

(MIMA) provides an authoritative source of independent information and advice<br />

on glass and stone wool. MIMA actively promotes the benefits of mineral wool insulation<br />

and the contribution it makes to the energy efficiency of buildings and the comfort and<br />

wellbeing of their occupants.<br />

Contact Name: Sarah Kostense-Winterton Email: sarah@mima.info Website: www.mima.info/ Social:<br />

@MIMA_UK<br />

Insulation Manufacturers Association (IMA)<br />

Insulation Manufacturers Association (IMA) is the representative body for the PIR and PUR<br />

insulation industry in the UK. Known for 40 years as BRUFMA, IMA will continue to speak<br />

out on behalf of its members and seek to ensure it is the principal point of contact for all<br />

audiences relevant to the sector.<br />

Contact Name: Mel Price Email: mel.price@insulationmanufacturers.org.uk<br />

Website: www.insulationmanufacturers.org.uk Social:<br />

@IMA_Org<br />

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