Please Note: This Article is 6 years old. This increases the likelihood that some or all of it's content is now outdated.

Insulating some of the UK’s hard-to-treat or ‘problem’ domestic dwellings could face landlords with a difficult problem as we approach the looming deadline for minimum energy efficiency standards.

According to The British Urethane Foam Contractors Association (BUFCA) over 23%, or 4.7 million out of the 19.6 million domestic properties in Great Britain do not have cavity wall or other forms of insulation. This information they say is shown by the “Household Energy Efficiency National Statistics, Detailed Report 2015”, published by the Department of Energy & Climate Change in March 2016. Most of these houses they say are classed as ‘hard-to-treat’ dwellings, which simply means that they are more difficult to insulate.

Standard forms of cavity wall insulation may not be possible in these properties for several reasons: They may have irregular or narrow cavities which restrict the use of injected insulation methods, they may have defective/corroded wall ties, or they may be unsuitable for external wall insulation due to planning restrictions.

Other reasons could include where internal wall insulation may disrupt tenants, especially if they object to work being done, where space is at a premium, or those properties located in high or severe wind driven rain exposure conditions, and where properties are at risk of flooding.

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BUFCA claim that the use of injected polyurethane foam can provide the best solution for many of these types of properties. The process can easily be used for walls or sprayed in as roof insulation to effectively insulate most housing.

Closed cell polyurethane foam has been around for over 30 years. The polyurethane insulant is a two-component liquid system which produces an efficient blanket of insulation with a good thermal conductivity figure. Systems can be applied to various depths and have K-values in the range of 0.025 to 0.028W/mK.

For cavity wall insulation, injected polyurethane foam provides an insulant which also helps to bond the inner and outer leaves providing strength to the building say BUFCA. Air leakage through the cavity can be reduced to zero. Because of the greater thermal performance and the reduced air leakage polyurethane foam BUFCA  claim outperforms all other forms of cavity fill. Injected polyurethane cavity wall insulation can be used in flood-plain areas to provide an additional barrier against water ingress through the walls.

Often tenant occupiers living in hard-to-treat properties may be classed as living in fuel poverty, whereby a large proportion of their income is required for heating their homes. They may be elderly or vulnerable and would particularly benefit from well insulated homes.

In fact, says BUFCA, it is often these people who end up in hospital with cold-related illnesses. If all homes were brought up to a decent standard of energy efficiency this could certainly relieve some of the pressure on hospitals both in terms of admissions and the resultant cost savings.

Polyurethane foam is often the most cost effective solution for uninsulated cavity walled properties claim BUFCA. The British Urethane Foam Contractors Association represents professional installers of sprayed and injected polyurethane foam systems. A BUFCA say a twenty-five year insurance warranty is available for cavity wall insulation projects.

Landlords should seek the advice of a professional building surveyor before making important decisions about insulation strategies before the April 2018 deadline.

Improving the energy efficiency of our buildings

Please Note: This Article is 6 years old. This increases the likelihood that some or all of it's content is now outdated.


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