Thermal insulation requirements in new buildings are set to rise from April 2014 when the revised Building Regulations Part L requirements need to be adopted. Builders, developers and specifiers need to find new ways to ensure that new buildings not only meet the relevant standards but also outperform similar projects when it comes to saving energy and carbon.
Existing buildings can also be brought up to these standards to bring the cost of fuel bills down and reduce emissions. The use of a high performance spray applied or injected polyurethane foam can substantially increase the thermal performance of new and existing properties.
One of the major benefits of spray-applied polyurethane foam is its ability to produce a seamless blanket of insulation, which is joint free, bonding strongly to most building materials. Jointed systems give rise to a potentially weak point, leading to a significant loss of insulation value.
The two-component liquid system produces a highly-efficient blanket of insulation with a thermal conductivity approximately twice as efficient as fibreglass. It is particularly cost-effective and easy to apply to a wide variety of substrates. Its closed-cell nature renders it very resistant to moisture ingress and grades are available which achieve both Class 1 and Class 0 fire ratings when tested to BS 476 Part 7 and 6 respectively. The urethane foam can be applied in any thickness to suit the insulation requirements of the building.
Polyurethane foam systems provide the ideal solution for industrial and commercial buildings as large areas can be insulated quickly for insulation and condensation control. Factories, warehouses, exhibition halls, football stadiums and offices can all be insulated.
The British Urethane Foam Contractors Association (BUFCA) is the national trade association representing the spray applied and injected polyurethane foam industry. The association has specialist installers who are expert in the installation of PU foam in a wide variety of applications. Material and equipment suppliers are also part of BUFCA.
Many differing applications can benefit from sprayed, or injected polyurethane foam. Domestic roofs can be treated for insulation and stabilisation purposes where nail fatigue exists. This is subject to site survey as the roof needs to be structurally sound prior to installation. The underside of commercial roofs can be treated for insulation, stabilisation, or for condensation control. This prevents surface and interstitial condensation on building surfaces.
The Green Deal scheme is the Government’s funding mechanism for boosting the energy efficiency of the UK’s housing stock, as it provides upfront funding for insulation and renewable measures with the loan being repaid out of the ongoing savings made. This will form part of the Government’s plans to reduce energy consumption and take a step towards self-sufficiency by producing a proportion of energy domestically. This will also achieve reduced carbon emissions and a more secure energy infrastructure, as importation can be reduced.
A series of technical datasheets are available at www.bufca.co.uk to help specifiers meet current Building Regulations. Further information, or a brochure and list of installers, is available from the British Urethane Foam Contractors Association, tel: 01483 209666; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.