Trade story: Help the elderly come in from the cold during ‘Cold Homes Week’: 2-6 February 2015


Now that cold, wintry weather is upon us, we can see only too well what hardship the elderly may have to contend with if they live in cold housing. The trade association for the application of sprayed or injected polyurethane foam, the British Urethane Foam Contractors Association, urges specifiers to increase the insulation levels in these properties to meet today’s standards.

An estimated 18,200 excess winter deaths occurred in England and Wales for the 2013-2014 winter period. Whilst this is the lowest rate for many years (since 1950-51), the figure still shows that 11.6% more people died in the winter months compared with the non-winter months. These provisional figures were released by the Office for National Statistics on November 28, 2014.

On the positive side the figures are coming down, in line with the prevalence of thermal insulation. This does show the huge benefit that properly insulated housing can make. Indeed, it must also have other benefits such as keeping people out of hospital.

It’s not just the elderly who are at risk – people with other illnesses can be particularly prone to ill health when they are living in cold, damp conditions. Homes which are well insulated will be far warmer and retain the heat for longer, resulting in lower fuel bills.

Spray applied or injected polyurethane foam will provide far better insulation than the equivalent thickness of most insulation materials, whilst stabilising the roof and walls.

For superior insulation performance, the foam, spray-applied at rafter level, together with the existing 100mm layer of insulation at joist level, brings the thermal performance right up to today’s stringent standards and even avoids the need to ventilate the roof space.

Injected cavity wall insulation provides an insulating barrier and provides stability to the walls, avoiding the expensive job of replacing wall ties. The foam is also beneficial in hard-to-treat properties which are unsuitable for other materials, or for homes at risk of flooding, where other products might not survive. Due to the expanding properties of the foam, air leakage, draughts and cold spots are eliminated, providing superior energy-saving insulation and carbon savings.

To provide reassurance to customers who require injected cavity wall insulation a 25-year BUFCA warranty is available. Installer members of the British Urethane Foam Contractors Association agree to abide by the Association’s Code of Professional Practice. Visit for a list of professional installers.
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