Insulate Britain’s Homes

Insulate Britain’s Homes2021-12-06T15:26:49+00:00

Hard To Insulate Homes (commonly referred to as Hard To Treat Homes HTTH) retrofit  solid external wall insulation cladding remodelling change works and cavity wall insulation green homes energy saving warm works. Reports of building insulation problems, complaints, defects, wind driven rain penetration, fire damage, storm damage,  flood risk damage, damp insulation and walls, black mould (mold), insulated cladding removal, cavity insulation extraction, cavity clearance and insulation compensation claims are all on the increase.

THINK BEFORE YOU INSULATE BRITAIN’S HOMES.

TO INSULATE OR NOT TO INSULATE BRITAIN’S REMAINING UNINSULATED HOUSING STOCK?

ONE SOLUTION DOESN’T FIT ALL!

IF WE INSULATE BRITAIN’S HOMES INAPPROPRIATELY WE MAY CAUSE DAMP AND UNSIGHTLY BLACK MOULD, MAKE HOMES EVEN MORE DIFFICULT TO HEAT AND CAUSE HOMES TO EMIT MUCH GREATER QUANTITIES OF GREENHOUSE GASES INTO THE ATMOSPHERE OR MAKE THEM UNINHABITABLE, AND PUT THE HEALTH AND WELL-BEING OF HOMEOWNERS AT CONSIDERABLE RISK AND CAUSE THEM EVEN FURTHER INCREASED HIGH FINANCIAL HARDSHIP FOR MANY YEARS TO COME.

However; we are constantly being told in news reports and by possibly well-meaning members of the public on social media that we must not only insulate our homes but also reduce draughts and increase the airtightness of our homes while at the same time we are told by government, NHS and other health advisors that we must open our windows to allow fresh air circulation to improve our health and living conditions and to reduce the risk of Covid infection, damp and black mould.

Is it any wonder that homeowners are confused?

External Wall Insulation – Internal Damp Walls and Unsightly Black Mould

There are numerous reports in the news, social media and in Parliament of homeowners whose homes have been destroyed by installation of inappropriate or defective retrofit:

  • loft insulation (LI) and/or

  • cavity wall insulation (CWI)

  • external wall insulation (EWI)

In addition, there are also misleading reports throughout the media of the numbers of existing homes that need to receive retrofit insulation to make them energy efficient. According to the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC), STATISTICAL RELEASE: EXPERIMENTAL STATISTICS, 27th June 2013, Estimates of Home Insulation Levels in Great Britain: April 2013, it is estimated there are approximately 27.1 million homes in Great Britain. Of these 16.2 million homes had loft insulation (68% of homes with lofts), 19.1 million had cavity walls of which 13.4 million had cavity wall insulation (70% of homes with cavity walls) and the remaining 8.0 million have solid walls. Proof, if it was needed, that millions of homeowners have already received funding through various Government run schemes (Decent Homes, ECO, CERT, etc) via significant levies imposed on taxpayer’s energy bills to cover costs of installation of retrofit:

  • loft insulation (LI) and/or

  • cavity wall insulation (CWI)

  • external wall insulation (EWI)

  • internal wall insulation (IWI)

  • underfloor Insulation (UFI)

  • park home insulation

Of the 5.3 million homes without cavity wall insulation, most are classified as non-traditional or expensive to insulate (Hard-To-Treat) homes, with only 0.7 million of them being easy to treat standard cavities.

Flood Risk Homes – Saturated Cavity Wall Insulation and Underfloor Insulation

Before you insulate, draughtproof or increase the airtightness of your home you should give very careful consideration to each of the following:

1. Possibility of increasing the risk of Covid infection
2. Climate change and increased storm conditions and associated increase in wind driven rain conditions, damp and black mould, flooding and fire risks
3. Has my home been classified as expensive to insulate (Hard-To-Treat) including:

• Non-Traditional Construction

No-Fines Concrete – Wimpey, Laing Easiform
Precast Concrete – Airey, Orlit, Unity, Cornish, Dorran, Wates
Steel Frame – Cussins, Hawthorn Leslie, Trusteel, British Iron and Steel Federation (BISF)
Timber-Frame – Swedish, Calder, Norwegian Spooner,
Large Precast Concrete Panel – Bison, Taylor Woodrow, etc.

• Stone-Built Construction

Many stone-built homes are classified as “hard to treat” in terms of cavity wall insulation (CWI).

Traditionally-built random natural stone walls are around 600 mm or more in thickness and are permeable to water and rely on their thickness to prevent moisture transfer to the inside surface.

External wall insulation (EWI) is generally unsuitable due to effect on aesthetic appearance of the properties and conservation restrictions.

• Narrow Cavity Brick Wall construction

Blown fibre or bead CWI products should generally not be installed where the cavities are either too narrow (below 50 mm), there is no DPC installed or the inner face of the cavity is too uneven such as found in random stone-built homes.

Appropriate damp proof courses and cavity trays are essential components required to be taken into consideration in the design of cavity walls when assessing exposure to wind driven rain.

• New-Build Timber-frame construction

These homes are not normally considered as suitable to receive retrofit cavity wall insulation (CWI).

• Exposure Conditions

Is my home subject to severe or very severe wind driven rain exposure or coastal exposure conditions.  See Fig above, Cavity Wall Insulation (CWI) – Wind Driven Rain Penetration.

Masonry walls including cavity wall insulation can become saturated, and can remain saturated for long periods of time. Part C of the Building Regulations (England and Walls) sets requirements for masonry walls based on their exposure rating to wind driven rain exposure conditions.

• Flood Risk Homes in Flood Risk areas

Flood waters can penetrate unprotected cavity walls and cause major damage to the outer walls, cavity wall ties, standard cavity wall insulation materials, plaster, electrical appliances, furnishings and decorations. The cost of removal and/or drying out of saturated standard insulation materials can be exorbitant and highly disruptive. See Fig above, Flood Risk Homes – Saturated Cavity Wall Insulation and Underfloor Insulation

It is estimated in Great Britain that one in five homes (circa 5.4 million) are at risk of flooding from rivers, the sea or surface water so there’s a high probability one of these properties is your home.

• Park homes.

There are an estimated 96,000 mobile homes or park homes used as permanent residential dwellings spread across circa 1200 sites in the UK.

Park homes are generally of lightweight construction and require a different approach to determine the suitability of the structure to support the additional loads of retrofit insulation measures to that used for traditional homes.

There is also a great deal of uncertainty regarding appropriate retrofit insulation measures, methodology used to determine the cost effectiveness (carbon benefit and capital funding), appropriate guarantees, and willingness of homeowners and park home site owners to take up these measures.

4. Existing cavity insulation.

Do the external walls of my home contain existing Inappropriate retrofit damp cavity Wall Insulation

5. Fire Risk.

Will the proposed retrofit insulation increase the potential fire risk in my home?

Finally, for my non-traditional or hard-to-treat home ask yourself, would it not be better to install an appropriate environmentally friendly renewable heat source (solar, ground or air) in combination with improved thermal glazing (double, triple glazing) incorporating trickle air vents to improve the quality of the indoor air and your well-being and to reduce the increased risk of incurring the extremely high costs associated with inappropriate or incorrectly installed retrofit insulation damp and black mould, and flood and fire risk?