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Energy Efficiency and Sustainability

What actually is sustainability?  In construction terms it is a much talked about term, but very badly defined. It's all about high performance, low carbon, and life expectancy.  If you really think about it, locally sourced and made traditional building products fit the bill very well!

Energy efficiency and sustainability is governed to a large extent by building pathology and materials - how they react to moisture and temperature.  Our combined expertise within the group gives us a unique approach to sustainability.  Our in-house architect, Nic Brown has extensive experience of the issues involved - having taken his Masters degree studies in alternative energy at CAT in Wales.  We constantly see applications for Listed Building Consent which are mis-informed by architects who do not understand the basics of what they are dealing with.  Most of the principles are covered in summary within BS 7913: 2013 - but there is a lot of detail and knowledge about the subject which is still being researched and understood.  We are at the forefront of this research, constantly assessing new technology and ideas, and providing input to Government policy.

Research by BRE has looked at heat loss in solid walls and one of the major findings of the study was that damp walls are a huge contributor to energy inefficiency.  Simply by drying walls out, we can improve the thermal efficiency of buildings by up to 30%.  Other research shows that heat loss through solid walls is being over estimated by up to 75%.  This clearly means that the silly real estate diagrams - those EPC diagrams you are supposed to pay for, are worthless.  

If you need help navigating through this maze of information, we have considerable expertise in this area - and can advise you - possibly using a building survey to look at all of the factors, and assess the suitability of the construction for retrofit.  DO NOT just take an architects advice - most of them have not got a clue about retrofit - nearly all the architect proposals we have seen recently have been badly informed and would have had adverse effect on the building, after costing huge sums of money. The more the exposure of the building - the more adverse the weather exposure is, the more risky will be the measures you take.  Exposure zone 4 is severe - and we are seeing almost total failure of cavity wall insulation in this zone - parts of yorkshire and south wales for example.  A good article explaining some of the more esoteric terms is to be found here - written by John Edwards, author of BS 7913: 2013

Heating has a big effect - constant low temperature heating for example is a far better system than using older style heating where it comes on in the morning for an hour and then goes off again.  The building fabric never heats up, and damp conditions result. 

Email us if you need help and we can discuss options for you.

 

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