Dan Bowden and his team of construction specialists at Lite Homes Ltd were tasked to build two timber frame properties at Longdown, Devon. Whilst they wanted to maintain their high standards and produce even more quality properties to add to their portfolio, they also wanted to improve on past air tightness test results that they had been getting. Dan knew that by installing Lapolla FL2000-4G his airtightness and insulation requirements would be met. But why would you want to improve air-tightness?
Air tightness & it’s importance in a building.
The general consensus is that achieving a reasonable level of air tightness is important for the energy efficiency of dwellings and the comfort of occupants. The benefits of improved insulation levels and more energy efficient heating systems, are lost if warm air can escape from a building and cold air can leak in – leaking energy is leaking money!
The air tightness testing and measurement association (ATTMA) defines ‘air leakage’ as the ‘…uncontrolled flow of air through gaps and cracks in the fabric of a building. It is sometimes known as infiltration or draughts. Air leakage is not to be confused with ventilation, which is controlled airflow in/out of a building’
Building regulations also state that it … ‘is the uncontrolled exchange of air between inside a building and outside through cracks, porosity and other unintentional openings in a building, caused by pressure difference effects of the wind and/ or stack effect’
Wherever infiltration occurs, there is a corresponding ex filtration somewhere else in the building. During the Summer, infiltration can bring humid, outdoor air into building. In Winter, ex filtration can result in moist indoor air movement into cold wall cavities & can result in condensation and ultimately mould or rot. A significant amount of air leakage resulting in heat loss occurs in all buildings, but much less in air-tight buildings.
The benefits of air-tight buildings include:
- Lower running costs through reduced heat loss
- Fewer defects
- Reduced condensation
- Improved comfort
- Reduced Carbon emissions
Traditional insulating materials have been used for their thermal capabilities but are notoriously bad at assisting with the air-tightness of a building! This is because they are either porous, such as fibreglass, allowing air to freely move through it. Or they rely on perfect fitment such as PIR boarding, This fitment is often rushed or carried out by persons unaware of the importance of air-tightness and often gaps and cracks are left and not sealed correctly, resulting in excessive energy loss!
An easy solution for a multitude of conundrums
Lapolla FL2000-4G spray foam insulation offered three key factors making it the perfect solution!
- Firstly, it’s closed cell content is greater than 90% making it excellent at achieving an airtight blanket throughout the property. The installation method ensures that you get a fully sealed airtight blanket every time!
- It has a water absorption rate of 0.20 KG/M2 making it a superb water defence, stopping moisture ingress into the property.
- It also has a compressive strength of 223.56 KPA! This adds additional structural strength to the construction.
Here are some of the key benefits of Lapolla FL200-4G and the reason Dan chose to use it:
- The R Value of 0.22 WM2K meant that its insulation abilities were unrivalled by any traditional materials such as fibreglass or PIR boarding!
- The speed of install, meant it took a quarter of the time it would have taken if a more traditional insulation was used.
- It will improve the homes air quality and create an even temperature throughout the property.
- It aids in enhancing the value of the property by reducing the EPC rating.
- It drastically reduces noise intrusion like no other standard insulation on the market.
- It comes with a 25 year warranty to protect your financial investment.
The minimum specified airtightness taregt is 10 M3/H.M2 specified by building regulations. Dan and the Lite Homes team were issued a target of 5.00M3/H.M2 @ 50PA or less by the local building control department. The Lapolla FL2000-4G performed brilliantly and with some other standardised methods achieved the following results:
- Measured air permeability plot 1 – 1.51M3/ H.M2 @ 50PA – PASS
- Measured air permeability plot 2 – 1.57M3/H.M2 @ 50PA – PASS
The team were also required to carry out some acoustic tests. Approved document E states that the individual values of airbourne sound insulation (Dnt, w + ctr) should not be less than 45 DB for walls and floors in new properties. This was not a problem as all areas that used Lapolla FL2000-4G had a test result of 50 Db (Dnt, w + Ctr) – EASILY PASSING THE TEST!