Renovating old buildings and bringing classic designs in line with contemporary standards has high appeal. There are obviously aesthetic benefits to retrofitting, as older constructions have qualities that may not be easily replicated in new builds. Cost and location may also be taken into account. However when choosing the materials used in retrofits there are considerations that extend beyond the cosmetic.
With new legislation and an increased awareness of environmental issues, many of us are more aware than ever of using materials that reduce energy use and carbon emission.
Why Energy Efficiency?
Old buildings tend to need detailed work to reduce heat loss. Quite often the solutions used to reduce heat loss do not achieve the desired effect, but more significantly, they create other problems. The most significant of these problems is the trapping of moisture in the building fabric, which in turn leads to significant fabric decay and poor health for the occupant.
This is why natural building materials are being incorporated into retrofits, in order to provide a guaranteed and effective method of energy reduction and fabric moisture control
Pavatex woodfibre, one of the natural materials that Natural Building Technologies (NBT) distributes, outperforms synthetic insulation. Synthetic insulations simply can’t wick moisture and regulate moisture in the building fabric, and health and comfort are surely as non-negotiable as energy efficiency.
The chart below illustrates how energy use is distributed in domestic dwellings.
Diagram Credit: Institute for Sustainability
As you can see, 60% of all energy lost in a domestic dwelling is through space heating. Lighting only accounts for 3% of all domestic energy use – surprising when you consider how conservative we are becoming as a society with regards to energy saving lighting. Of course taking these other factors into consideration is important, however space heating uses much more energy and is a lot more expensive over the long term than any other contributor.
External walls and draughts are the biggest reasons for a need for space heating, with floors and roofs also contributing to temperature loss air leakage, and this is where many of our efforts are focused. Natural Building Technologies (NBT) use Building Envelope Designs to ensure heat isn’t lost in key areas.
Building envelope design is now understood as the most effective route to delivering low energy and low carbon solutions and the principal component to any zero carbon strategy
How To Save Energy and Reduce Emissions
There are three key areas we achieve energy efficiencies with our technologies.
- creating balance between u-values, thermal bridging and air tightness.
- ensuring long-term high performance in energy reduction
- providing effective moisture control in the building fabric by using the right materials AND the right specification
- Our team has a long history of providing detailed specification services to ensure the right product is used in the right way, based on the building type and location. We use natural materials to obtain results because only natural materials contain the necessary properties.