If there is one material that has the ability to give so much to the performance of a building, yet also has so much power to tear a building apart it's insulation. Well protected and placed, it can reduce energy consumption dramatically, wether it's from internal or external heat sources, but badly placed. It will create condensation causing mould growth, wrot, and literally tear a construction apart.
So believe me when I say that insulation should be a study piece all on its own, looking at the different types of insulation available, their use and placement within the building, all their strengths and weaknesses, internal temperature regime, external weather conditions, and what brings the last two elements together, condensation risk analysis.
All materials have an effect on the thermal performance of an element, but insulants general are the major contributors. Timber, and i include paper here, plastic, rock, natural wools, trapped air, and metal all have or are used as insulation materials, and I also want to include mass in this list to, together with reflective foils. What insulant you use will depend upon space available, the materials used to make up the element and the need to stop energy loss or gain. Plus I might add, the persuasive powers of the material reps.
Each element throws up its own insulation requirements, and problems, from available space to how other materials interact with the insulation. In the comming weeks I intend to explore the available insulations, their use by each element, and the required physics, plus the places were you can get the best independant knowledge.
First through this is my insulation list, you might be surprised at some of the items I have included, but I consider them insulants :
- Wood Fibre
- Plastic cell
- Super insulants
In the next blog, I'll take each and look at its makeup, use pro & cons, and if I can some research links for you to follow up on.
This provided, the basis of a CPD presentation I used to give to practices, when I was the technical guy for Dow Construction Product, supporting Styrofoam in construction.
CPD is immense, this subject will encompass just about every aspect of construction, when I taught new recruits, we spent weeks looking at this subject, even visiting plants, which unfortunately we can't do here.