Home Improvement

epc4less: How cavity wall insulation can impact your homes energy efficiency


This is an article by epc4less, a provider of EPCs (Energy Performance Certificates) in Belfast, NI. The article hopes to provide homeowners in Belfast and Northern Ireland with the knowledge that better wall insulation will increase their homes’ energy efficiency and in the process save them money.

What is a cavity wall?

Before 1920 the majority of houses in Belfast were constructed from either solid brick or stone walls. This gradually changed in the 1920’s and 30’s as the concept of the cavity wall became popular. A cavity wall features two walls with an air gap left in between. The perimeter of your home has an exterior wall, also known as the outer brick leaf or brick face, and an internal wall is called the inner block leaf or masonry wall. The gap is left between filled with air is known as the cavity.

The history in cavity insulation in NI, 1930 to 1980

Building control standards enforced in Belfast before the 1980s did not require that cavity block homes to be insulated . As a consequence, the gaps between the outer and inner walls were just left empty.

Today wall cavities can quickly and efficiently be insulated by using an insulation injection process. Small holes about the size of a pound coin are drilled in the outer wall. An air compressor helps pump a mixture of a water-based adhesive and polyester beads into the cavity through these holes. Every inch if the cavity is filled with beads even around the window openings. The holes are refilled once the cavity is full. The cement mix used usually matches the exterior of the property so you don’t have to worry about any unsightly holes of cement circles. 

Building standards changed in the 1980s

As the standards changed in the late 1980s, houses in Northern Ireland were required to include cavity insulation. In the vast majority of these houses, either Kingspan foam blocks, polystyrene granules, polyurethane foam, or mineral fiber wool. Rigid Kingspan Insulation Boards and Fiber wool were by far the most popular options used in Belfast.

How your energy performance rating can be improved using cavity insulation

Studies have shown that the external walls can be responsible for home losing up to 35% of its heating energy. Depending on the size of your home, getting its external walls insulated can improve your EPC rating by 5 to 10 points. The larger the perimeter wall, the more heat that can be lost due to poor or no insulation. 

Many mid-terrace houses have a drastically reduced heat loss perimeter as they lack two external walls, meaning any additional cavity insulation only has a minimal impact on your EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) rating. End of a terrace or detached homes traditionally benefit more from the addition of cavity insulation as they have a much longer and more porous heat loss perimeters. One thing is plain; the majority of houses build in Belfast between 1930 and 1980 are not energy efficient and can benefit from a cavity wall insulation upgrade.

To obtain your Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) in Belfast visit http://www.epc4less.com/ 

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