- Words by Kingspan Insulation
Putting fabric first
The scale of the challenge facing architects today is encapsulated in the Committee on Climate Change’s estimate that, to meet net-zero commitments by 2050, average UK household emissions will need to fall from 2,745 kgCO2e to just 138 kgCO2e. To deliver this, the basic building fabric must be right. Buildings that are well insulated, accurately detailed and properly ventilated can support occupant wellbeing, protect against fuel poverty, and ultimately lead the response to the climate emergency.
When it comes to insulation specification, thermal conductivity is key. The lower the value, the more resistant the material is to heat loss through conduction, meaning a slimmer thickness can be used to meet a given U-value. Kingspan Kooltherm products offer excellent performance with thermal conductivities as low as 0.018 W/mK.
In practical terms, this allows the creation of buildings with leading thermal performance without having to compromise on internal space or architectural vision. For example, research has shown that by using Kooltherm wall insulation products over lower-performing alternatives, it is possible to recover several square metres of usable space from the walls of some buildings. Slimmer walls mean window reveal depths can also be reduced, allowing more natural light to flow into a room throughout the day.
Kingspan are also actively working to help architects raise the performance when available space is at a premium with our specialist OPTIM-R range of vacuum insulation panels (VIPs). Through intelligent use of vacuum technology, the panels provide a thermal conductivity of just 0.007 W/mK — up to five times better than commonly used insulation materials. This means it is possible to address some of the most challenging applications, such as solid floor refurbishments, with an absolute minimum construction depth.
Kingspan Kooltherm and OPTIM-R products can be specified for a wide range of applications and are supported by our specialist technical services team who can assist in all areas of product specification, from U-value calculation and condensation risk analysis to specific detailing advice.
However, to truly accelerate the move to a more energy-efficient sustainably built environment, we believe we have to do more than supply the products to create it. We have to live it. Kingspan Insulation are committed to playing our part in tackling the climate emergency. Many of the products produced at our UK sites are certified ‘Very Good’ or ‘Excellent’ under the rigorous responsible sourcing standard — BES 6001 — and the facilities themselves are net-zero energy (NZE). This means that 100 per cent of our operational energy is met through renewable sources. By the close of the year, all Kingspan sites across the globe will be NZE and this is just the first step in our ambitious Planet Passionate sustainability programme.
Planet Passionate sets out a number of key targets which we will be working to achieve across the globe by 2030 including becoming a zero waste-to-landfill company, increasing onsite renewable generation by 20 per cent and raising product circularity by upcycling 1 billion PET bottles into insulation. Through these, and a variety of other commitments, we will look not only to maintain our NZE performance but also become an entirely net-zero carbon manufacturer.
A sustainable vision
The path towards a net-zero carbon built environment is by no means simple. However, by recognising fabric performance as a fundamental building block of net-zero carbon buildings, it is one that we can meet. Kingspan are here to support architects at every step, relentlessly working to develop products which push new boundaries and are manufactured to the highest standards of environmental practice.
For further information and technical support, please contact:
Tel: +44 (0) 1544 387 384
Fax: +44 (0) 1544 387 484