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How to Insulate Solid Walls Without Ruining the Character of a Conservation Area

Published on by Dr Paul Beckett

Insulating a street

Insulating a Victorian Terrace

Challenging targets to reduce carbon emissions have resulted in UK Government plans to insulate 3.5million, predominantly Victorian, solid walled homes. The most effective solution seems to be external wall insulation but the problem is how to achieve this without ruining the character of these often protected buildings.
A study that explores this issue has recently been completed by Phlorum and BBM Sustainable Design architects, which was funded by LEAF and sponsored by Brighton and Hove 10:10 together with Hanover Action for Sustainable Living.
The work analysed the features of a typical Victorian terrace and produced details to show:

  • how external wall insulation could be applied;
  • what other improvements could be made; and
  • the energy efficiency improvements resulting from the insulation.

Key findings were that:

  • externally applied insulation is the preferred option as it doesn’t reduce internal space, is less disruptive and prevents cold-bridging;
  • significant energy savings can be achieved with just 60mm deep insulation;
  • careful survey and design can overcome most issues affecting visual impact so that the character of the street is maintained; and
  • when combined with other measures external wall insulation can achieve around a 68% reduction in CO2.

The study is available to download here.

About the author: Dr Paul Beckett

Dr Paul Beckett - picture

Dr Paul Beckett is one of the UK’s leading experts in Japanese knotweed and is a member of the Expert Witness Institute. He regularly provides Japanese knotweed expert witness services. He helped produce the RICS knotweed guidance for surveyors and was integral in the formation of the Property Care Association (PCA) Invasive Weed Control Group (IWCG).

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