BRE to begin research into solid wall insulation

BRE, the sustainable building research consultancy, is set to begin a £2 million Government-funded research project to find potential areas for energy saving from solid wall insulation.

BRE said the study would seek to better understand energy use and heat loss in the nearly eight million UK homes with solid walls, examining how well solid walls retain heat before and after insulation and testing the accuracy of measurement techniques for heat loss from solid wall insulation. Crucially, the study will take into account the energy use behaviour of the home’s occupants.

Solid wall homes make up nearly 30 per cent of all the UK’s existing housing stock, yet only two per cent of these homes have solid wall insulation, according to Government figures.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) said it had commissioned the research “to help us build on our understanding of the energy savings which can be made by installing this type of energy efficiency measure.”

Solid wall insulation, which is applied either internally or externally to houses without cavity wall insulation to prevent heat loss, is recognised as a key measure to cut the carbon emissions in Britain’s housing stock. It is an approved improvement under the Government’s Green Deal, which aims to insulate 14 million homes by 2020 by enabling homeowners and landlords to invest in energy efficient measures to their properties while paying for the upgrades through the savings in their gas bills. It is also one of the measures that can benefit from the Energy Company Obligation, an initiative whereby consumer energy companies will have to provide £1.3 billion a year in energy efficiency upgrades for low income and hard to insulate homes.

Energy and Climate Minister Greg Barker recently relaxed rules surrounding external solid wall insulation as part of the Green Deal roll out by having them constitute ‘improvements’ rather than ‘enlargements’ or ‘extensions.’

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