Although the benefits of retrofitting houses with energy efficiency measures are now widely recognised; for nearly a third of UK homes with solid wall construction, eco upgrades still pose a major challenge. A new range of easy-to-apply products from Dulux Trade, specially developed to help cut heat loss through solid wall construction, could well provide the solution.
In a recent UKGBC report ‘Regeneration and Retrofit’, the wide-ranging benefits of improving a home’s energy efficiency were clear. It found that £8.6 billion could be saved in energy bills if all homes were improved to an EPC rating C; and as we endeavour to take 11% of English households out of fuel poverty, improving home energy efficiency was cited as the most cost-effective solution.
Properties in EPC bands E, F or G also require 48% more damp and mould-related maintenance and repairs, compared to that rated A – D. In addition to huge cost savings for local authorities, the physical and mental health of residents is also improved by retrofitting cold, damp homes.
Whilst upgrading loft and cavity wall insulation is relatively straightforward, improving the thermal efficiency of solid wall constructions has proved difficult and much more disruptive for occupants. Dulux Trade therefore embarked on a major R&D project to develop a range of easy-to-apply solutions that can help deliver thermal efficiencies, hassle free.
The new range of innovative coatings has been designed with revolutionary benefits, helping to deliver spaces that are not only beautiful but also comfortable and energy efficient.
One of the contributors to heat loss in residential properties is excess moisture contained within the exterior brickwork. In the UK, approximately three quarters of home brickwork exteriors are undecorated, and are therefore exposed to the elements.
In addition to having an impact on the thermal efficiency of a building, high levels of moisture within brickwork can also lead to costly exterior repairs. During the winter months, moisture trapped inside the brickwork freezes and in doing so expands in volume. This expansion process, over a period of 100 or so cycles, will eventually begin to break the brickwork apart by splitting the unit along the lines of the highest water saturation.
Dulux Trade Plus SmartShield+ is an invisible waterproof coating that reduces water ingress compared to untreated substrates. Helping walls stay dry from rain, whilst retaining the look and feel of a property, Smartshield+ has been specially formulated to help waterproof the substrate without sealing the surface; allowing the wall to breathe and dry out, whilst improving thermal efficiency of solid walls.
In fact, as an example if a typical wall of solid construction had a moisture content of 10%, which you might find in a high index wind driven rain zone - the U-value would be 2.46W/m²K. If the moisture content is reduced to 3%, this would improve the U-value to 1.93 W/²K – a 21.5% improvement.
Perfect for fast, low pressure spray application, but also suitable for use with brush and roller, the exterior coating protects buildings for up to 10 years – without changing the aesthetic.
For internal application, the Dulux Trade Plus range also includes an interior coating system that helps improve the thermal efficiency of a building by cutting heat loss through solid walls and reducing warm-up times.
The three-part coating system comprises an innovative basecoat with insulating properties, a levelling fiberglass fleece and Dulux Trade Plus Smooth & Protect+ – a protective mid-coat that provides a tough, durable finish that can be overpainted with standard emulsion.
Dulux Trade Plus ThermaCoat+ has a proven thermal conductivity value of 0.05 W/mK and is certified by the BBA (17/5445). It has been specifically designed to increase energy efficiency and is proven to reduce heat loss through solid walls by up to 18%*.
Dulux Trade Plus ThermaCoat+ can be applied directly to a previously painted wall – leaving a finished thickness of just under 6mm. This means the internal footprint of a property isn’t compromised and disruption is kept to a minimum.
The home is at the centre of UK society and ultimately regeneration projects are crucial to help rescue ageing housing stock from irreversible damage and improve the lives of its residents. Product developments that offer an easy solution, without altering a building’s exterior or interior aesthetic, therefore have a potentially vital role to play in tackling this burgeoning challenge.