Insulating a Staffelgeschosse


There are a number of words for which there is no direct equivalent in English – and an interesting example came up when we were looking at an installation of OPTIM-R on a roof in Germany.

In certain cities in Germany building regulations limit the number of stories a building can be, however it is often permissible to build a penthouseloft on the top of the building, as long as this is not visible from the street. This is known as a Staffelgeschosse. It can give extra space on the top of the building, and due to the requirement for it not to be visible from the street, can also have a terraced or balcony area around the loft.

Insulating the terrace

This can be hard to insulate, especially with the requirement to not add a step through from the inside of through to the outside terrace. There can be minimal space for insulation due to the introduction of doors and the need for level access onto the terrace, as shown in the picture below. In these cases it is often not practical to insulate underneath the terrace.

In one specific case study, there was only a small gap between the deck and the bottom of the door which left only 70mm to fit the insulation in. If using traditional insulation this may not have given the required levels of thermal performance but as OPTIM-R is a vacuum insulation panel it gave the required levels of insulation with a minimal thickness.

In the UK

This can be an issue in the UK as well. Take, for example, a balcony or terrace with living space below. The options here are to insulate either above or below the balcony deck. Even with high performance insulation products, insulating above the deck can create a significant step up from the room inside. This can spoil the aesthetics of the balcony and may contravene Approved Document (M) in England and Wales, or Section 4 (Safety) in Scotland, which govern access to and use of buildings.

Reducing the insulation thickness should allow compliance to be achieved; however this will increase heat loss and may mean the balcony fails to meet the requirements of Approved Document (L) in England and Wales or Section 6 (Energy) in Scotland.

By installing Vacuum Insulation Panels (VIPs) above the balcony deck, the minimal thickness of the insulation can allow consistency of ceiling height and avoids the necessity of a step up between the room and the terrace. For more information visit our knowledge base page on balconies and terraces.


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Kingspan Insulation is a market leading manufacturer of optimum, premium and high performance rigid insulation products and insulated systems for building fabric and building services applications.

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