The ‘Why’ Behind Lower Lambda Insulation
As the UK construction industry shakes off the effects of the recession and gathers momentum once again, there are three compelling reasons to re-prioritise the thermal efficiency of our buildings: climate change, energy security, and energy affordability.
With these in mind, Adrian Pargeter, our Head of Technical & Marketing, takes a look at why we developed lower lambda insulation.
For the last six years I’ve been involved in the product development side of things at Kingspan Insulation, working to supply the market with what it needs to deliver on these priorities at grass roots level – Kingspan insulation can make a difference by developing materials that can help to reduce heating energy demand, meet regulatory requirements with ease, produce great long term results for the end user, and make life that bit simpler for specifiers and installers alike. This industry doesn’t stand still, so we are constantly working towards anticipating and fulfilling future demand, with an R&D team that pushes the boundaries of insulation performance ever further.
We already have products that deliver at a very high level. The question is always, how do we make them even better?
The answer for the most recent development was simple – further lower the lambda (thermal conductivity) of our primary products. This means that either the same U-values can be achieved with a thinner board, or better U-values can be achieved without increasing the thickness.
I believe that this has significant benefits for the industry. For example, walls can be kept slimmer with no loss of thermal efficiency, making the most of the available space and also reducing the need for longer wall ties and fixings, or deeper studs in a timber frame. On the refurb side you can create more headroom if you’re doing a loft conversion, or avoid having to dig down as far in a solid floor refurbishment.
For me, this is about creating value for clients, reducing knock on costs, easing compliance and, most important of all, working towards having building stock that is energy efficient and future-fit, without compromising on space.
Earlier this year we launched our latest lower lambda products – Kooltherm K106 and K108 Cavity Board. We chose cavity walls first because it is one of the most widely used construction methods in the UK, and one that has much to gain, particularly since a new facing on the K106 product allows residual cavities to be just 10 mm rather than the usual 50 mm.
Already I am seeing massive interest and demand, and later in the year we are rolling out another four lower lambda products – Kooltherm K103 Floorboard, K110 and K110+ Soffit Board and K118 Insulated Plasterboard, which is suitable for both dot and dab and mechanical fixing. K106 and K108 already have BBA certification, and my team is now working on achieving this across the whole of the new range.
My vision for the future is that all of our Kooltherm products will be lower lambda, so you’ll be able to get the proven performance benefits of the current range combined with a thermal conductivity of just 0.018 W/m.K, which is unmatched in the world of rigid thermoset insulation.
Watch out for the next blog, where my colleague Linzi Hobbs will be explaining just how we did it.
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