How vacuum insulation helps to insulate existing floors

Optim-R Floorlowres

With government targets and legislation aimed at improving energy efficiency in UK housing, all eyes are now focusing on reducing the CO2 emissions for new and existing homes. The problem, however, lies with retrofitting insulation in an existing home; this blog post looks at floors.

The process of retrofitting a floor involves a number of difficulties:

  • Digging out the existing floor to accommodate traditional insulation fabrics
  • Finding an access route for the machinery to do this
  • Labour costs and time associated with having to carry out this part of the process manually.

Further issues arise when there is a lack of available space to dig down , requiring an alternative solution to be sought.  This could require the floor level to be raised, and thus also raising fixtures and services, such as doors, plug sockets and radiators. Of course, raising the floor level also reduces the available headroom.

The solution

Vacuum Insulation Panels (VIPs) offer a solution to these problems. The structure of VIPs allows the panel to achieve an aged thermal conductivity as low as 0.007 W/m.K – up to 5 times better than that of traditional thermal insulation materials. This allows the panels to be significantly thinner than their traditional counterparts, achieving the desired U-values without the need to dig down, or raise the floor level.

For example, take a typical Victorian terrace with a 36m2 (perimeter / area ratio of 0.3) floor area. To achieve the required U-value for refurbished homes under Approved Document L1B 2013 of 0.25W/m.K 60mm EPS (0.038 Wm.K) insulation would be need to be added to the existing floor.

In order to fit this, 2.16m3 of ground material needs to be excavated! However, when using a VIPs system, only 26mm thickness could be required to achieve this U-value, resulting in less than one cubic metre of soil needing to be removed. With VIPs providing such a thin alternative to traditional insulation materials, the issues associated with retrofitting a floor are no longer an obstacle when insulating a house to the required standards.

For more information about VIPs and the benefits of using them in floors and other applications please take a look at the OPTIM-R page of our website.

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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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