With the revisions to the Part L regulations now in force and a list of 15 urgent performance gap reducing actions recently identified by the Zero Carbon Hub, the emphasis on fabric first is being stepped up. Thomas Wiedmer, architect and technical manager at Actis, the first company to dual test its insulation products to address both thermal bridging and the performance gap, explains why compliance neednt prove onerous to todays builder.
Changes to Part L are aimed at ensuring an overall 6% carbon reduction across the build mix compared with current regulations. The introduction of the Target Fabric Energy Efficiency (TFEE) rate, alongside the existing CO2 emission rate, strengthens U-value requirements for domestic new builds. Compliance will therefore be predominantly down to the nature of the insulation used in the construction.
The revisions state: Insulation should be reasonably continuous over the whole building envelope. The building fabric should be constructed so that there are no reasonably avoidable thermal bridges in the insulation layers caused by gaps within the various elements, at the joints between elements such as those around the window and door openings. Reduction in thermal performance can occur where the air barrier and the insulation layer are not contiguous and the cavity between them is subject to air movement.
The Actis Hybrid range, specifically designed to perform in real life as it does in the lab in order to address the performance gap, includes a new insulation material, Hybris, a vapour control layer with built-in thermal performance, HControl Hybrid, and an insulating breather membrane, BoostR Hybrid. Not only do the materials address the performance gap and thermal bridging concerns, but their thinness and lightness makes them easy to transport in a van and manhandle up and down loft ladders. All are also quick, clean and easy to install, with no need for respiratory masks as the material contains no irritants and does not produce dust.