There is a heat wave spreading across Kings Lynn and two men are directly responsible for this remarkable climate change. Tenants have reported that following the installation of weber.therm external wall insulation systems, and other renovations, they have been forced to turn their thermostats down 10 degrees or more!
Andrew Edmonds, Project Manager for housing improvements for Freebridge Community Housing who control over 6,500 properties in the West Norfolk region, and Mark Astle, Operations Manager for Cornerstone East Anglia, the specialist application service provider working for the five contractors undertaking the current renovation programme in the area, are the professionals behind the achievement. For Freebridge, this is the first phase of improvements to be made to 850 homes of non-traditional construction. Five contracts covering 118 properties are operating in the first year.
The practical reason why tenants have been able to turn their heating thermostats down more than 10 degrees is the installation of the Weber external wall insulation and render system that has dramatically reduced thermal losses in these properties. The homes are constructed from pre-cast, large-format blocks that offered quick build solutions in their day but delivered little in the way of insulation values. Some of the properties feature studwork, and panel wall sections between brick piers and gable ends, and an additional flat precast panel system was also used in this housing stock.
This mixture of construction methods means that we had to install three versions of the versatile Weber EWI systems to bring all the premises into line for the correct u-values and décor, says Mark Astle, Cornerstone.
Freebridge Community Housing has designed a property renovation process that will provide at least another 30 years of life for their housing stock. The current renovation programme includes replacement windows, doors, heating system upgrades and re-roofing in addition to the Weber EWI insulation and render. The weber.therm XP system is a one-coat mineral render system providing a fast-track weatherproof finish over a thermal insulation panel. The render uses a laying-in meshcloth for added impact resistance. The total application provides efficient thermal insulation, dramatically reduced energy demands and the scraped finish of the through coloured render delivers a modern and pleasing visual enhancement. To obtain the desired thermal benefits, insulation thickness has varied from 40 to 70mm, depending on which property construction method is present.
For the Airey concrete block homes, an aluminium standoff rail system, weber.therm FT, is fixed to the block walls to provide a uniform and vertical carrier for the insulation board fixing. For other properties, new timber studwork and exterior-grade ply panels have been installed with the weber.therm insulation and render applied. A third version of the versatile weber.therm XB system has been used which features a brick slip final finish with the slips fixed to the profiled insulation boards for quick and accurate application.
The Weber EWI system is really working well for Freebridge; the properties look fresh and modern and the insulation benefits are dramatically improved, says Andrew Edmonds.
Darren Cross has been a tenant for seven years and rates the changes as incredible: We used to have to run the heating up at 25/26 degrees just to maintain an adequate warmth as we lost so much through the walls and windows. We used to watch the curtains blowing into the room when it was blowing hard. Now we keep it at 15/16 degrees and it is still too hot! That 10 degrees saving will help keep our gas bill lower even as the prices go up. Its never been this comfortable.