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Eco homes: How to get airtightness right

Sustainable buildings expert Nigel Griffiths describes how to construct a home with controlled air leakage – and explains why this is a cornerstone of energy efficiency
Airtightness testing is undertaken by specialist companies: the front door is removed and replaced by a temporary unit, with a fan that pumps air into the house to increase the pressure. This test is being carried out by PYC Systems (

As buildings have become better insulated, the amount of heat they lose has fallen dramatically – this is true even for dwellings that are constructed to the minimum standards of the Building Regulations.

What this means, in turn, is that the proportion of heat that’s lost through uncontrolled air leakage has become relatively higher. So for all selfbuilders who want to be energy efficient, airtightness merits close attention. This reflects a key issue in construction: namely that many modern houses do not perform as well as they are designed to do. This is known as the performance gap, and poor airtightness is one of the major causes.

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About Build It

Make 2018 your year to self-build with Build It's latest advice and inspiration-packed edition! This month's issue includes: - 32 must-read tips for your project - Expert guide to planning success - The secret to a characterful renovation - How to buy the right bricks - Design ideas: windows & glazing - Reinstating an old fireplace ...and more!