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INSULATION & FABRIC PERFORMANCE

Upgrading your property’s thermal efficiency as part of a renovation is a great way to enhance the performance of your heating system and save money on bills. Richard Webber takes a closer look at the options

Complete guide to renovating a house part 5

Insulation and fabric performance are integral elements in any renovation project. It’s estimated that around a third of a building’s heat escapes through poorly prepared walls. Even more seeps out through ill-fitting windows, doors and lofts. Yet despite such stark facts, it’s so easy to focus too much on more aesthetically pleasing aspects of a property update, while underestimating the importance of the performance of the envelope itself.

Fabric first approach

A building’s structure – including walls, floors, ceilings, windows and doors – needs to be insulated as effectively as possible to prevent heat loss and, ultimately, minimise fuel costs. “Some people are more likely to spend, say, £20,000 on a kitchen rather than those things you can’t see, such as insulation,” says Simon Storer, chief executive of the Insulation Manufacturers Association (IMA), the representative body for the rigid polyisocyanurate (PIR) and polyurethane (PUR) insulation industry.

Fabric performance determines how a building will function in terms of retaining heat and providing comfort. “It’s important that the shell of the house – the chassis, if you like – runs efficiently,” says Simon. “In winter, you don’t turn the heating on and open the windows. But, in effect, that’s what you’re doing if you have poor performing fabric.”

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About Build It

Plan, design and build your dream home with practical advice and inspiration from Build It magazine. The November 2019 edition includes: - Britain's Best Homes of 2019 - The Build It Awards Nominations! - The Build It Education House - The Ultimate Guide to Heating Your Home - Expert Design Ideas to save you £100,000 - How to Win Planning Permission ...And more!