But what of the many thousands of occupied houses which are uninsulated or poorly insulated? The only true remedy avoiding massive upheavals is to externally insulate them, giving them a new lease of life both with comfort and appearance.
Air-conditioning costs are considerably higher to provide than heating, external wall insulation works equally as well to save costs to cool buildings as well as heat them. Institutional and public buildings which are air-conditioned would benefit greatly by the application of external wall insulation in respect of their energy running costs.
Specifiers and installers who are just beginning to look closely at external insulation systems are well advised to make a detailed examination of what is on offer and what constitutes an effective, strong, long lasting and maintenance free insulation system.
Consideration of non-cavity wall insulation systems will include both internal and external insulation. Internal systems have a number of disadvantages insomuch that dwellings need to be evacuated, dimensions become critical and the internal life of the building is disrupted.
Technical considerations leave the internal option still with “cold-bridges” and doubts about interstitial condensation. External insulation can successfully avoid the latter and create a thermal store of the structure which improves the whole concept of energy use and control comfort levels.
There are many millions of homes in the United Kingdom today now insulated with some form of cavity wall insulation. There are also an equal number of domestic buildings which are of solid wall construction and are not suitable for this type of treatment. There are also many thousands of houses with reduced cavities, classed as “hard to heat” houses which are not capable of receiving any form of approved cavity wall insulation. To all of these properties some form of exterior or interior insulation may be the only solution.
Historically, energy supplies have been under strain from the mid 70s when oil became a political weapon by Middle East countries. Prior to this period, there was little or no consideration to the use of fossil fuels, coal was plentiful and energy conservation was not on any agenda.