Fuel Related Matters

Some fuel related workers had free fuel as part of their pay, transport in particular used fuel very inefficiently and domestic central heating was just beginning to be promoted in substantial numbers. All of these factors led to substantial increases in the use of fossil fuels, environmental pollution, particularly with “acid rain” and the increase of CO² levels resulting in the beginning of global warming. Emphasis was certainly not given on the environmental aspects of burning fossil fuels and their emissions and nor was there any thought given to the possibility of fuels becoming depleted.

There was little or no awareness of these problems and in some areas a complete lack of technical knowledge in how to avoid them in the future. In the late 1980s there was the landmark discovery of the “hole in the ozone layer” which prompted much awareness on energy transmissions.

During the early 1980s, There is the modern dilemma of CO² production being “invisible” as against the 19th century burning of fossil fuels in open fires causing acid rain and smog. Whilst the invisible gases of CO² are now resulting in global warming, the original types of pollution resulted in poor health and the erosion of buildings. All due to the ignorance of the effects of excessive use of energy and its inefficient method of burning.

The first energy crisis in 1973 promoted thoughts as to energy conservation and future policies. Building regulations began to be improved and “U” values became part of the vocabulary. Prior to this there was little or no external wall insulation began to appear in the UK, whilst being available for many years earlier on the European continent. After a slow start, several systems became available and certifying and testing by the British Board of Agrément was began.

The use of external, rather than internal insulation offers a number of practical advantages:-

1. There is little or no disturbance to the occupants and the possible additional cost of temporary re-housing is avoided.

2 The problems of insulating internally around or behind internal fittings eg. in kitchens and bathrooms, but also cupboards, shelves, power points etc are avoided.

3. Potential cold bridges at all internal/external wall and ceiling junctions are reduced or eliminated.

4. In a complex building, it is comparatively easier to ensure that the whole of the external surface is insulated.

5. The whole wall structure is protected so external surfaces are prevented from receiving further deterioration by being exposed to the weather.

There are many thousands of high energy consuming public sector and commercial buildings, both of a traditional and system built construction where the application of exterior wall insulation may be desirable if the thermal performance of the building is to be brought up to current standards.

If external wall insulation is installed the running costs of air-conditioning may become an economic possibility.

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