A five-year programme of energy efficiency upgrades to council houses in Herefordshire has passed a major landmark, with 500 Cornish-type homes having ‘significantly improved’ energy efficiency thanks to insulation.
SuperFoil Insulation is working with Merriman Roofing and Herefordshire Housing Association, part of Connexus, on a major project that aims to upgrade the energy efficiency of the association’s homes.
While many of those homes are traditional units, a proportion of them are so-called Cornish-type properties which are generally poorly insulated due to their unusual roof design. The Cornish Type 1 unit is one of the most recognisable affordable housing designs of the post-war period, with a distinctive Mansard roof which covers the second storey of the property.
Tens of thousands of the homes were built across the UK between 1946 and the 1960s as a ‘temporary’ solution to the housing crisis. Unfortunately, the roof/wall structure makes it very difficult to significantly improve the energy efficiency of the homes using traditional materials and tools.
Herefordshire Housing Association, part of Connexus Housing, is a not for profit organisation that provides homes to people across Herefordshire. Connexus Housing provides homes across Herefordshire and Shropshire and support services across Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire, Shropshire
Herefordshire-based, Merriman Roofing was contracted to upgrade the association’s Cornish-type properties and the company has now upgraded 500 of the 600 houses with the help of high-performance insulation from East Midlands-based SuperFoil Insulation. It’s hoped that the remaining 100 homes can be similarly upgraded in the next financial year.
Director of Merriman Roofing Contractors, Mike Merriman, said: “The primary goal is to increase the energy efficiency of the homes, and we were given the target of decreasing the thermal conductivity of the insulation in the Mansard roofs to a u-value of 0.30 W/m²K. Because of the narrow space between the interior rooms and the exterior roofing, traditional insulation that would meet this target was too thick, so we needed a more space-efficient solution. SuperFoil’s SF40 multifoil insulation was the only product on the market that could do the job and we’ve used it on every one of the 500 homes to great effect. Using SuperFOIL, we’ve exceeded our target and cut the u-value to just 0.26 W/m²K.
“SuperFoil’s SF40 insulation has been quick and easy to install, enabling us to complete the work with minimal disruption to residents. The upgraded houses should cut residents’ heating bills significantly and they’ll be much more comfortable in their homes this winter. I’m really pleased with the results.”
Connexus spokesperson, Samantha Baker, said: “Connexus has a combined housing portfolio of some 10,000 homes across Herefordshire and Shropshire, and so we have a lot of customers. Our aim is to provide homes that are comfortable to live in but also energy efficient and not expensive to run. Reducing the amount our customers have to spend on their energy and heating bills is really important to us. It has been a challenge to improve the energy efficiency of some of the more unusual properties in our housing stock, so we’re delighted that Merriman Roofing and SuperFoil have managed to help us.”
SuperFoil’s multi-foil insulation is composed of layers of wadding in between sheets of reinforced and metallised film. This enables the insulation to prevent heat radiation and create a barrier to the movement of air and vapour helping to prevent draughts and, as a CE certified vapour-barrier, help to reduce condensation risks. The company’s multi-foil products are available in a range of thicknesses. All multi-foil products are BBA accredited, made with 40% recycled materials and has a life expectancy of more than 50 years.
In the past, efforts to improve the insulation of Cornish-type homes across the country have been limited by the design of the Mansard roof. Achieving a good fit within the timber frame using externally applied options has proved challenging and applying the product from inside typically causes a great deal of disruption and intrusion for occupants. The multi-foil product is flexible, easy to handle and is easily applied to timber frames and because the SF40 insulation that was used measures just 65mm thick, it was perfect for the Cornish-type properties and their distinctive roofs which allowed only a narrow space for insulation.
William Bown, managing director of SuperFoil, said: “We’re really pleased that we’ve been able to provide a high-performance solution that’s gone above and beyond the housing association’s targets. Mike Merriman and his team at Merriman Roofing have done a great job installing our product and, after using three rolls on each of these 500 houses, they are now one of the most experienced SuperFoil installers in the country.
“When we started SuperFoil 11 years ago, we were amazed at the lack of choice on the market and the limited range of products to suit different needs. We set out to make high-performance, affordable insulation that would be perfect for projects just like this, where nothing else could work as well. We’re really pleased with what we’ve been able to achieve in Herefordshire and it’s really rewarding to think that hundreds of families will be able to cut down on their energy bills and stay warm.”
SuperFoil’s range of multi-foil insulation has been used on a wide range of restorations and new build projects including Tottenham Court Road underground station, the landmark One Hyde Park development and the conversion of a Grade II listed former police station in Conwy into a modern family home. The company’s insulation is also currently being fitted to the new £165m Royal Papworth Hospital in Cambridge.
As well as having been independently laboratory tested, the British Board of Agrément (BBA) has recently approved SuperFoil’s multi-foil products following a rigorous two-year assessment