The thermal and sustainable benefits of cork insulation were key in its specification for a unique social housing refurbishment scheme in Newcastle-Under-Lyme, Staffordshire – the first significant use of Cork EWI on social housing in the UK.
Managed by Aspire Housing Association, the 54 Cussins properties on the Staffordshire scheme were constructed after the Second World War to a non-traditional design with steel frames. The engineers and project managers, Michael Dyson Associates Ltd, carried out initial surveys to determine the condition of the properties and specified Alumasc’s Swisspan External Wall Insulation system with 50mm Cork panels, which is perfectly suited to non-traditional or problematic refurbishment applications.
Cork is designated an A+ rating in the Green Guide to Specification for maximum benefit in BREEAM and Code for Sustainable Homes assessments and when used with Alumasc’s External Wall Insulation systems, the result is a high performance façade that offers all the benefits of an insulated render system, but with enhanced environmental credentials.
Jeff Collett, Associate Director of Michael Dyson Associates Ltd, comments: “We have been taking a keen interest in the development of sustainable insulation for quite some time and were aware of cork’s potential. We considered a number of insulation materials for the Aspire homes and decided that Cork met the performance requirements as well as being the obvious sustainable choice.”
Cork insulation can be used in conjunction with all Alumasc EWI systems and the Cork/Swisspan system at Aspire has increased the homes’ energy efficiency levels to the required u-value of 0.35W/m2K, creating a warmer, more attractive place for residents to live.
David Cartwright, Environmental Champion with the project’s main contractors, Frank Haslam Milan (FHM), comments: “On the Aspire contract, the pre-construction team worked hard for solutions which would both improve the building fabric whilst considering their inherent environmental impacts. We favoured natural cork for its low carbon footprint properties together with its excellent insulation value and sound transmission qualities.”
No chemicals or additives are used in the manufacture of Cork and it boasts the lowest embodied energy of all commonly used insulation materials. A huge variety of indigenous wildlife is dependent upon the maintenance of the cork oak forests and its production helps stabilise rural economies, populations and local culture in the poorer agricultural areas of Southern Europe.
Chris Lister, Development Manager at Alumasc comments: “Alumasc is currently the only supplier of Cork EWI in the UK. We believe that cork is the future of building with natural insulation. When combined with Alumasc high performance renders, all the benefits of insulated render systems are achieved with the environmental benefits of using a natural product.”
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