Retrofitting with thermal insulation makes economic sense

by Tania Wannenburg
Retrofitting with thermal insulation

While not yet law, there are compelling benefits to include existing buildings in the energy-efficiency net.

While there are, as yet, no mandatory reasons to include existing buildings within the energy-efficiency net, there are compelling benefits for ensuring that existing buildings are energy-efficient.

Mark Russell from IsoBoard explains that currently only new buildings and certain renovations must comply with the National Building Regulations (NBR) Part XA, as promulgated at the end of 2011, which regulate the designed energy efficiency of most building occupancy types.

“However, as existing building stock falls outside the current stipulations of the NBR, it will take many years before all buildings are rebuilt with energy-efficient operation as an objective,” he says. In the meantime, many building owners and users are missing out on the benefits related with energy-efficient buildings.

The big question: Why?
What opportunities are available to both commercial and residential building owners to introduce energy-efficient interventions, and what are the benefits that might motivate such actions?

According to Russell, in the absence of regulation, any intervention would be based on rational motivations, with benefits exceeding costs. While many national retail or high-profile institutions will improve their buildings to maintain brand image and achieve corporate objectives, other building owners and users will have a pure cost versus benefit focus when deciding what to do and why.

Retrofit advice
“As our core purpose is the thermal insulation of buildings, IsoBoard recommends that insulation is introduced to the point at which it makes a tangible difference to the comfort of building users, or to the total costs of heating or cooling space to protect products and occupants,” states Russell.

“Where people are the main focus of the building, maintaining a comfortable environment is the primary driver of energy efficiency, reducing the need for energy-hungry heating and cooling interventions. Generally, most people feel comfortable in the temperature range between 20°C and 27°C,” he says.

More isn’t always more
To achieve this comfort range, a thickness of 40mm IsoBoard installed within the roof or as a ceiling will reduce heat flow inward and outward to make the interior sufficiently comfortable, with minimum heating or cooling. Adding additional thicknesses of insulation may make the internal temperature more consistent without actually raising or reducing the temperature significantly.

Alternative applications
On any flat-topped building with a concrete roof slab, it can be installed above the waterproofing layer in the inverted roof application. The water-resistant properties of IsoBoard make it an appropriate solution for green roofing applications.

Where required by circumstances, IsoBoard can be fixed to exterior or interior walls, and plastered or lined to protect the installation. It can also be used externally around foundation perimeters, to achieve a similar effect as insulating the floor slab.

“It is definitely worth exploring the retrofit options for pre-NBR Part XA buildings that could be more comfortable and energy efficient,” Russell concludes.

Isofoam SA (Pty) Ltd
Tel: 021 983 1140
Website: www.isoboard.com

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