Traditional stone buildings make up a large proportion of the UK’s building stock, so our focus must be on improving the energy efficiency of these buildings. The challenge is to make improvements that do not alter the external appearance or compromise valuable period features.
Icynene spray foam insulation was identified as the most suitable product for the traditional market. Its unique open cell and vapour permeable nature ensures no build-up of moisture. An added benefit is that this smart, environmentally responsible alternative to standard chemically-based products: Icynene is water-blown and contains no HFCs and CFCs. The initial trial involved one room of a large house. Skirting boards were removed intact to ensure the void between the lath and plaster linings and the solid stone masonry wall was clear of debris. Subsequently, 10mm pipes were inserted into the void from the attic space above and the insulation was injected down the pipes to fill the void. The delivery of the insulation was measured and distributed evenly over the area of the wall. Careful attention was paid to ensuring that no pressure was exerted on the lath and plaster lining to avoid causing any damage.
Separate research which involved the monitoring and simulating of alternative solutions further improved the process. After which, insulation was successfully installed throughout the entire property.
Acknowledgement to all academics and industrial partners: Mr and Mrs Gibbon-Wood – the owners of the building, Dr M. Abdel-Wahab, Dr A. Owen, Dr N. Turner, C. Levi, D. Chouman, D. Herrera, J. Hood, S. Faulkner-Lee, G. Sheridan, and R. Gilmore.
Dr Amar Bennadji
Amar is a researcher at the Institute for Innovation, Design and Sustainability and lectures in architecture and the built environment at the Scott Sutherland School, Robert Gordon University. His research focuses on the energy efficiency in the built environment, looking at ways that new technology such as digital media can help reduce energy demand in new and existing buildings. Amar has received various national and international awards for innovation and is a regular keynote speaker at conferences.
As an academic, Amar is constantly looking for ways to feed his research outcomes into his teaching, involving students in interesting and exciting projects, as well as delivering fun-packed lectures.
Mike started out as a mechanical engineer in Lancashire, and soon moved into construction and civil engineering. After starting his own specialist stone masonry business, he moved to Scotland, where the business continued to grow. With a passion for old stone structures, Mike has developed a keen interest in the energy efficiency of older buildings, and has steered the company in this direction.
“The innovation shows a non-intrusive method of improving insulation in historic buildings where interior walls are in a delicate condition. The judging panel was attracted to the idea of applying an existing insulation material by means of a new method of application. The innovation is made all the more convincing as a result to the thought given to the skills development required for replicating this method across the sector.”