Reference: Assessing the execution of retrofitted external wall insulation for pre-1919 dwellings in Swansea (UK) (2010) Hopper, J., Littlewood, J., Geens, A., Karani, G.,Counsell, J., Evans, N. and Thomas, A.

Original document location: Click here

Abstract or summary

The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the execution of retrofitted external wall insulation as a method of improving the thermal performance of pre-1919 dwellings with solid exterior walls. Public and private case study dwellings in Swansea, UK, have been monitored before, during and after installation of external wall insulation, which have been funded by the Welsh Government‟s Arbed I scheme. The installations have been procured by a principal contractor through a „Design and Build‟ contract with Coastal Housing Group and Family Housing Association, based in Swansea. The methodology for the research includes field observations, to record technical solutions implemented on site, and pre-retrofit and post-retrofit thermographic surveys, to assess heat loss through the dwelling fabric. The findings include photographic, technical and thermographic evidence of potential thermal bridges, resulting from an incomplete covering of insulation. Whilst some thermal bridging is unavoidable, some could have been avoided with systematic preliminary surveys and technical detailing at the design stage and improved execution of quality on site. Furthermore, external wall insulation manufacturers are recommended to explore the development of additional products and methods to enable thermal bridging to be avoided at critical junctions encountered at pre-1919 dwellings. This paper will be of interest to stakeholders involved in improving the thermal performance of existing dwellings in the UK.