Thursday, 4 March 2010

The fight against fuel poverty

Sap Service UK partner Scotframe Timber Engineering are pushing the boundaries in the fast-moving battle to reduce Co2 emissions in the new build housing market.

In an interview with one of the country’s most successful timber frame manufacturers, they commented on how the company are now leading the way in the UK market with a unique closed panel timber frame system which is dramatically reducing the amount of energy required to run a house with the added benefits of a faster and simplified erection process.

Mike Cruickshank - Sales Director talking on Supawall, which Scotframe is making under licence at its state-of-the-art factory at Inverurie in Aberdeenshire, is a revolutionary system which effectively locks together with airtight seals to create the walls, roof and floor of a structure.

The beauty of award-winning Supawall is that it is precision engineered and injected with a very high performance insulation which is ‘A’ rated under BRE’s Green Guide To Specification. It also contains no CFC’s or HCFC’s, an ODP of zero, a GWP of less than 5 and fills every nook and cranny in the panel.

This means that, once the panels are fitted together on site, the integrity of the “thermal envelope” is assured. The insulation and air tightness is so effective that the need for a traditional central heating system is removed.

With strict new thermal targets scheduled for inclusion in the 2010, 2013 and 2016 Building Regulation revisions, housing associations and local authorities are now specifying Supawall as it will not only assist in reducing the reliance on fossil fuels, but as importantly, cut CO2 emissions and seriously combat fuel poverty by slashing heating bills for tenants.

The timber frame panels are sheathed on both sides with OSB so are structurally considerably stronger than other systems such as SIPS as the Supawall construction incorporates timber studs, which means they can accommodate the loading requirements for floors, roofs and beams.

All services, such as plumbing and electrical wiring, are contained in a service void, so no holes need to be drilled into the structural panel thereby ensuring air tightness performance is not compromised.

The side of the panel on the house interior is faced with a heat reflective membrane and an air gap is left between it and the internal wall cladding. The exterior side is faced with a breathable waterproof membrane and 50mm of cavity insulation.

Mike stated that Scotframe took on the licence to manufacture the product because it chimes with the company’s long-held strategy of not only meeting but exceeding regulatory requirements. Supawall achieves a U-value of 0.113W/m2K and exceeds the “Advanced” level of Energy Efficiency Best Practice in housing guidelines.

What this means in practice is that, by installing a Mechanical Heating and Ventilation System when SupaWall is used, a house can be heated by capturing and harnessing the energy which is released into the atmosphere by household appliances, such as cookers, kettles, lighting – and even the simple activities of people moving about the internal space.

For more info on SupaWall visit

Reporter John Stobbs

Sap Service UK

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