Insulation is something the average homebuyer pays scant attention to, unless they stray into their loft – but it is actually at the heart of environmental action, because of its potential to improve energy efficiency in our homes. Unfortunately, insulation can also harm the environment through the release of ozone-depleting chemicals in the manufacturing process for some products. Both energy efficiency and ozone depletion are being addressed; the former through the Building Regulations and the latter through European Regulations. The revision of Part L of the Building Regulations, covering energy efficiency, has now come into force.

“Part L has settled down without causing the industry any real problems,” says John Pilkington, marketing manager with mineral wool insulation manufacturer KnaufAlcopor. John Garbutt, marketing manager of polyurethane insulation manufacturer Kingspan, claims the new regulations have increased its share of the market. “We’ve been seeing a lot of people moving to polyurethanes in the past six months, but there appears to be no single solution in meeting the new regulations. Some housebuilders are going for framing, some are going for a trade-off and some are going to thicker insulation.”

European regulations will require the phasing out of the use of ozone-depleting chemicals in foam manufacture over the next two years, but Kingspan has already made the shift. “We have effectively future-proofed our products,” says Garbutt.

KnaufAlcopor 616

Kingspan 617