Following a recent trial at the Bogendollo House in Aberdeenshire, an innovative method was successfully used to insulate an internally-lined solid masonry wall without causing damage to the historic features of the wall.
This is the first time such insulation has been used in an historic building in Scotland and the method, involving water blown foam, was developed by Canadian company Icynene. The foam was created specifically for injecting into delicate structures as it expands slowly putting little pressure on the fragile inner wall. And, as it is 100 percent water blown, it contains no harmful blowing agents. Additionally, through its open cell structure, the foam will allow the wall to breathe which will assist in controlling moisture movement.
Dr. Amar Bennadji, Principle Investigator of the project and lecturer in Architectural Technology at Robert Gordon University (RGU) Aberdeen stated that “following the successful trial, the heat loss through the wall was reduced by approximately 50 per cent”. He explained that “this project opens the door for historic buildings to finally retain warmth, reduce their energy bills and contribute to efforts to curb global warming by reducing their carbon footprint.” He further added that “the project team aims to pursue further work to improve historic building components, such as solid floors and sash windows.”
Jeff Hood, Icynene’s Vice-President flew in from Canada to Scotland to witness the trials. He said “as a pioneer of the Green Building movement Icynene has developed non-destructive techniques of insulation that have been successfully used in historic buildings in North America for a number of years,”. He added that “We were very keen to observe and advise on the first test of this technology in the UK as until now there wasn’t a procedure available which could be used to insulate internally-lined solid masonry walls. The performance of the wall will be observed and monitored over the coming months.”
“The success of this trial is highly significant for owners of historic houses and indeed registered social landlords who also have old housing stock with cavity walls,” said Simon Falkner-Lee, Icynene’s UK-based spokesperson. He explained that “the trial shows conclusively that Icynene’s insulation system can be introduced into the wall cavity enabling our old and our historic houses to retain their heat whilst fully preserving their original features.”
The technique called for a bead of Icynene’s quick drying spray foam to seal the cavity along the bottom of the wall. Once this cavity was closed off, the pour foam was carefully injected from the attic area above.
“The success of this insulation trial has significant implications given that there are more than 400,000 historic listed buildings throughout the UK which, under new European regulations, are required to be insulated in order to make energy and carbon savings,” added Mr Falkner-Lee.
The trial was carried-out through a project that was funded by the European Regional Development Fund and the SEEKIT programme of the Scottish Government under the Construction Improvement Club (CIC) scheme. The project was completed in collaboration with Craigie Levie (Architect and lecturer at RGU) and Dr Mohamed Abdel-Wahab (lecturer in Construction Management and Technology at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh).