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External wall insulation using airpop promises to transform the internal comfort and external appeal of homes across the UK

EWI installed prior to external rendering EPS expanded polystyrene airpop

EWI installed prior to external rendering

More than eight million families across the UK live in solid wall homes which are unable to benefit from cavity wall insulation. In addition, there are millions more homes that have little or no insulation and suffer from ageing and unsightly exterior walls – both of which badly affect the property’s sale or rental value. It is estimated that these householders make up more than half of the country’s ‘fuel-poor’ families who have together paid around £2.7 million through their energy bills into energy-efficiency schemes without getting any benefit from them.

One single solution, proven in thousands of house refurbishment projects is the installation of external wall insulation (EWI) using preformed panels of ‘airpop – engineered air’ – the new name adopted by the European expanded polystyrene industry. There are many ready-to-install EWI options but they all represent a single solution which can be applied to virtually any property. They don’t require access or intervention to the inside of the property and they are easy to install by qualified contractors. What they do bring is major benefits in energy conservation, reduced fuel bills and significant visual improvements to homes whether in the public or private sector.

“As well as high impact strength, light weight and design versatility, airpop also offers outstanding environmental credentials”

David Emes, Chairman, EPS Group (expanded polystyrene, airpop)

David Emes

Chairman, EPS Group

One such installation transformed the energy efficiency and exterior appeal of a bungalow in Cheltenham in around three weeks from start to completion. It was installed by Harbour Render Systems using Mapei external wall insulation systems. Managing Director of Harbour Render Systems, Phil Bailey said “The dramatic benefits in reduced energy bills combine with the significant improvements in external appeal in projects like this. I’m surprised that more home owners, local authorities and housing associations don’t adopt this highly-effective, non-intrusive solution which transforms the efficiency and value of a property.”

The Cheltenham project used Mapetherm EPS Plus insulation finished with Silancolor Tonachino silicone resin topcoat. EWI Technical Manager for Mapei in the UK, Adrian Jones said, “There are millions of UK homes and commercial premises which could benefit from external wall insulation and products like these are proven across the globe in both residential and commercial projects. EWI is a proven solution and cost effective system for home owners and landlords who want to benefit from energy savings and get the bonus of a total transformation of the building exterior.”

David Emes, Chairman of the EPS Group of the British Plastics Federation, also pointed to the environmental advantages of airpop. “As well as high impact strength, light weight and design versatility, airpop also offers outstanding environmental credentials. It is 98% air bound in a polymer matrix. It is recyclable at the end of its life and scores the highest A+ summary rating in the BRE Global Green Guide to Specification. This is supported by at least eight ‘straight As’ in each of the separate environmental impact ratings for each airpop density. The results show that, in every density measured, it (EPS) had a summary result of A+ – the highest BRE rating meaning the lowest environmental impact.”