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Published on 08 August 2019 11:15

Thermal Flooring: Making it work for you

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Key Learning outcomes
  • What thermal flooring is and why it is used
  • Understanding u-values in flooring
  • How we achieve the specified u-value
  • In-situ examples of thermal flooring
  • What else is available in the market
Efficiency in housebuilding is more prevalent today than ever before. As we strive to live more efficiently, we must seek new ways of saving money, reducing carbon emissions and harnessing effective methods to power our homes.

Thermal flooring helps by reducing heat loss in the property and achieving u-values that have been specified. This article looks at why thermal flooring is important and how it works. It also examines exactly how the required u-values can be achieved and how this helps housebuilders when it comes to complying with building regulations such as Part L and SAP ratings. It also showcases five live examples of thermal flooring systems used in modern housebuilding across the UK and discusses alternatives to the popular methods of thermal flooring.

Thermal flooring is a growing area of construction and with legislation following our desire to improve efficiency; it is a crucial system for modern, efficient and robust housebuilding.

1.0 The obvious and not so obvious reasons for thermal flooring

The main reason for thermal flooring is to assist in improving the thermal efficiency of the dwelling in question. Thermal flooring does this by increasing the insulation within the floor and therefore reducing the u-value. The u-value is the amount of heat that passes through the structure component, so the lower the u-value, the less heat is escaping and the more efficient the room or building.

Since 1995, a Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP) rating is required under part L of the building regulations. SAP is an official government approved system used for calculating the energy performance of a dwelling, and it relates to the running cost of a property.

Part L of the building regulations looks at ‘conservation of fuel and power.’ The associated Approved Document (L1A for new dwellings) outlines a method of calculating this through emissions. Companies must be mindful of Dwelling Emission Rates (DER) and Target Emission Rates (TER) which are set using baseline figures of a similar property. Different properties lose heat through different parts of the dwelling. When significant energy losses occur through doors, windows and walls’, being able to reduce the heat loss through the floor is very advantageous to architects and housebuilders alike.

It is estimated that in an uninsulated house between 10% and 15% of heat loss is through the floor. As the need for efficiency and reducing the impact on the planet continues to gain traction thermal efficiency has become more prominent and important in housebuilding. Planners and councils increasingly use DER and TER u-value figures when looking at sustainability.

A supplementary benefit to thermal flooring reducing heat loss in a dwelling is helping the house owner reduce their energy bills. Thermal flooring can also improve living standards and impact positively on health and well-being by cutting down on the build-up of damp and mold, that can naturally occur within a dwelling.

A less well known reason for thermal flooring is the ease of handling and installation. Because most thermal flooring uses EPS panels, they are incredibly lightweight when compared to traditional beam and block systems. Whilst the concrete beams and structural topping remain high mass, the EPS panels are easier than concrete blocks to transport around the building site and put in place.

An additional benefit of this is the reduction of impact on the environment through transportation of EPS panels on road networks.
Thermal flooring systems help efficiency by increasing insulation and reducing u-values.
Thermal flooring systems help efficiency by increasing insulation and reducing u-values.
 
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About

Foxbank Industrial Estate
Stoney Stanton
Leicester
Leicestershire
LE9 4LX
Andrew Sanderson
Tel +44 (0)1455 272457
andrew.sanderson@stressline.net
The information contained in the CPD article web pages is not intended and accordingly shall not be relied upon either as a substitute for professional advice or judgement or to provide legal or other advice with respect to any particular circumstance. RIBA Enterprises accepts no responsibility for loss occasioned to any person acting or refraining from action as a result of the information contained.
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