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At Green Building Encyclopaedia, we’re constantly adding new content to our site, in order to make it more alluring to the search engines and more informative for our many readers.  In addition, continue to ‘join everything up’ so that we can provide more value to our users.  Here is a quick update for GBE members, covering our work during December and January.

Kind Regards
BrianSpecMan aka Brian Murphy
T    01733 238148

GBE Members Newsletter No 3 January 2016

Edith Colomba is an architect running a facebook group entitled Green Homeowners. She has been offering a new service to help encourage homeowners to engage with future-facing refurbishment of their hard to treat (HTT) homes. Her service embraces a holistic approach to health and wellbeing and aims to engage people in extreme energy-saving retrofits.

On the 2nd August 2015 and 16th December 2015 Edith posted some horrifying pictures of external solid wall insulation (ESWI) stopping either side of existing external vertical service pipes.

“How NOT to do it... External wall insulation leaving gaps which become big 'cold bridges'.

Pipes should instead be removed and placed on top of the insulation.”

The majority of Victorian solid walled houses include external cast iron (CI) soil waste and vent pipes (SW&VP) and rainwater downpipes (RWP). These pipes are over 100 years old and jointed with methods that are in conservation textbooks but not in current industry skill sets. Centre of Refurbishment Excellence (CoRE) are attempting to address the skills gap. CI pipes were often bitumen coated and were over-coated with paint. Their fixing brackets and fasteners are under layers of paint. They are probably rusted solid making modification difficult if not impossible. CI is brittle and easily damaged; replacement parts for realignment are not easy to obtain in quantity from the Architectural Salvage sector.

So when CI pipes are encountered there are few choices:

  • leave the services in place and stop and start the ESWI either side
  • smash the CI pipes away, apply ESWI and then fit new modern or replica pipes

Upon further investigation it turns out this type of ‘Stop-Start Solution’ can be seen everywhere. In these cases highly insulated/weather protected walls and strips of un-insulated/unprotected wall will result in problems:

  • Concentrated weather saturation leading to moisture penetration will occur in the exposed strips:
    • Wall saturation leads to rot in embedded structural timbers and structural failure
    • Saturated brickwork can suffer from frost damage in freezing conditions
  • Warm moisture vapour from bathing, laundry and cooking inside the house will find its way outwards through the line of least resistance:
    • Un-insulated strips of wall will be colder inside than surrounding insulated wall
    • This runs the risk of causing surface condensation
    • Spores from fungi are ever-present in the atmosphere, wind blown ‘seeds’ waiting to grow
    • When spores land on wet surfaces, they can and do start growing, this becomes mould that grows generating more spores
    • Mould and spores in the building can cause respiratory disorders and asthma in the young, unwell, older and frail people
    • In worst cases toxic mould can cause death; forcing buildings to be abandoned and sealed up
GBE have warned in many seminars, GreenDeal/ECO will be followed by a second programme to correct the errors of GreenDeal/ECO on much of the existing solid walled housing stock gone wrong. Use these solutions or their equivalents’ (not ‘or similar’) like these or risk failure.
Some years ago Enviroform Solutions Ltd. had solved the window jamb/reveal thermal bridge problems with Solid Wall Internal Insulation Systems and Solid Wall External Insulation systems. GBE discovered that Enviroform’s Liam Brown has been very busy inventing and developing solutions to many of the recurring problems with these systems. Un-insulated strips between external insulation and external services have now been solved. Enviroform Solutions Ltd. has solutions for many of them:
Green Building Specification (GBS) has just developed specifications for the Enviroform Solution Ltd.
This includes the 
Thermo-Pro® system, all of the Thermo-Pro® BeadSoilFlashFasciaTrac accessories designed to be installed before and together with a competent ESWI system to make a competent refurbishment ESWI system for buildings with external services.
GBS Specification 
M21 for External Insulation with Rendered Finish Work Section, Clauses and GBE Checklist M21.

Hot on the heels of its GBE Issue Paper: Overheating, titled “Build Light, Insulate Right, Solar Tight” 
Green Building Encyclopaedia has started on the next ‘GBE Issue Paper: External Solid Wall Insulation Thermal Bridges’ titled: “From Fuel Poverty to Respiratory Distress - Energy Company Obligations (ECO) is it going wrong?”

Link to previous Newsletters list page

Talk to BrianSpecMan about becoming a member or advertiser on GBE

To find out more / discuss pricing, either email or call Brian on
+44 (0)1733 238148 / +44 (0)7973 281024 (UK GMT 09:00-18:00)

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