Xtratherm launch thermal bridging solutions for passive masonry construction

As part of the CavityTherm built-in full fill insulation system, Xtratherm have developed CavityTherm Flex, a continuous wall insulation system delivering “ultimate thermal performance” with the addition of a flexible 25mm fibre to accept uneven surfaces 
The fibre layer absorbs any variations due to block tolerances, providing a continuous unbroken bond between insulation layer and block.

Achieving passive level U-values as low as 0.12 with excellent thermal bridging detailing in cavities less than 150mm wide, CavityTherm Flex comes with the same range of accessory pieces to ensure a continuous insulation system, ensuring best practice thermal bridging details, all verified under NSAI and BRE accreditation systems.

The full CavityTherm range, along with all accessory pieces, deliver unrivalled continuity, making detailing easier to achieve and inspect on site. Danny Kearney, technical director with Xtratherm explains that “insulation performance cannot simply be assessed in terms of thermal conductivity or a simple U-value. How insulation interconnects with other components and other building elements is even more critical than achieving an additional U-value increment when we are building to passive levels. This is well understood in passive circles, the task is to achieve the same understanding in the construction field generally”.

Xtratherm published their first guide to thermal bridging in 2002, in which they identified the importance of detailing early on. Mark Magennis, who heads up their technical team on the subject, was also the first person in Ireland and the UK to be qualified under the official modeller scheme.

Kearney added: “ACD’s cover the most obvious junctions where thermal bridging heat loss occurs in domestic construction, insulating these junctions properly saves the vast majority of energy lost at junctions; but by modelling in 3D — as we do — also ensures that the possibility of condensation forming is analysed and avoided within the calculation process. For this reason we need to look at all junctions to avoid condensation at these less obvious junctions.”

The CavityTherm system includes accessories to effectively insulate these “fiddly bits” (such as stepped cavity trays, meter boxes, hockey sticks and service voids). Kearney said: “Industry has started to step up to the mark and cooperate with bodies such as Homebond, the RIAI and other manufacturers of concrete, radon barriers, windows and lintels to agree how our systems work together.”

“Thermal Bridging is not as complicated as some would tend to expect, it’s down to simple common sense, it’s about insulation continuity. Identifying and effectively thermal wrapping any thermal bridge will alleviate the majority of problems. I think that industry needs to promote education in areas of identification and reasonable treatment of building detailing to encourage better practice on site. To this end Xtratherm will be opening its Xi Training Academy and exhibition area in Navan this summer, where best practice detailing will play a large part.” 

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