The new Zaha Hadid-designed museum in Glasgow is using Knauf Insulation’s FactoryClad 32 flexible insulation to meet demanding U-values on a complex 18,000 square metre roof.

The Riverside Museum, which will open to the public in 2011, will create an iconic transport museum on the banks of the River Clyde. The building is designed as a winding tunnel-like structure with a complicated geometry roof that changes its profile over the length of the building to create a three-dimensional wave form.

The brief for design and build roofing specialist Varla (UK) Ltd was to find a flexible insulation that could meet the demanding U-value of 0.20 W/m2K that was continuous over the roof and walls.

Clare Huber of Varla says that she started the search for a suitable material by contacting many insulation suppliers and holding supplier seminars at Varla’s Chester offices.

“The purpose of these seminars was to outline the project as, being such a unique building, I felt it necessary to provide potential suppliers with as much information as possible. The suppliers were then sent away with all the project details and challenged to come back to me with what products they could provide to help us meet this demanding specification.”

She says that rigid foam boards were ruled out early on, as they could not be fitted to the building’s complex curves. There was also a limited cladding zone that could not be altered. Many types of insulation were considered, but glass wool roll provided the best thermal efficiency.

The key to Knauf Insulation winning the business was its ability to provide in depth technical support, including complex three-dimensional heat flow modelling calculations. This allowed Knauf Insulation to produce a solution that met all of Varla’s insulation requirements by using a double layer of 100mm FactoryClad 32 roll. This is a flexible, lightweight roll of resilient glass mineral wool with exceptionally high tear strength and a thermal conductivity of just 0.032 W/mK.

In addition, FactoryClad Roll is manufactured from glass mineral wool, which is ideal for limiting the spread of fire -since it holds a Euroclass classification A1, for non-combustibility and will not burn. Nor will it give off toxic smoke or suddenly ignite in a fire due to ‘flashover’. For public buildings such as this, superior fire performance is crucial.

As Clare explains: “With this challenging build the only way we could get a truly accurate U-value was to create a three-dimensional model. Knauf Insulation was the only manufacturer that could offer us a three-dimensional calculation service”.

She says that once Varla had decided on Knauf Insulation, it leaned on them heavily for technical support.

“As this is such a difficult specification we became a very demanding customer, requesting different calculations for all our options. Each time we were met with a quick and efficient response – their technical performance was second to none.”

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