Xtratherm a leading manufacturer of high performance insulation products has been working in partnership with Swedish house builder Skanska on the development of high quality Scandinavian style homes near Cambridge. Skanska has several major residential housing developments in the Cambridge area, of which Clay Farm, Shelford Road, is the latest. The company builds high specification energy efficient homes that are minimalist in style and very luxurious. A top priority for the Scandinavian homebuilder is the functional benefits that the homes provide for their owners. All properties are built to meet the Code for Sustainable Homes, level four, substantially higher than the current Building Regulations for new homes. Skanska turned to Xtratherm, to provide suitable high performance products and technical expertise, to ensure the 145 homes at Clay Farm met the insulation standard required to achieve the higher performance required under the code.
The houses are built with a ‘green agenda’ in mind and use the highest performance energy conservation materials, including Xtratherm Cavity Wall Plus wall insulation. It is especially important on this development that insulation materials and products are ‘right first time’ and engineered to meet the higher performance levels required.
In order to achieve their objectives Skanska works with partners in the UK who are able to deliver high technology solutions for their very modern homes. This requires a collaborative style of working between the companies, including the sharing of information, product knowledge and ideas.
Danny Kearney, Xtratherm Group Technical Manager sees a trend in collaboration between suppliers, designers and developers: “As the demand for low and Zero Carbon dwellings increases, the necessity for closer cooperation between the various teams becomes a pre-requisite to success. It is not just design and specification that has to change to reach the new targets, change has also effected insulation and the insulation manufacturers themselves. Xtratherm have been at the forefront of pushing performances of materials that have been commonly used for many years in the UK, not only in terms of thermal performance per cm thickness, but in areas such as insulation continuity. This has been achieved by introducing engineered jointed boards and other components such as pre-formed corners, simple ideas, but ones that actually deliver improvements in building energy ratings.”
Working with forward looking design teams such as those within Skanska, allows collaboration between designer, energy assessor, manufacturer and skilled tradesmen that utilises all skills to maximise the performances of the building fabric to reach the targets set down within the new Fabric Energy Efficiency Standard for the Code for Sustainable Homes. The Xtratherm technical team deployed into such projects have all been individually accredited by the BBA for calculation competency, and our expertise in 3D thermal bridging modelling has been certified by the BRE. Providing our technical skills to a project helps to deliver the extra performances required to ensure better energy performances. This is achieved in a practical affordable manner, maintaining the traditional skills deployed in the UK.
The design called for a wall insulation U-value of 0.16W/m2K. After looking at the full specification and the construction preferences required by Skanska, Xtratherm met the Skanska Technical Team along with the architects. It was decided to use one of Xtratherm’s unique products, Cavity Wall Plus (XT/CWP), an enhanced PIR with an excellent thermal conductivity of 0.021W/m2K. Not only did this meet the required U-value, but the engineered T&G jointing of the Xtratherm insulation allowed for very effective Thermal Bridging detailing to be achieved. This improved the overall energy performance of the properties and the engineered jointing avoided the delta penalty normally applied to square edged insulation boards. A similar result was achieved by the use of Xtratherm (XT/UF) material in the ground floor. As a result of Xtratherm’s proactive approach and collaboration with the design team Skanska have achieved low energy dwellings using the traditional constructions with minimal changes to their preferred specifications.
Following on from this success Skanska is planning to partner Xtratherm on future projects, not just for their residential arm but across the whole Skanska Group.