Keeping warm from the outside in - a closer look at wall insulation

Cutting heat waste requires innovative solutions from energy management and 'green' design to construction materials. Jo Reeves looks at an energy-efficient insulation plaster that claims to give energy savings on a par with cavity walls in solid-wall buildings - at a much lower cost.

The UK is finally realising that drastic measures are necessary in order to halt global warming and protect our natural energy sources. Energy efficient commodities are in hot demand, as regulations tighten and prices rise, saving energy makes sense for both domestic and commercial users. And in response to this environment, an increasing number of innovative products are joining the market.

Wall-Reform is a unique thermally insulating plaster and render that can be applied internally or externally. The insulating and damp-proofing material can reduce energy consumption, saving money, thereby helping the 'fuel poor' and reducing CO2 emissions significantly. It was initially aimed at the UK's seven million solid wall properties currently not insulated due to the high associated costs. The product also helps to alleviate condensation and stop damp.

Applied as a wet mix the same as regular plaster or render either by trowel or spray application, the product overcomes the problems inherent in the use of rigid insulating boards as it is wall mouldable. It can therefore be applied easily and consistently on uneven and irregular walls. The product enables solid wall properties to be insulated to the same standard as cavity wall insulation at a more affordable cost.

Producers Walltransform found that winning a national Business Commitment to the Environment (BCE) product award boosted sales and helped enhance their profile in their target sector - the construction and energy efficiency industry. Their achievement shows how innovation can successfully contribute to the development of sustainable consumption and production.

Gaining a successful profile for a product is a challenge for every business. Even the best creation will fail if no one knows it exists, so reaching the consciousness of potential customers is key to commercial success. Traditional advertising may be successful, but is not as convincing as endorsement from an independent third party.

Entering, and ultimately winning awards can reap huge benefits to establishing companies and products, particularly if they are focused on the sector they most want to raise their profile within. With two BBA accreditations as a thermally insulating plaster and a remedial damp proof plaster, Wall-Reform has been recognised by the Energy Savings Trust as an energy saving product.

"The majority of our work is for local authorities and housing authorities so gaining recognition for the environmental aspect of our product is very important to us," explains Walltransform managing director Glen Melvin. "Winning the BCE awards really helped to raise our profile and awareness of the Wall-Reform product."

The BCE awards are accredited by the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA). Its accreditation scheme for environmental awards sets a standard by which the quality of award schemes can be independently assessed and rewards those who fulfil the set criteria. Its aim is to improve the design, operation, efficacy and transparency of award schemes and give entrants and sponsors visibility of the highest quality schemes.

RSA accredited schemes also offer winners the benefit of becoming eligible to enter the European Business Awards for the Environment, which are held every two years and offer entrants the opportunity to gain recognition in international markets - and showcase the high standard of environmentally focussed products in the UK.

"The RSA accreditation scheme keeps going from strength to strength and the calibre of entrants remains impressive," enthuses Simon Fordham RSA Bristol Centre Director. "We are glad to be able to provide winners with the opportunity to go through to the European awards and we have had some very happy, triumphant entrants."

For further information on Walltransform visit www.walltransform.co.uk.

For further information on the environment awards see www.environmentawards.net.

For information on RSA accreditation visit www.rsaaccreditation.org.

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