86% Reduction in Heat Loss
Trials of an autonomous robot that crawls under the floorboards of old houses squirting insulation have shown that heat loss can be reduced by as much as 86%, according to the system’s developer.
Beats Double Glazing & Boiler Replacement
The system could save more energy than replacing single glazed windows with double glazing, and replacing a 15-year-old central-heating boiler with a brand new one.
London’s Camden Borough Council
Last year, residential property manager CityWest Homes trialled the system on two period properties – a 72 sq m ground floor flat, and a 69 sq m terraced house. The robot was sent into the under-floor void to scan the area and build a picture of what was there. It then squirted insulation fed by an umbilical cord, sealing any cracks.
The trials showed what an impact the technology has – a massive impact on comfort. The amount of heat lost through the floor is actually far greater than people might realise.
Using 150mm of insulation to the underside of the property’s suspended timber ground floor resulted in a 86% improvement to the U-Value, from 1.25 W/m2.K to 0.19 W/m2.K, and a 40%improvement in air permeability, from 16.4 m3/hr.m2 to 9.8 m3/hr.m2.
Massive U-value Improvement
In one carpeted Camden home heat-loss through the floor was cut by 72%, while cold air infiltration was eradicated, reducing infiltration into the house by over 60%, the test results showed. The combined U-value for floor and ground was reduced from 1.0W/m2K to 0.28 W/m2K.
In another where there were exposed timber floor boards, the total heat loss through the floor was reduced by 86%, with a 45% reduction in cold air infiltration. The combined U-value for floor and ground was reduced from 2.1W/m2k to 0.28W/m2k.
Big Cost Savings
The trial also showed that this underfloor insulation was twice as cost-effective as solid wall insulation, achieving energy savings equivalent to £175 per year, compared to £142/year for solid wall insulation and £57/year for double glazing.
This innovative robotic solution recognises the need for a non-intrusive method of improving under-floor insulation in existing properties. It is an exciting and innovative product which has great potential for improving the energy efficiency of the UK’s housing stock.
Cosy Homes + Happy Tenants
Peter Armfield, sustainability manager at CityWest Homes, said: “Most importantly, tenants are comfortable and happy as it makes an immediate difference to their comfort as well as the energy cost. This is why we intend to look at how we can apply the treatment across our portfolio.”
More Robust Robot
Designed to enter difficult-to-reach spaces under floors in energy inefficient buildings, conduct surveys using a built-in camera and then spray insulation foam where required, the next generation of spray-bots are more rugged than the trial version, with a folding design that allows them to be inserted into narrow openings.
Developed with installers to make them easier to use, the manufacturers try to gamify the experience using a gamepad controller to control the robots more easily and intuitively.
The new robots feature four independently controlled drive wheels, designed to navigate over obstacles, bricks, sand and mud, and are powerful enough to pull a grown man across the floor. For their size, they have more power than a top-of-the-range sport car.
They are able to enter underfloor voids either when inserted through air vents or external openings in a wall, or through an access hatch created in floorboards inside a property.
Period Property Solution
Typically aimed at Victorian or Georgian-era period solid-walled properties with suspended timber floors, often in conservation areas where it is not possible to alter the external features with insulation or replace windows with expensive historic replicas.
One Stop ‘Low Energy Homes’ solution
If you need to retrofit a hard to insulate property you may also need to carry out structural adaptations, repairs and even extensions. This may be fixing insulation underfloor, internally to the walls, or in the roof. You may also need to replace some windows and almost certainly external doors. It may also involve the design and build of a super-efficient timber frame for additional ground or upper floor accommodation.
Whatever your needs, talk to us first. Our dedicated and integrated Low Energy Homes service may save you considerable time, money and effort.