While modern building practices should mean new homes are more energy-efficient than ever before, occasionally, this isn’t the reality.
Some owners of new homes report draughts and low temperatures, resulting in higher-than-expected heating bills.
Why is this the case? A number of possible reasons have been suggested, including pressure to meet construction deadlines, insufficient building inspections, and the way dry lining is sometimes carried out.
Back in the 1980s, dry lining replaced traditional ‘wet’ plastering. It involved fitting plasterboard panels to ceilings and walls. It was – and is – favoured because it is considerably quicker to install.
When done well, dry lining results in a smooth, clean finish that can be painted or wallpapered immediately.
However, in some cases, air tightness testing firms have found excessive draughts in such buildings, due to the way plasterboard has been fitted.
By harnessing thermal imaging technology, it’s possible to pinpoint air pockets behind panelling, which makes for poorer thermal efficiency.
The situation can be all the more stark when one considers many older houses with concrete floors have decent levels of air tightness – although leaks may be present in locations such as fireplaces and open trickle ventilators.
Sometimes these gaps are sealed with temporary sealing, such as mastic or other types of filler.
One 2017 research paper, authored by Dr Jenny Love and others from UCL Energy Institute, concluded that “The result of meeting the target through temporary sealing, which fails after a short time, is that for most of a dwelling’s lifetime, air permeability will be higher than the design value.”
For the homeowner, this situation means paying considerably more for heating than might otherwise be the case.
Here at Air Tightness Testing Ltd., we understand how important it is for a new home or property development to have an excellent energy efficiency rating. As well as making for happy homeowners (and less costly trouble shooting later on), it helps secure the developer’s reputation for excellence.
We work with all kinds of stakeholders – including private developers, housing associations, local councils and architects – to deliver first class air permeability tests, and to help developments pass those tests with flying colours.
The ultimate results are: passing building inspections in a timely fashion, bolstering brand reputation – and of course, plenty of happy homebuyers.
We are registered with iATS (Independent AirTightness Testing Scheme) and use equipment calibrated by UKAS laboratories. Our testing procedures are also recognised by UKAS.