As the world moves tentatively towards a sustainable future, we have begun to hear about concepts like the ‘outer envelope’ of homes and the roles they can play in reducing our carbon footprints.
In times past, home insulation tended to involve throwing some insulation into the ceiling and getting a pleasant surprise after discovering this year’s energy bills were lower than last year’s. Times have changed and – as the Victorian Government has noted – we now understand that insulation can cut energy usage and its associated cost by 40 - 50 per cent.
As such, we also understand that energy efficient, or even carbon neutral homes, have a major role in whether we meet the ambitious carbon reduction targets that most major economies (though perhaps not Australia) are setting for 2050 and beyond.
The good news is that the ever-increasing sophistication of products in this space means that such targets are far from unrealistic. These products aren’t limited to roof insulation. They also include everything from tapes used to make houses airtight and window design to effective cladding and roofing solutions. Here are some of the best examples available in Australia today.
Foamex, Australia’s only manufacturer of expanded polystyrene and extruded polystyrene, offers a range of insulation products for residential applications. Styroboard XPS, an extruded polystyrene product made at the company’s Victorian facility, is recommended for use in four main types of residential applications.
It is ideal for perimeter insulation. Used around a building’s shell, it can eliminate thermal bridges, help the slab retain warmth, and reduce heat lost through the foundations. Suitable for use in pervious, semi-pervious and impervious soils, it has excellent thermal insulation properties, is moisture resistant and rot-proof.
Secondly, Styroboard XPS is recommended for use as a standard floor sheet. Because of its high compressive strength, it is suitable for insulating a wide range of floors, especially those subjected to heavy loads. Able to absorb local peak loads and adjust to uneven surfaces under pressure, it is also dimensionally stable. It will not attract vermin and is resistant to most ground contaminants.
Used as a roof spacer on commercial metal deck roofing applications, Styroboard XPS cuts thermal loss and allows insulation to recover to nominal thickness.
Finally, it can be used on green roofs as an insulation layer fitted over the waterproofing seal. In such applications, it effectively protects the membrane from temperature fluctuations.
Kingspan Insulated Panels
Kingspan Insulated Panels Evolution (KS1000EVO) is a streamlined unprofiled insulated panel. It features an environmentally sustainable Ecosafe and Firesafe Polyisocyanurate (PIR) core which is not deleterious and has no ozone depletion potential.
Evolution can be laid horizontally or vertically and can be integrated with other Kingspan products to create a complete building envelope solution. Available in modules of 600mm, 900mm and 1000mm, in a variety of lengths, the system also features a hidden joint detail which conceals fasteners from view.
Evolution is available in three variations. The first, Evolution Axis is recommended for those looking to achieve a minimalist façade on buildings with large, flat surface areas. The second, Evolution Recess features depth and dimension through the folding of the panel edge and the insertion of a 10mm or 20mm gasket between the panels, which creates a 3D effect.
And the third variation, Evolution Multi-Groove, is a premium flat panel with one, two or three grooves engineered into its surface. These caste subtle shadow lines on the building’s facade and create an illusion of smaller panel widths.
CSR Bradford, an Australian company with over 80 years of local manufacturing experience, offers a range of products designed to deliver acoustic and thermal comfort. The company offers a complete range of glasswool thermal insulation products for roofs, ceilings, walls, and floors, as well as Soundscreen acoustic insulation to help reduce sound transfer through the home.
Primarily made from recycled glass, glasswool is a sustainable and cost-effective insulation solution. Its manufacture involves the melting of glass in a furnace, which then proceeds to a spinner to create glasswool fibres. These create millions of tiny air pockets which trap air. The air pockets make the material a poor conductor of heat, and therefore an effective insulation solution.
CSR Bradford runs seven manufacturing plants around Australia. These include glasswool plants in Sydney and Brisbane, polyester insulation plants in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth, a sarking and wall wrap plant in Melbourne, and a ventilation plant in Sydney.
Suitable for both single and multi-residential applications, Fletcher Insulation’s Sisalation Vapawrap range of vapour permeable construction fabrics represent the latest in moisture control, vapour permeable watertight membranes.
Designed to reduce the formation of condensation within buildings, these sophisticated products prevent the ingress of water and dust from the outside environment (both during and after construction), while at the same time, allowing moisture to pass in the opposite direction (inside to out).
Specifically designed for colder climates where vapour permeable membranes are required, there are two variations in the range. ‘Residential Wall Wrap’ is suitable for walls and gable applications in brick veneer and behind fibre cement cladding where manufacturers require use of vapour permeable membranes, while ‘Sisalation Vapawrap + Vapour Permeable Metal Roof’ is intended for use in residential and commercial applications with metal roof spans of up to 900mm (unsupported), or up to 1,200mm (with support).
The products function in a different way to traditional breather foil membranes, which act as an impervious vapour barrier, with small holes to allow the transmission of air and water vapour. Significantly, these holes allow air and water penetration. This means, in most cases, such products are unsuitable for use behind lightweight cladding materials.
Cladding & Roofing Products
HVG’s Zintl aluminium cladding system has an easy-to-use interlocking feature for fast, cost-effective installation. An elegant, durable product, it presents some exciting design possibilities.
Certified to AS1530.1, Zintl provides specifiers with fire resistant external cladding profiles that are versatile and non-combustible. It is ideal for residential applications and is also often used in commercial, education, sporting, and health care projects.
ZINTL is available in a wide range of Interpon and Dulux powder coated finishes as well as a selection of anodised and wood grain cladding architectural finishes. With its mix of natural, bold, and subtle hues, the product is suitable for any budget or environment. On top of that, its durability makes it particularly suited to use on coastal properties and in high traffic areas.
Zintl is available in HVG’s ezy HD² wood effect option, which is the only coating of its type available in Australia that offers a 15-year colour and 25-year film integrity warranty for both the base coat and the grain coat.
Colorspan Industries has released Greencoat, a new material for innovative, colour coated steel roofing, façade, and rainwater systems. Available in a range of colours and coatings; and containing Swedish rapeseed oil, the material is UV-resistant (up to RUV4), energy efficient, and scratch resistant.
Colorspan offers Greencoat in four contemporary profiles, including Standing Seam. Though recommended for both roofing and wall facade applications, this option is not limited to flat surface applications. Indeed, it can be easily fixed to curved, concave, convex, dome, or conical surfaces to create striking wave effects.
Similar in appearance to Standing Seam, the Snap Lock profile features panels that snap into each other to form locking joints. Eliminating the need for crimping, this reduces installation time and therefore cuts costs. The Interlocking Panel profile, on the other hand, employs a ‘tongue and groove’ concept, which ensures a strong concealed interlocking joint between panels.
Lastly the Nail Strip profile, like the Standing Seam and Snap Lock options, features a wide recessed pan with a raised seam of either 25mm or 38mm. The overall effect of a structure covered by this cladding is a series of continuous flowing thick bands neatly framed by thin ribs. The profile is a real option for those seeking a dynamic visual impact.
Manufactured in Australia by building solutions provider Bondor, Luxewall is a designer-friendly and cost-effective exterior wall cladding solution for residential applications. Lightweight and featuring a prefinished exterior coating, the range is available in the latest Colorbond matt and metallic finishes combined with a Unismart aluminium trim finishing system.
Luxewall is designed and engineered for increased speed of construction. Its unique concealed fixed system, which involves fixing wall modules to traditional timber or metal stud wall framing, is a time-saving alternative to other labour-intensive masonry systems.
Creating an effective thermal barrier, it delivers excellent climate control and comfort to the home. It is Codemark certified, conforms to all relevant NCC requirements and Australian Standards, and is available in in BAL40, BALFZ and Boundary Wall Options.
Luxewall represents the next generation in lightweight designer cladding for modern residential exteriors; a smarter, all-in-one, installer friendly walling solution.
Image: Manufactured in Australia by building solutions provider Bondor, Luxewall is a designer-friendly and cost-effective exterior wall cladding solution for residential applications. / Bondor.
Kingspan Insulated Panels