Whether it is being specified at the design stage by the architect or selected over traditional insulation by the end user, the reasons are many - speed, ease and cleanliness of installation, significant reduction of thermal bridging, greater useable footprint, minimal waste and lower labour costs.
Let’s look at each of these in more detail and see what Actis Hybrid users have to say about why they use Actis rather than any of the alternatives available.
Speed, ease and cleanliness of installation
Cleanliness - dust and fibres can be a problem with some forms of insulation. With the Actis Hybrid range none are produced which means there’s no need for protective clothing.
Ease of installation – Is your chosen insulation easy to cut with standard tools? And how much ‘R-value’ can you fit on a lorry or over your shoulder while climbing up and down a ladder? It’s really easy to cut and fit – you can squash it into gaps which means absolute precision in cutting isn’t essential. It’s light to carry and you can pack plenty of it in a van.
Speed of installation - Builders have reported labour savings of between 25% and 50% when using Actis Hybrid products compared with traditional methods.
As the products are so easy to install – indeed can be taught via online videos - they can be fitted effectively by less experienced team members, thus freeing up more experienced staff to work on other, more complex elements of the construction process.
Derek Dawson, MD at timber frame specialist ScandiaHus, which has used Actis Hybrid for its two latest show homes, said: “We used the new Actis Hybris panels. They are easy to cut to exactly the right size so they simply slot into the stud wall. We believe we can reduce insulation installation time by up to 30%. And as if that is not benefit enough, the Hybrid range does not produce irritant and messy dust when installing.”
Neil Donaldson, director of timber pod brand Cre8a, explained: “When researching the design for the new pods we looked at a variety of insulation options before settling on Actis Hybrid. It’s CE marked, NHBC approved and has LABC and LABSS registered details. We chose it not only for its impressive thermal efficiency, but also for the ease, cleanliness and the speed with which it can be installed. In addition, they produce no dust or fibre which means there is no need for masks or special clothing.”
Significant Reduction of thermal bridging
Part L regulations require avoidance of thermal bridging through reasonably continuous insulation. Compressible, flexible insulation is much more forgiving than rigid board. There are no gaps as there could be if cutting a solid piece of insulation to fit an awkward shape. All three Actis Hybrid products combine both insulation and air tightness properties, with HControl Hybrid and Boost‘R Hybrid in particular addressing the thermal bridging and air tightness issues.
Indeed a thermal imaging survey carried out by ScandiaHus after using Hybris and HControl Hybrid in the first of two show homes they insulated with Actis, shows that there is no evidence of thermal bridges on the external walls.
The use of a vapour control layer and a breather membrane significantly reduces the risk of interstitial condensation, guarantees air tightness and can protect the building from precipitation and wind driven rain.
Thermal modelling trials carried out by certification body BM TRADA have shown that Actis insulated membranes have a dramatic impact on counteracting thermal bridging and act as excellent thermal blankets.
Overall thermal efficiency – depending on the combination of products used and the thickness of the insulation element, Hybrid U-values can reach 0.09 – although currently such a value is not required.
Footprint – traditionally it was believed that to achieve greater thermal performance construction depths have to increase – which meant useable footprints were smaller. Thinner, NHBC and LABC and LABSS registered details compliant Actis Hybrid products means this is no longer the case, allowing self-builders to maximise their square footage. The CE marked Hybrid range installed in a standard timber framed wall can offer a U-value of 0.17 on an 89mm stud with 45mm Hybris.
Cost – reducing man-hours by using quicker to install products is an obvious way to cut costs. Builders report labour savings of between 25% and 50% and minimal wastage when using Actis Hybrid products. Additionally and perhaps surprisingly, the materials themselves are around 16% cheaper than many traditional alternatives.
Discovery Homes, a Scottish timber frame specialist, used two of the three Actis Hybrid products on its small development of detached villas in the Dundee.
Director Grant White decided to switch from his usual insulation material, glass wool, and test out the Actis Hybrid range to see whether it really was as quick, clean and easy to use as he had heard.
He was so delighted with the trial that he plans to use the products on a 30 home development which starts on site in the middle of 2017.
Grant, who has been running Discovery Homes with his wife Linda since 1989, explained: “In previous developments we’ve used a glass wool which is cheaper up front, but I believe the Hybrid is a much better product which saves money in the long run because it is such good quality and is so quick and easy to install that we save on labour costs."
“The material costs were approximately three quarters of what I would have spent if I’d used traditional insulation materials to achieve the same thermal performance.”