Login/Register RES

Increase building fabric thermal efficiency

A building’s thermal efficiency is largely decided in the planning and design phase of construction but there are changes you can make to your building’s fabric to decrease your heating and cooling bills.

The term building fabric refers to the ceiling, walls, windows, floors and doors of a building. Optimum design of building fabric can minimise potential heating and cooling requirements, and because space heating is such a major expense for many organisations, increasing building fabric thermal efficiency will have a major impact on your bottom line.

Improving a site’s building fabric leads to:

  • Reduced energy costs as a result of minimising the loss of treated (heated or cooled) air.
  • Better temperature control, leading to reduced heating / cooling costs.
  • Improved staff productivity through the provision of a more comfortable working environment.
  • Compliance with regulation. Building regulations now stipulate that when refurbishing an element of the building fabric, energy efficiency and thermal performance should be considered.

Roofs and lofts typically account for over 20% of a building’s heat loss.

Insulating this space can reduce heat loss by up to 25%, with a payback of 1-4 years. In high-roof buildings you can also consider installing ceiling circulation fans so warm air can be redirected down to where it is needed.

Around 9% of heat lost in a building is through the fabric of the walls. Improving insulation here is particularly cost-effective, especially for cavity walls. Checking walls and sealing draughts around skirting, roof joins and around window and door frames is an easy to reduce heat loss. Fitting heat reflective foil behind radiators also reduces the amount of heat escaping by reflecting it back into the room.

Windows can account for over a quarter of a building’s heat loss. Beyond low-cost savings through the maintenance of existing windows, further opportunities should be considered when procuring new windows e.g. by specifying triple glazing and low emissivity glass.

A door with a 3mm gap will let in as much cold air as a hole in the wall the size of a brick. So, regularly maintaining door seals and door closers will reduce heat loss from entrances and exits. If refurbishing, fit draught lobbies to main entrances or install a revolving door to prevent heat loss.

Floors are often overlooked as an area for energy saving, but nearly 10% of heat is lost from a building this way. The use of carpet and underlay, or well fitted carpet tiles, will assist in sealing the floor. Suspending timber floors and adding insulation between joists can reduce heat loss even further.

More detail on all of the above opportunities can be found in the Carbon Trust publication on Building fabric.

If you would like further advice and support to help you increase your building fabric thermal efficiency, please contact one of our resource efficiency advisors on 0808 808 2268 or click here.

Further Information:

More detail on all of the above opportunities can be found in the Carbon Trust publication on building fabric.

If you would like further advice and support to help you increase your building fabric thermal efficiency, please contact one of our resource efficiency advisors on 0808 808 2268 or click here.

Close Search

I am looking for...