First featured in the March issue of Insulate Magazine, Insulate Technical editor Paul Forrester discusses the new Mauer EWI retrofit system for existing homes and buildings.
Freezing cold weather gripped the UK at the end of February and into March, and the deficiencies of the country’s housing stock were once again laid bare for all to see. A gas supply warning, issued at the height of the poor conditions, only served to highlight the fragility of relying heavily on mostly imported fossil fuels.
It’s easy to talk about pursuing better standards for new buildings as an answer to this. That remains important, but the real differences stand to be made in tackling existing homes and buildings.
Energy bills and fuel poverty; unhealthy buildings and weather-related fatalities (including overheating in summer); carbon emissions targets and the UK’s contribution to climate change – all will remain an issue without ambitious retrofit targets.
Government schemes like the Green Deal and ECO have tried to kick-start energy efficiency improvements with varying degrees of success. Where improvements to existing homes have been made, they have tended to be the ‘low hanging fruit’ of relatively straightforward solutions.
Achieving a wider level of retrofit, however, means engaging with and incentivising owner-occupiers and the private rented sector.
With that in mind, April 2018 sees minimum energy efficiency standards for rental properties come into effect. From the beginning of the month, landlords will not be able to offer new leases on properties in Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) bands F or G. In 2020, active leases will fall under the regulations too.
An English Housing Survey in 2014 suggested there are more than a quarter of a million private rental properties in England and Wales that do not meet the minimum band E requirement, and there are already calls to tighten the rules to band C by 2030.
Mission impossible? Not necessarily…
Mauer UK Ltd want to help tackle these issues, particularly fuel poverty. Achieving retrofit at scale means finding new solutions to improve the building fabric of properties with solid walls or narrow, hard-to-treat cavities – thereby reducing fuel consumption and energy bills for occupants.
The team at Mauer, led by Dan and Matt, have immersed themselves in the development of a unique external wall insulation (EWI) system providing an efficient and cost-effective answer to the challenges faced by existing solutions.
The self-funded project has led to the first genuine innovation in the EWI industry for several years, and they are proud to introduce it to the readers of Insulate magazine.
Embracing off-site manufacturing (OSM)
One of the difficulties of producing a viable insulation solution is the variety found across the housing stock. A system that is easy to apply on one site may be impossible at another, and that uncertainty is harmful to the success of the industry.
Recognising this variety, Mauer use laser-scanning technology to digitally survey each property. The results are uploaded to CAD software to create a bespoke design to millimetre accuracy. In turn, that design informs a manufacturing process that takes full advantage of the benefits of OSM.
Every insulation component is produced and cured in factory conditions before being delivered to the installer, fully finished, ready for use as a project-specific ‘kit’.
The steel frame is treated with the same precision, manufactured from self-healing galvanised steel and supplied in both assembled and loose sections. It is fixed using frame and rivet fixings. A patented, single-piece adjustable spacer – the only one of its type – aids installation on undulating substrates.
Thanks to its offsite manufacture, the relative simplicity of Mauer’s system offers all sorts of benefits – not least, reliable and consistent performance across projects of all shapes and sizes. And because what’s supplied to site is only what’s needed, there is no waste material.
A typical semi-detached house can be completed in five working days, with no hold ups if conditions are cold or wet. The system is mechanically fixed, so there is no mixing of adhesives, or application of render – whether conventional or brick effect – or brick slip systems.
Inevitably, cost is also a consideration when looking to make improvements to buildings. The controlled nature of the manufacturing keeps the cost of Mauer EWI under control and, because on-site variables are reduced, so too are potential unforeseen additions.
Project planning is simplified and the installation can be better depended upon for its intended performance. It’s that last point that is key. Undertaking measures to improve buildings is pointless if the measures don’t actually deliver what’s promised.
Performance gaps between what is intended and what is actually delivered are a big culprit for many of the issues mentioned earlier – something that Mauer have worked hard to eliminate from their EWI system. Thanks to their innovations, customers will be able to enjoy a more comfortable building, even in the coldest of cold snaps.
More about Mauer EWI
Product features summary
- Ideal for new and existing buildings; traditional procurement or modular build.
- Manufactured off-site; installation is fast and not weather dependent.
- Independently tested to ETAG 034 (European technical approval of kits for external wall claddings).
- Complete system, including composite facade board (CFB) and steel framing system, assessed and awarded an Agrement certificate by Kiwa BDA.
- Durable, low-maintenance and robust: suitable for any exposure and impact zone.
- Unrivalled structural stability under wind loading.
- U-value of 0.295 W/m2K, based on TRISCO numerical modelling calculations.
- Core insulant material: Knauf Supafil Frame (blown mineral fibre giving complete coverage).
- Overall fire rating of Euroclass A2 (non-combustible).
- Insurance-backed product.
- Eligible for ECO funding.
- Complete traceability of all raw materials.
- Mauer is a working partner on several UK and European energy efficiency and innovation projects.
- Approximate 25% cost saving compared to conventional EWI solutions.
- Choice of finishes: brick or stone-effect all derived from one Mauer-specific raw material. Colour matching available, and bespoke patterns and sizes available.
Working with Mauer
Visit the mauer website to find out more about the Mauer EWI system, case studies and its further development, or to enquire about using it on a project or becoming an installer. The Mauer technical team assist throughout, including a constant on-site presence and monitoring of the design, production (based in East Lancashire) and installation.