Last Thursday I visited Plan Expo and attended the seminar on Alternative House Building Types. The exhibition itself , had a large selection of stands devoted to energy efficiency, from heat exchangers to air tightness membranes. Many of the more traditional exhibitors were missing, no Velux windows, no Moy Materials to name a few.
The seminar on alternative house building types was worth attending. Gerry McCaughey, Chief Executive, Kingspan Century Ltd as expected spent the afternoon telling us that timber frame is the future in housing building and that the concrete block is on the way out. What a load of sh!te. Naturally the concrete representatives disagreed. Each of the building methods have their own advantages and disadvantages and should be examined for individual projects.
The main thing I took from the seminar was, the standard of workmanship on site will have to drastically improve as air-tightness is here to stay whether we like it or not. It was stated that insulation standards are now at the standard where any further reduction in u-values would not have a significant improvement in energy efficiency, however substantial improvements are to be gained by improvements in air tightness of the construction. Off-site construction, where services are integrated into the construction in the factory definitely have the advantages as regards air tightness and quality control.
The question is how well the builders will adopt to the new requirements and at what cost .Time will tell....