Being thermally lightweight, timber frame houses heat up much faster than heavyweight block houses and due to the lower U-value of the timber structure they require far less energy to retain this heat. This means that gas guzzling sources of heat input are switched on less frequently and for shorter periods of time, saving the world from unnecessary CO2 emissions and saving you money.
U-Value & You
Timber Houses v Block Houses – A Case Study
The Building Energy Rating (BER) Certificate
U-Value & You
U-Value is the calculated thermal efficiency of a building.
U-Value is defined as the amount of heat / energy (measured in watts) flowing through 1m2 of an element (aka; 1m2 of a wall, roof, floor or window) when the temperature difference between the two faces of the element (ie; the difference between the outside air temp and inside airtemp) is 1 degree Kelvin (W/m2K).
The lower the U-Value the less heat flows through the element and hence the more energy efficient it is.
The Specific Heat Loss Characteristic of a house is a summation of all of the heat flowing through all of the elements plus an allowance for the amount of heat lost by way of air infiltration and ventilation
Energy Efficiency in Timber Houses vs Block Houses
How Timber Frame Construction Will Effect the Long-Term Costs of Heating Your Home
Advocates of timber-frame construction have long argued that timber-frame houses are more thermally efficient and therefore more cost effective to heat. However, it has been argued by many brick and mortar advocates that due to new building regulations the same minimum U-value must be achieved in all new build homes regardless of construction method, and therefore thermal efficiency should not be a determining factor when deciding between the two construction methods.
Significantly, studies show that in actual practice block homes continuously fall short when it comes to implementing the thermal efficiency calculated in the design stages. This is due in part to poor on-site practices and in greater proportion to the nature of the on-site construction system. The factory based system employed in the construction of timber frame homes allows for far greater accuracy & precision and ensures that u-values predicted in the design plans will actually be achieved in practice.
This assertion is backed below by Bill Quigley\’s study, “The Comparison of energy use and comfort conditions in Timber Frame and Traditional Block Houses”, conducted in 2003 on behalf of COFORD & Nutech Consultants (See Below).
The BER Certificate
The emission of Greenhouse gases such as CO2 are the root cause of climate change and advanced global warming.
Construction and use of residential buildings accounts for 30% of our national CO2 emissions.
In light of this need for the production of more energy efficient homes, tighter building regulations have since been imposed by the irish government and department of the environment, such as the New Building Regulations Amendment Part \’L\’, requiring that newly constructed homes lower their energy emissions and U-Values by almost 40% and also meet new renewable energy requirements.
In addition to this, as of January 2009 all new buildings need to get an energy rating certificate known as a BER or Building Energy Rating Certificate. BER assessors calculate the energy performance of the building in order to confirm that it is in compliance with the new regulations.
Similarly any existing buildings that are offered for sale of for rent will need to obtain a certificate, with the aim of making the energy performance of a building transparent and available to potential purchasers or tenants.
Ramstown Home Insulation
As an optional service, we can supply insulation for your home that is designed to meet the standards laid out in L-amendment of the new building regulations. We can also advise you on several upgrade options we have available and put together a tailor-made insulation package designed to help you achieve your desired Building Energy Rating.
We supply a standard home insulation option that meets all the structural U-Value requirements needed to achieve the minimum C1 energy rating as laid out in the L-amendment. Our many upgrade options are available to enable you to improve upon this energy rating and achieve maximum levels of energy efficiency and savings. Under Amendment-L all newly constructed homes must achieve a minimum C1 energy rating as standard. Our upgrade home unsulation option can help your timber frame home to achieve A-level energy ratings – provided it is carried out in accordance with the recommended standards of glazing, heating and ventilation.
*The Building Energy Ratings (BER) quoted are achievable when the above standards of insulation are existent in conjunction with equally efficient standards in glazing, heating & ventilation.
Ramstown Timber Frame Company
Phone: 086 2516449
Fax: 053 94 22130