We delve into how contemporary construction methodologies are adapting to enhanced efficiency objectives, assisting self-builders in realizing a home with low energy consumption and minimized carbon footprint.
Building Regulations dictate the minimum acceptable standard for house construction. Therefore, it's promising to see amendments made to these regulations that promote more energy-efficient homes. Such changes are being progressively implemented across numerous approved documents, commencing in June 2022 and continuing periodically until 2025.
These revisions aim to facilitate the carbon reductions necessary to fulfill COP26 requirements.
Evolving Construction Landscape in the UK
Areas most likely to influence those constructing or renovating their homes revolve around changes to Part L1A and L1B, which focus on conserving heat and energy.
As of 15th June 2022, the updated regulations mandate a 31% reduction in CO2 emissions compared to the preceding standard. This reduction can be achieved by enhancing insulation, ensuring airtightness, and utilizing renewable heating technologies.
Self-builders typically strive for the best they can afford, often designing their homes to surpass the minimum regulatory requirements.
Providers of advanced construction techniques, including timber framing, structural insulated panels (SIPs), and insulating concrete formwork (ICF), have been proactive and are accustomed to exceeding the standard requirements, as seen in Passivhaus principles.
The JUWO Evolved SmartWall system employs thin joint adhesive and large-format natural clay blocks to enable a swift, sustainable construction of your home's framework.
Masonry remains a popular choice for many, due to its sturdy nature and durability. Like all other systems, it too is evolving to meet the higher standards of thermal insulation without adding complexity to design and detailing.
Thin joint masonry solutions like the JUWO Evolved SmartWall have been widely available in Northern Europe for many years. Their simplicity illustrates the ease of constructing a low-energy, thermal bridge-free structure.
Such systems provide superior energy efficiency, airtightness, and thermal mass, and also help mitigate overheating problems, which are now addressed in the new Part O of the Building Regulations.
Modern Building Materials for New Eco Standards
For conventional cavity walling, enhancing thermal performance necessitates widening the cavities. This, in turn, raises concerns about maintaining structural stability.
With a solution like JUWO, the cavity is removed, enabling the entire structure to function as a monolithic wall. The application of the thin joint adhesive doesn't necessitate the skills of a bricklayer, and the system can be externally finished with direct render, brick or stone slips, timber, or decorative cladding – without any limitations.
Airtightness is attained through a direct plaster finish on the inside, eliminating the need for costly membrane layers and tapes. The JUWO Evolved SmartWall is a clay-based building system that leverages contemporary construction methods, making it quick to assemble.
From a sustainability perspective, it requires less than 85% of the treated water compared to cavity wall construction; furthermore, it can be entirely recycled back into the earth at the end of its lifecycle.
Invest Now, Enhance Efficiency Later
There's an extensive array of structural systems available for the self-builder, but not everyone can afford to adhere to standards exceeding the Building Regulations.
A feasible option is to opt for a construction method that can be easily enhanced later – either through the application of internal or, preferably, external wall insulation.
Not every system can easily accommodate retrofit insulation, so if you're considering this route, ensure you choose a compatible system.
Also, it's important to note that the cost of the product can greatly differ from the installed price of your system. With the significant increase in material costs and labor rates in recent years, it's crucial to incorporate this in your budget.