Jason our mechanical and energy engineer has recently been taking some time off from work to renovate and insulate his own cob cottage. Having already plastered internally using traditional methods and lime based plasters it was now time to apply what was learnt to the external facade. In its existing condition the cottage had cement render which needed to be replaced due to cracking and movement. This presented an ideal opportunity to also apply some form of external wall insulation system. Having researched various different ways of insulating cob walls ranging from hemp products to EPS systems to wood fibres Jason deciding on using a lime based insulating render system containing perlites. A render system called Unilit 20 with a thermal conductivity of 0.066 W/m.K. Whilst not as good as some modern insulants this is still a significant improvement over applying nothing. A balance had to be found between maintaining the aesthetics of the cottage and cob, vapour permeability and cost. In addition the render system has extraction qualities which promotes the drying out of the humidity and moisture in the walls which in turn ensures the walls stay warmer for longer.
Cob Cottage with cement render
|existing cement render condition|
- Fabric heat loss through the U-value measurement of wall elements both in the form of in-situ and calculated U-values.
- Air infiltration through air permeability testing and thermographic survey.
- Moisture, room and wall moisture including wall surface and interstitial moisture behaviour.
- Indoor air conditions and comfort levels via the measurement of CO2.
- Interior temperature and relative humidity.
Once the insulating measures have been carried out SPAB will return this winter to carry out the tests again. In addition to the external insulating render it is intended to dig out the ground floors and insulate them, increase the roof insulation and make the cottage more air tight.
Extract from SPAB interim report (draft)
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|cement render removal|
|lovely bit of cob|
|now with skat coat|
|first coat of insulating render|