Winter is coming – now is the time to insulate to prevent unnecessary winter deaths

Now that cold, wintry weather is around the corner, it is only a matter of time before the rate of unnecessary deaths increases as a direct result of cold weather and fuel poverty. It is easy to see the hardship that the elderly and those living with illness have to contend with if they inhabit housing which is too expensive to heat. A cold and damp, or draughty home can trigger illness in susceptible people causing a surge in hospital admissions and sometimes death.

The British Urethane Foam Contractors Association, the trade association for the application of sprayed or injected polyurethane foam, urges specifiers to increase the insulation levels in these properties to bring all households out of fuel poverty and in a position where they can reasonably afford to heat their homes.

Households with insulated cavity walls are least likely to be in fuel poverty (6.2 per cent of households), according to the ‘Annual Fuel Poverty Statistics Report, 2017’, published by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy. The report also highlights that around 2.5 million households in England were living in fuel poverty in 2015 which increased by 0.4% compared to the previous year.

Wall insulation is normally the best way to improve the insulation in most properties. By injecting cavity wall insulation into the cavity this provides an insulating barrier and provides stability to the walls, avoiding the expensive job of replacing wall ties. The foam is particularly beneficial in hard-to-treat properties which are unsuitable for other materials, or for homes at risk of flooding, where other products might not survive.

Due to the expanding properties of the foam, air leakage, draughts and cold spots are eliminated, providing superior energy-saving insulation and carbon savings. To provide reassurance to customers who require injected cavity wall insulation a BUFCA warranty is available.

For roof insulation, spray-applied closed cell polyurethane foam at rafter level provides superior insulation, and this together with the existing 100mm layer of insulation at joist level, brings the thermal performance right up to today’s stringent standards and even avoids the need to ventilate the roof space.

Homes which are well insulated will be far warmer and retain the heat for longer, resulting in lower fuel bills and occupants will be less susceptible to winter-related illness. Spray applied or injected polyurethane foam will provide far better insulation than the equivalent thickness of most insulation materials, whilst stabilising the roof and walls.

nstaller members of the British Urethane Foam Contractors Association agree to abide by the Association’s Code of Professional Practice. Visit www.bufca.co.uk for a list of professional installers.