Greentec Ecological House. Architect: Helena McElmeel Architects. Photographer: Kelvin Gilmore.
Developments in building standards in recent years has seen a steady improvement in the energy performance of masonry and concrete construction, which can easily meet and exceed the requirements of Part L of the Building Regulations – Conservation of Fuel and Energy. The enhanced energy performance of masonry construction has been achieved through a range of measures including higher standards of insulation, air tightness and thermal bridging. In addition, concrete buildings can achieve substantial energy savings during their lifetime due to concrete’s thermal mass which sharply reduces the need for extra heating or cooling as well as providing greater comfort.
The energy performance of new concrete and masonry buildings can meet and exceed minimum requirements. Achieving required or desired energy performance arises from good design and construction in the U-values of elements, thermal bridging at junctions and air tightness. The air tightness of new concrete buildings has steadily increased in recent years as greater knowledge has informed the design and construction process. Concrete provides the basis for a robust air barrier that is not reliant on tape or sealant, and will not degrade appreciably overtime.
Concrete buildings and homes provide owners with the ideal means of achieving the highest energy rating on the Building Energy Rating (BER) scale, while availing of all of the other in-built benefits which concrete has to offer.