Up to 40% of the industrialised world’s energy use goes on the energy consumption of buildings. With rising energy prices and more focus on sustainable use of resources, better insulation plays a key role in moving towards increased sustainability.
The times when heating or cooling your home to a comfortable temperature without having to think about the consequences are gone. National and international legislation and agreements are aimed at energy savings, and are supported by the market price of energy. That’s why insulation is one of the most interesting issues in the building market. For many years Walki has been producing facing materials for polyurethane insulation – one of the most effective insulation materials known.
“Over the last five years, sales have risen dramatically and we think this will continue. For example, legislation in England and Ireland now require both new and renovated buildings to be insulated, so more insulation is being sold than ever before. In other parts of Europe, insulation has also become a more important way of saving energy," says Kari Salminen, Executive Vice President, Construction, at Walki.
Walki’s facing material is a multi-layer laminate, which combined with polyurethane achieves high insulation efficiency without having to use thick insulating layers.
"That’s why it is ideal for insulating older buildings where there isn’t much space in walls and roofs for thick layers. Good insulation properties can still be achieved," says Juuso Rinkinen, Technical Service Manager, Construction, at Walki.
Brick houses in particular are expensive to insulate if you cannot find a thin material which fits in to the original structure. But polyurethane also works well with new buildings. The builder saves materials and floor space using effective, thin insulation.
Walki combines aluminium and paper in its facing layer, as aluminium gives excellent low emissions due to it reflecting the heat back into the building in all joints and vents.
"The material is also very diffusion-tight, which means that polyurethane insulation keeps its insulation effect for longer, as the insulation properties cannot ’escape’ from the material," says Rinkinen. It also gives a positive environmental effect in the form of long lifespan for the building.
Walki has enjoyed a long association with SPU, a Finnish manufacturer of insulation material, which is sold in the Nordic, Baltic and Russian markets. SPU supplies the material for industrial buildings, sports halls, public buildings, multi-storey buildings and private
housing. "Polyurethane has been popular for low and passive energy buildings for years, as its insulation layer is so much thinner, but we have noticed far more private house builders are also choosing polyurethane," says Janne Jormalainen, Chairman of the Board at SPU.
At this time, SPU is working on multi-storey buildings in the Finnish town of Kuopio, which will be the first in the country to fulfil the EU’s 20-20-20 package, which calls for an increase in energy efficiency and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions of 20% by 2020.
"Energy efficient thinking within all forms of building is here to stay, as we will never again see such low energy prices as we have had past," says Jormalainen.