Sunday, 27 September 2015

The art of compromise

Insulated plasterboard below tiles
As our major building work is winding up , we are having some small repair jobs done. One of these involved removing a broken fan from the wall of our family bathroom, which revealed the insulated plasterboard we had installed on the the inside of the external wall more than 10 years ago. I had completely forgotten we had specified this - it was in the days before we had ever considered 'proper' solid wall insulation , and was a low effort, and probably low reward, means of trying to save some heat.

The list of solid wall insulation material we have used is varied, reflecting largely the level of disruption and expense we could cope with at the time:
  • external side wall of semi, ground and first floor - 100mm Pavatex 'Diffutherm'
  • internal walls front and back of the house, ground floor living space - 60mm Pavatex 'Pavadentro'
  • internal wall back of the house, first floor bedroom 1 - 70mm Pavatex 'Pavadry'
  • internal wall front of the house, first floor bedroom 2 - 4mm Wallrock KV600 thermal liner
  • internal wall, first floor bathroom - 10mm expanded polystyrene
Some of these products come with detailed data sheets, specifying U values, and offering guarantees. Others either came with nothing, or rather optimistic claims about energy savings. The thermal wallpaper in bedroom 2, for example, is unlikely to save a great deal of energy. However, the main purpose of installing it was to stop condensation and mould growth, and it has achieved this.

One thing I have learned from the gradual eco-renovation of this house is to accept that decisions are made at a particular time, with limited knowledge, limited energy  and a limited budget. It is often not possible to choose the best solution in terms of energy saving.  Compromise is inevitable. In fact, compromise is probably not the right word, as energy saving is not the only goal. Even for people who are keen to reduce their energy use, there are other priorities, and many practical constraints to choosing the lowest energy solution. As so often in life, a good compromise may be the best we can achieve.


  1. Any tips on installing pavadentro with a radiator in the way? Thanks

  2. Any tips on installing pavadentro with a radiator in the way? Thanks

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