Transition Bath has a long held ambition that tradespersons in Bath hold additional accreditations in how energy efficiency measures can be applied to our historic buildings. So for example a tradesperson installing internal wall insulation is able to provide good advice on whether to use a natural vapour permeable solution or a modern solution with a vapour barrier. We would also like tradesman to be proactive in suggesting energy efficiency measures, for example when they are installing new kitchens (which happens every 7 years on average) they can suggest installing internal wall insulation if any plasterwork is required as part of the kitchen replacement.
B&NES council under their Energy at Home Scheme are trying to encourage tradespersons to increase their knowledge in conjunction with The Green Skills Academy at the City of Bath and Radstock colleges. They are offering tradespersons up to 75% discounts on training courses to increase their knowledge of sustainable construction and renewable energy.
An example – Thin Joint Blockwork
For example they are offering a 75% discount on ‘Thin Joint Brickwork’ – it may sound esoteric, but as we have discovered from Transition Bath’s thermal imaging project it can make a big difference in the energy performance of walls on extensions if ‘Thin Joint Brickwork’ and thermally insulated blockwork is used rather than traditional mortar joints.
The 2 images below show a blank plaster wall taken with a normal camera on the left, and the same wall taken with Transition Bath’s thermal imaging camera on the right.
The image on the right shows the underlying blockwork behind the plaster. The blue represents cold and red warm. There two issues that stand out:
- the traditional mortar is acting as a cold bridge between the inside and the outside of the wall; thin joint blockwork would eliminate this
- there are two different types of blockwork in this wall, 2 traditional medium density blocks at the top, which are blue and conducting the cold from outside the house to the inside and thermally insulated (aircrete) blocks below which appear warmer
The training for thin joint blockwork only costs a discounted £62 (previously £249), we would like all brickies to be able to offer it, but at the moment very few do!
Next time you are having some work doing on your home, think about whether you can incorporate sustainability measures in any work, so for example insulating walls when replacing kitchens or bath rooms, or insulating under floors if floors are being replaced? And, when appointing tradespersons try discussing with them about sustainability and energy efficiency in construction and find out what they know and whether they have been on any training courses. If they haven’t point them to B&NES’s Energy at Home discounted training courses. By engaging them in these conversations it will hopefully in the long term encourage tradespersons to be more aware and proactive in their approach to energy efficiency? More details of the training courses are available here.