Insulated panels and achieving BREEAM ratings

Insulated panel systems can help achieve BREEAM ratings of Excellent, or even Outstanding, primarily through the reduction of CO2 emissions. They do this by providing a highly energy efficient building envelope in terms of both insulation and airtightness. Panels are available which can achieve U-values as low as 0.16 W/m2.K, with excellent insulation continuity and minimal cold bridging also contributing to the overall thermal performance.

Another key element is the very low level of air leakage that can be achieved – factory engineered joints make sure that an air tightness of 5m3/hr/m2 or better is commonplace, whilst figures lower than 2m3/hr/m2 have also been achieved.

These attributes can provide an excellent starting point for the long term conservation of energy and the achievement of optimum BREEAM credits, with the assurance of a durable, high performing building envelope.

What is BREEAM?

The Building Research Establishment’s Environmental Assessment Method, or BREEAM, is one of the most fully developed and widely used environmental assessment tools for buildings in the world. It takes building design and construction performance above and beyond the regulatory requirements to provide a widely recognised benchmark of sustainable best practice.

The aims behind BREEAM are to provide recognition of that best practice, to encourage design that reduces the impact of buildings on the environment, and to raise awareness of and facilitate more sustainable lifestyles. BREEAM ratings therefore represent highly regarded third party accreditation of construction standards.

The role of insulated panels

Because of their very high levels of insulation and air tightness, insulated panel systems have for some time been used in projects aiming to perform beyond the regulatory requirements, and have been shown to help achieve BREEAM ratings of Excellent, or even Outstanding.

The success of these projects clearly indicates that insulated panels have an important role to play as the industry moves towards ever higher standards. Although the primary advantage of these systems lies in achieving energy efficiency and CO2 reduction, insulated panels can also deliver a number of other key benefits such as:

  • Helping to minimise site waste
  • Ensuring fast track construction
  • Significant long term thermal performance
  • Increasing levels of safe working at height by providing a safe walkable platform once roof panels are fixed and by reducing the amount of time needed to install the roof
  • All UK Insulated Panels manufactured since 2004 have zero Ozone Depletion Potential (ODP)

BREEAM case study

Blue Planet building, Chatterley Valley, North Staffordshire, U.K.

The Building Research Establishment’s Environmental Assessment Method, or BREEAM, is one of the most fully developed and widely used environmental assessment tools for buildings in the world. It takes building design and construction performance above and beyond the regulatory requirements to provide a widely recognised benchmark of sustainable best practice.

The aims behind BREEAM are to provide recognition of that best practice, to encourage design that reduces the impact of buildings on the environment, and to raise awareness of and facilitate more sustainable lifestyles. BREEAM ratings therefore represent highly regarded third party accreditation of construction standards.

Insulated panel systems on the roof and walls helped the Blue Planet project in Chatterley Valley to become the first building to achieve a BREEAM Outstanding rating.

Blue Planet

Photo credit: Gazeley and Central Photography