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XPS Substrate board cutting heat loss across the envelope

“From repeated Covid lock-downs across China’s industrial cities to the giant oil tanker Ever Green getting wedged in the Suez canal, and now the war in Ukraine, the world’s supply chains have been suffering their worst disruption for decades,” says Mark Bowman of Marmox UK, “which means specifying British made products is not only more sustainable, but logistically astute.”

The BREEAM environmental assessment tool used to judge many commercial and public construction projects gives substantial credit for keeping travel distances short for both labour and materials. Additionally, the UK industry’s rigorous production standards and commitments to corporate social responsibility provides greater assurance for home-grown products, Marmox says, including insulation materials.

The company’s Multiboard is described as a versatile insulation panel product capable of contributing to improved energy performance in both internal and external roles for retrofit as well as new build applications.

The latest U-values and other key figures are set out in the product’s technical guide, which is designed to offer specifiers a concise reference on improving the energy performance of the entire building envelope – covering extensions and conversions as well as developments and comprehensive refurbishment contracts.

Multiboards are offered in a range of thicknesses from 4-60mm and are suitable for uprating the energy performance of many different building elements, the company says, from solid brick walls to lightweight steel framing as well as floors and ceilings or roofs.

Furthermore, the product’s construction reportedly makes it almost totally waterproof, which enables an impervious lining for tanking wetrooms or a high-performance substrate for render and cladding finishes.

Across the range, each thickness of board is encapsulated in a thin layer of glass-fibre reinforced polymer modified concrete, which is said to offer significant load-carrying capacity for applications like flooring and balcony style promenade tiling, while offering the moisture absorption capability to create an excellent bond with render, mortar, adhesives or plaster finishes.

Although in offering a thermal conductivity value of 0.034W/mK, extruded polystyrene (XPS) is not as thermally efficient as some other rigid insulation materials, it does provide various benefits, Marmox says. Unlike PIR or phenolic insulation, the product’s XPS core maintains its effectiveness when exposed to moisture, with phenolic foam actually behaving as a thermal conductor when saturated.

Also significant is that the product can be secured directly against substrates such as blockwork or old solid brick masonry, instead of having to be “stood off” using timber battens. Not only does this reduce the amount by which it encroaches into the occupied space, the company says, but it also reduces the risk of interstitial condensation causing damage within the wall zone.

The space issue also highlights a difference to thermal laminates (insulated plasterboard) where insulation is bonded onto the back of 10 or 12mm gypsum boards to give a level of strength and a surface for plastering. Opting for Multiboard means virtually the entire depth is acting to prevent heat loss, Marmox says, meaning even a 10mm board employed as a tilebacker will make a significant contribution to occupant comfort and overall energy performance.

The company says its operations at its factory in Kent take sustainability into account at every level from waste management to in-house recycling and the avoidance of contamination.

The Chatham plant implements a zero-waste policy where oil waste from the Multiboard production process is recycled into other, less formulation critical products. In accordance with EN 13164 and EC 1272/2008, this is classified as non-hazardous, while it is HCFC and HBCD free. Additionally, Multiboards do not contain any REACH (registration, evaluation, authorisation and restriction of chemicals) hazardous substances.

For wetrooms, the company has recently developed a selection of niches and corner shelves also made from Multiboard, which are therefore suitable for direct tiling.

“Light, strong, waterproof and simple to install, Marmox Multiboards are an ideal insulation solution for use in a fabric first approach to cutting energy consumption and while the import of foreign made goods is likely to remain under pressure for some time to come, the availability of high performance, UK manufactured insulation materials means that the ‘SS Sustainability’ is a ship that definitely hasn’t sailed,” Bowman concludes.

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