New BRE Global certification scheme for the thermal performance of details and products is launched

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BRE Global is launching a new certification scheme which aims to reduce the level of thermal bridging that can arise in buildings and homes causing heat loss.

Typically occurring where there is a break or weakness in the continuity of the insulation in the building fabric, heat loss due to thermal bridging can account for as much as 30% of a building’s overall heat losses. Currently thermal bridging levels are calculated using the BRE guide BR 497* ‘Conventions for calculating linear thermal transmittance and temperature factors’. The resulting thermal performance values are then used within National Calculation Tools, such as SAP and SBEM. However, at present the industry allows for ‘self-certification’ with no formal scheme in place, which can lead to potential inaccuracies.

The new BRE Certified Thermal Details and Products scheme will certify the ‘as designed’ thermal performance of thermal junction details, products (e.g. doors and windows) and major elements (e.g. flooring and roof systems). The scheme will enable suppliers to demonstrate to customers that their products and services meet the appropriate standards, helping clients avoid costly mistakes and reduce risk.

The scheme will also consider the potential risk of surface condensation and mould growth on inside surface areas, which can have significant health implications on building occupants in some cases leading to asthma attacks and other respiratory illnesses.

An assessment of the detail or product will be carried out by BRE experts and BRE Global (BRE’s certification company) will then certify the assessment. The approved product or detail will be uploaded onto an online database which will be fully searchable, providing free access for manufacturers, suppliers, specifiers and designers.

BRE Scheme Technical Manager Graeme Hannah concluded ‘The new scheme is a significant step forward in tackling an important issue within building performance that is often overlooked. The development of Government Accredited Construction details was a good starting point, and we are aiming to build on this by providing the industry with a wider range of accurate and independently assessed, readily accessible and searchable performance values in which they can have confidence in. This could really make a significant difference to the way in which we move forward as an industry.’

Managing Director of BRE Global Richard Hardy said ‘Tougher legislation, rising energy prices and the introduction of the green finance mechanisms have encouraged increased use of insulation in walls, roofs and floors which is a positive step towards reducing heat losses. Now we need to ensure that the increased levels of insulation give the best return on investment by reducing the incidence of heat escaping through thermal bridges and ensuring that damp and mould do not occur. The launch of the BRE Certified Thermal Details and Products scheme is a big step towards this’.

The BRE Certified Thermal Details and Products Scheme will be launched at Ecobuild, 3rd – 5th March 2015, visit our stand N4120/N5214 to find out more. The online database for the scheme will go live in the Summer.

For further information please contact Linda McKeown, BRE, tel 01923 664569 or emailcertifiedthermalproducts@BRE.co.uk

NOTES TO EDITOR

*Current guidance

BRE publication BR 497 “Conventions for calculating linear thermal transmittance and temperature factors” provides guidance and conventions that should be followed by thermal modellers in order to produce consistent, reproducible results and so help the drive towards ambitious energy improvements and healthier buildings. The conventions relate to the use of thermal modelling software to assess the temperatures and resulting heat flows through the ‘as designed’ thermal detail and so determine its thermal performance.

Where details do not conform to Government Accredited Construction Details, their thermal performance should be evaluated using thermal simulation software and applying the conventions in BR 497. BR 497 is currently referenced within Approved Document L1A (domestic, section 5.12) and L2A (non-domestic, section 5.7) of the building regulations for England & Wales and in the Scottish Technical Standards (Section 6 Energy) for both domestic and non-domestic buildings.

BRE Group

BRE is a world leading building science centre that generates new knowledge through research. This is used to create products, tools and standards that drive positive change across the built environment.  BRE helps its government and private sector clients meet the significant environmental, social and economic challenges they faces in delivering homes, buildings and communities.

BRE is owned by the BRE Trust, a registered charity. The Trust uses the profits made by the BRE companies to fund research and education that advances knowledge of the built environment.www.bre.co.uk

BRE Global

BRE Global Limited (incorporating LPCB & BREEAM) is an independent third party approvals body offering certification of fire, security and sustainability products and services to an international market.  BRE Global’s product testing and approvals are carried out by recognised experts in our world renowned testing laboratories. BRE Global Limited is custodian of a number of world leading brands includiing:

  • LPCB for the approval of fire and security products and services, listed in the Red Books.
  • BREEAM the world’s leading environmental assessment method for buildings, sets the standard for best practice in sustainable design and has become the de-facto measure of a building’s environmental performance.