Bike Repair Van Insulates with Aerogel

Garry Davoren is a serious Bike enthusiast with a well established bike shop in Galway. As part of his service he provides a mobile repair service with a customised van and trailer complete with onboard workshop. And, as Garry explains if you’re working on site and on the road as part of your work then you want to make sure the living and working environment is as high quality as possible. That was his starting point in customising his van.

For Garry, it’s not just a van, but a fully insulated workshop-come-living quarters that maximises space and provides the ideal environment for expensive tools, pieces of bike gear and other equipment. Given it is his livelihood and hobby combined, you can see why he wanted to spend time to get it just right. And that means everything from maximising space to ensuring the interior is dry.

The thought of any sort of build up of condensation was a non-starter. The key is customising the van was to find the thinnest insulation material possible that was also light and could fit the contours of the van to maintain a steady temperature and not use up excessive space.

Garry explains: “I was researching the whole are of insulation, because space is key. With the pillars in the van you want to get a continuous vapour / thermal barrier inside the van and I didn’t want any un-insulated steel that would result in the formation of condensation. It was highly critical that we prevented this or any sort of cold bridging.”

“So I wanted the best performing and thinnest flexible insulation material. Condensation and the build-up of moisture inside the van leads to corrosion and that’s a no-no. You need to completely insulate and seal all surfaces because if any hot air generated inside the van were to come in contact with cold steel then you will have a serious problem – water build-up.”

“I was literally online looking for the thinnest form of the highest value insulation I could get. I looked more and more into Spaceloft®Aerogel and I went into a few camper forums to see if anyone used it and a few people did and it was successful.”

“Then I got Liam’s details at Enviroform Insulation, I had started hitting people with the questions but when I rang Liam I learned more about how insulation works from him in real depth and that’s when I did more homework. He helped me with the layout of the van with where to use the Spaceloft®Aerogel and how to use it. His knowledge was a real help and explained a lot.”

Bikes are more than a hobby for Garry, he has a number of interests. And, as he puts it to make a living out of your hobby you have to do a few things to get the bills paid. He’s on the road, he has his bike shop MBW in Galway. It’s fun but it’s also a serious business.

“The idea of this van is we have a mobile repair service, so we have the van and a trailer so the workshop and gear is in the back of this van so we can’t have any condensation in there because we have some high end tools in the van and we have product in there and it has to be like a shop and we have to keep it dry.”

“With the mountain biking side of it for example we are away doing stuff as well so the front-end cabin is an office, when you’re doing demos you need to be able to stay overnight when you have expensive stock with you. You need to stay in the vehicle so I have a pull out bed, kitchenette, it makes for good living accommodation.”

With the vehicle we do a lot of content work now for Instagram and so on I have an account @BeyondTheTrailsEdge. We have a good few projects for content work. We have solar and we charge up a lot of our equipment in the van too. I do some work for Kona Bikes and designed a Fat bike for them. A lot of that is off the beaten track and the van is what I live in basically.”

“There’s a lot of guys now living in vans, van life is huge. Van conversion globally is greater than it ever was. People are selling up apartments and living in vans no mortgage, working remotely. Content creators are going that way.

“I’m always away. That’s why I needed this van. If you’re going to do it you want to do it once and do it right!”





Did the Beast from the East Attack Your Property Insulation?

A couple of weeks back all the talk was of the formidable Beast from the East and the sustained sub zero temperatures. There aren’t too many positives from this sort of extreme weather but it can allow property owners and householders to see where their building is able to stand up to the elements and where the insulation falls down.

Gold Standard Insulation

Liam Brown of Enviroform Solutions explained: “The ideal situation, the Gold standard of insulation if you like is that your property has what we call a thermal cocoon in that from roof to sub floor you have every base covered in terms of eliminating cold bridges, insulating windows and doors, reveals and so on.”

The ideal time for taking a thermal survey of a building is during this sort of weather according to Liam and he explained that you would see heat loss around windows, in the roof area, especially in older heritage buildings. Energy loss in older building will emanate from the roof and soffit areas for example. If your damp proof layer isn’t robust enough if we took a thermal imaging photograph it would show heat loss at the foot of walls.

Save Money on Fuel

Coming up to spells of very harsh cold weather people tend to stock up on fuel but you could be wasting twenty to thirty percent of what you spend on fuel because your house is poorly insulated.  Liam explains, “The experts will point to simple measures that are good ideas in themselves, closing curtains, blocking up draughts in doors and windows, bleeding off radiators to ensure there are no air locks stopping hot water rising, ensuring your boiler is in good working order.”

“These measures are all perfectly sensible but the first thing you should do if you notice the cold in a bad spell is have your insulation checked out and from there get it fixed for next year. “

Liam pointed to government cuts in insulation since 2012 with the rate of insulation quoted as being 90% lower in some sources.

Liam referred to the comments of one of the expert advisers in this field:

“Pedro Guertler of the climate and energy think tank, E3G has said that making our buildings energy efficient is the most cost-effective means of decarbonising our energy infrastructure, it protects from the health risks of cold homes and keeps our energy bills down. The priority for our infrastructure programme should be to make our homes warm whilst slashing energy demand and bills.”

The lesson and the advice is simple and straightforward if you don’t want to get fleeced financially by the next Beast from the East and wish to stay warm no matter how cold the weather is. Then act to insulate now.

Does Insulation Work in the Summer?

Insulation in Summer

For most of insulation is something that keeps us warm in the winter and is less of an issue in the summer months. Sweltering hot summers aren’t something that has been a major issue, but when the temperatures do rise, how does it feel in your house?

Hot sticky nights that mean you have to throw the windows wide open, let the hot air out and the cool air in, along with a jungle’s worth of moths, daddy long legs and spiders?

The purpose of insulation is to stop or reduce the movement of heat between two places of varying temperature. So in warm weather if your insulation is doing its job it should keep your building cooler.If you have established a thermal cocoon for your home you will have a created a barrier that will prevent h
ot air getting into your building on a really hot day. This works as the same way in which you lose heat in the winter. The same insulation that retains heat in winter should deflect away the heat from the sun in the summer months.

If your insulation isn’t up to scratch you will notice that the room that is really cold in winter is the same room that is very warm in the summer.

The importance of good insulation is that it doesn’t just save you heating costs and energy in the winter but it also keeps the home cool in the summer.

If you are thinking of having an insulation upgrade, the summer is a good time to proceed. Why? Well because during the summer months the house has hopefully had time to dry out somewhat, the walls will have less moisture. The other practical reason is that decent summer weather makes it easier for a contractor to install the insulation.

Understanding Moisture Movement

Moisture movement, especially in porous walls, has to be taken into account when planning your internal wall insulation upgrade.

Adding insulation to the inside of a solid wall reduces heat loss and has an effect on its natural ability to dry.

Based on the type of wall you have you need to decide what system best suits your wall type.

We have three options: Vapour Open; Vapour Closed; or Vapour Closed with Reverse Diffusion Membrane. We can advise you to ensure you make the right decision.

About Enviroform

At Enviroform we provide tailored Spaceloft Aerogel insulation solutions for new builds, refurbishing hard to treat homes and the most complex heritage property restorations.

Our customers can testify to the changes in their home. And that is because they have no more cold areas, damp, draughts or mould on walls. And lower fuel bills.

We build our solutions to suit your building. Through experience we understand the challenges in upgrading hard to treat housing.

If you want to explore the options for a Summer Insulation Assessment, contact us now for a free consultation.

Tel: +44 (0)28 4177 3314


Spaceloft®: Flexible High Performance Insulation


Spaceloft is a flexible, nanoporous aerogel blanket insulation designed to meet the demanding energy conservation requirements of residential and commercial building applications.

Spaceloft’s unique properties—extremely low thermal conductivity, superior flexibility, hydrophobicity, and ease of use—make it essential for those seeking the ultimate in thermal protection.

Using patented technology, Spaceloft Aerogel insulation combines a silica aerogel with reinforcing fibre to deliver industry-leading thermal performance in an easy-to-handle and environmentally friendly product. Spaceloft products are proven, effective insulators, a range of primary new build and retrofit applications including

  • Internal Wall
  • External Wall
  • Floor
  • Terrace
  • Balcony
  • Roof
  • Thermal Bridging
  • Services
  • Equipment

Spaceloft Aerogel Advantages

Superior Thermal Performance

Up to five times better thermal performance than competing insulation products,  ideal for low energy, passive or zero-energy buildings.

Reduced Thickness and Profile

Equal thermal resistance at a fraction of the thickness, releases space for building occupiers and increases investment returns for owners / investors.

Less Time and Labor to Install

Easily cut and conformed to complex shapes, tight curvatures, and spaces with restricted access. Spaceloft can be prefabricated to reduce installation times, less disruption for occupants.

Physically Robust

Soft and flexible but with excellent springback. Spaceloft can tolerate typical site mechanical abuse without compromising thermal performance.

Shipping and Warehousing Savings

Reduced material volume, high packing density, and low scrap rates can reduce logistics costs by a factor of five or more compared to rigid, preformed insulations.

Hydrophobic Yet Breathable – Hygrothermal Risk Assessments

Spaceloft® repels liquid water but allows vapour to pass through, ideal for heritage application or where a breathable design is desired. Spaceloft’s hygrothermal characteristics are available for simulation software such as WUFI®.

Environmentally Friendly

Landfill disposable with no respirable fibre content.

Download: Spaceloft-tech list

Floored by The Wrong Advice?

Insulating Floors

The conventional wisdom around insulating existing floors in your home is that it is problematic. Full Stop. Why? Well, because without going ahead and lifting a solid floor, we are often advised that it is difficult to introduce any permanent thermal insulation. Once a floor is in place, it is like an immovable object. However there are floor insulation solutions available.

Floor Insulation from Enviroform InsulationTraditionally solid floors will often feel cold and a little damp, as tiles, bricks or flags could be laid directly in contact with the ground beneath. Concrete floors present another set of problems. Even if the floor includes a damp proof membrane, it may not be well insulated. And where there is a DPM and no sign of moisture, the advice is typically that you can go ahead and lay a wooden floor or some sort of flooring with a thermal underlay.

A lack of awareness of the options available means that householders often settle for a solution that is far from ideal. And they continue to lose heat through their floor.

Heat Loss Through Floors

When you think about heat loss, most people straight away look at the usual subjects. Draughty windows and doors, but it is a fact that heat lost through a solid floor can cost you money and drastically reduce the energy efficiency of your home.

Heat loss through the floor is particularly a problem in older homes. Many older buildings will have ground floors made from either uninsulated or poorly insulated solid concrete. It relates to the original construction of the building when builders were less aware of the potential for heat loss.

It wasn’t until the 1930s that concrete floors became relatively common. Prior to that ground floors tended to be basic slabs or tiles laid onto the ground. The Victorians used suspected timbers in most rooms, and for upper stories, floors featured timber joists. Modern suspended concrete floors didn’t appear until the 1990s. Also, main older homes had their floors dug up and replaced with concrete.

The problem that you face if you have a concrete floor is that excavating the surface isn’t an option for obvious practical reasons. The other problem is that a layer of insulation that is too deep will cause problems with doors closing and the level of adjacent floors.

ETherm Flooring from Enviroform

To address these practical problems at Enviroform Solutions we developed the E-Therm products, which are the highest performing retrofit flooring insulation solution available on the market. It is specifically designed for solid floors where space is at a premium, and excavating is not an option.

E-Therm Slim

E-Therm Slim panels consists of a 2x6mm ship lapped calcium silicate boards bonded to foiled faced PIR insulation. No special tools or precautions are required when fitting the panels and can be cut to the required shapes and size.

E-Therm Ultra

E-Therm Ultra panel consists of a 3mm high impact layer bonded to 10mm Aerogel insulation layers and then wrapped in a highly durable and robust vapour control layer. No special tools or precautions are required when fitting the panels and can be cut to the required shapes and size.

Domestic furniture can placed on top of the E-Therm Ultra which is compatible with most floor finishes and under-floor heating systems. It is supplied in a pre-formed panel to allow for fast installation.

If you have a floor that you think needs looking at, contact Enviroform Solutions now. We can advice you on the best approach and the solution that fits your floor.

Product Focus: Spaceloft Aerogel for Steel Posts and Window Lintels

Spaceloft Aerogel Insulating steel posts and window LintelsInsulating Steel Posts and Window Lintels

Insulating steel posts and lintels. It is a simple but valuable detail in ensuring the integrity of your home insulation. Time and again we see examples where clients go to the extreme of installing ultra efficient windows. But they neglect the details. The details in this case are Steel Posts and Window Lintels.

Neglecting insulation in posts and window lintels is a very common issue in new houses where steel supports are used between frames in bay windows.

Abandon Heat all Who Ignore Insulation

If the steel lintel isn’t insulated, you are effectively leaving a window ajar in the thermal cocooning of your property. By not insulating the steel post properly, you will have created a cold bridge. Over time that will reveal itself in the form of mould and damp patches.

Wrapping a steel support in 10mm foiled Spaceloft Aerogel will serve to insulate this section and eliminate the cold bridge. This will help prevent mould growth in the years ahead.

Window post and doorframe insulation is often selected even after high performance heat efficient windows are installed.

Insulating steel posts with Spaceloft Aerogel insulation can be a relatively straightforward solution. Creating an unbroken insulation layer ensure the integrity of your building.

Installation Guide

  • Cut foiled Spaceloft Aerogel to size. Make sure two pieces are wider by 20mm ensure full coverage.
  • Using the spray glue provided, spray the steel and then the Spaceloft Aerogel. Wait until tacky (1-2min) then place Spaceloft Aerogel onto steel.
  • Using high grab air tight tape, cover all horizontal, vertical and corner joints, making sure that that are no gaps in the Spaceloft Aerogel blanket layer.
  • New window or doors can be butted up against the Spaceloft Aerogel and fixed as recommended.

About Spaceloft Aerogel

If you want to reduce the heat loss from your property, maintain the historical identity and integrity of your building and enhance the safety, warmth and comfort of the occupants then you cannot look beyond Spaceloft Aerogel.

Using Spaceloft Aerogel as your insulation solution will Boost R values and address thermal bridges. Our products are carefully thought out to place your hoe within a warm and safe thermal cocoon.

Bonfield Review: An Insulation Roadmap?

The Bonfield Review was published on 16 December. It was a long awaited ‘State of the Nation’ review of home energy efficiency and insulation. Unsurprisingly it endorsed what many players in the industry have been saying for many years.

The Review’s main focus was:

  • Consumer advice and protection

What supports consumers’ decisions ahead of the installation, and what assistance is available when things go wrong?

  • Standards framework

What ensures that the right products are fitted to the right properties in the right way during the installation?

  • Monitoring and enforcement

What ensures that poor quality work is dealt with effectively, and do arrangements for audit, compliance checking and sanctions provide sufficient assurance of this?

Building Specific Solutions

Since we started our mantra has been an emphasis on building specific solutions. One size does not fit all. Each building has its own character, style and like people, each building is affected by external factors in a different way. Many of the buildings throughout the UK and Ireland date back many years, constructed of a wide range of materials and covering different types of building methods.

Bonfield flagged that this legacy housing stock needs to improve considerably if it is to continue to be fit for inhabitation in the years ahead. And it is a considerable volume of housing. As it stands it cannot meet government carbon emission and fuel poverty targets. These properties have also suffered as a result of poor quality work leading to poor thermal performance, particularly in the key areas of insulation and building fabric upgrade and maintenance.

When we say that we provide building specific solutions, that is what we mean. We know that different homes require different upgrade solutions. And that is why we work with all stakeholders in the process including architects, contractors, builders and owners to build specific solutions.

Upgrading Homes

In pointing to the inconsistent and inadequate work to date in upgrading homes, Bonfield said: “individual and any modifications need to take account of location, exposure, history, usage and state of repair, as well as architectural context. Too often there is very poor analysis and consideration of these individual factors prior to modifications being undertaken.

“This can be driven by scheme mechanisms to install fabric and energy efficiency measures at the lowest possible upfront cost. On occasion, inappropriate insulation has been installed in unsuitable buildings, with poor detailing or without adequate ventilation, etc. This can result in damage to the building fabric, consequent unexpected costs and health issues for the occupants.

For us, our priority is our clients’ home comfort and energy efficiency. Even in the most complicated retrofit projects on older buildings from experience we know we can provide the ideal insulation solution. It will protect the fabric of your home and help your property valuation.

Insulation Priorities

Bonfield added: “The whole of the building fabric needs to be understood and work undertaken in a proportionate and appropriate way. Addressing one element while ignoring others, or the interfaces, can generate problems. He has identified five aspects for consideration in taking retrofit forward to a satisfactory conclusion:

  • Liaising with consumers
  • Information gathering on the property and its vicinity
  • Design of the appropriate solution
  • How to make most efficient use of the home with the measures installed
  • Installation – quality and expertise.

In his introduction, Dr Bonfield writes: “ I recommend a new approach, underpinned by strong standards and enforcement. This will bring clarity and confidence to consumers, whilst providing a simplified and certain route to market for those companies, large and small, wishing to operate and do business in the energy efficiency and renewable energy sector in the United Kingdom.”

Starting Point

We believe that the weakness in the report is the starting point where all recommendations should be provided.

The ultimate aim for any proposal should be to insulate the whole property with the emphasis on “Thermal Bridge Free” upgrades and each homeowner explained where they occur, and what are the consequences of not addressing them.

Once these details are established, which are common on all properties, then training for all parties involved should take place and the communication process begins.

These critical junctions have always been present and all systems designers Should be aware of them but ultimately in the past they have been ignored due to a number of reasons.

Our issue is that the “Panel of Experts“ who have compiled this report were integral and part of the poor quality installations that have already taken place. Unfortunately this does not fill you with confidence that there will be drastic changes made.

Arguments over RHI Scheme Ignores Real Issue of Fuel Poverty

screenshot-2016-12-19-16-10-44As the controversial RHI scheme attracts political criticism amidst recrimination, blame and counter blame, local businessman Liam Brown of Enviroform Insulation in Warrenpoint has expressed his dismay at the broader implications for those people suffering from Fuel Poverty.

“This money could have been spent on insulating the very large number of properties across Northern Ireland where people are living in homes they can’t heat. Fuel poverty is a real issue whilst we are hearing of people burning fuel to heat properties that don’t need it for financial gain. It is immoral.”

He explained: “There are at least 10-15000 solid wall properties left uninsulated in Northern Ireland with the people living there, mostly in fuel poverty. They can’t afford to insulate their homes properly, so they are losing money on heating that is inefficient because much of the heat is lost through poor insulation. It is the Catch 22 of insulation. And it could be addressed.”

“If the government is serious about addressing Fuel Poverty, they could have done so. The value added benefits would have been local job creation for people installing systems, generating money back into the local economy. Also we would be less dependent on fossil fuel. It would also have generated VAT income for the government.

Liam Brown explained that Sammy Wilson at the time rejected the Green Deal when he was in post. The reasons weren’t clear even tough it made commercial sense.

“Aside from the political fall out from RHI and the point scoring going on, our politicians and commentators need to look at this broader issue which has been ignored in the furore over the catastrophic RHI scheme.

“£400 million would go a long way to addressing the issue of Fuel Poverty amongst those in most need in our society. It is a shameful situation.”

Is Your Thermal Cocoon a Horror Story?

Thermal Cocoon. What is it? Well, anyone remember the eighties horror film Cocoon. About the Aliens that lived in a swimming pool safe and secure in their cocoons? Obviously they were safe and warm in the swimming pool, the water couldn’t get in and they were secure. The Thermal Cocoon was complete, allowing the aliens to survive and thrive.

Is your Thermal Cocoon a Horror Story? Any Gaps in Your Thermal Cocoon?

Now imagine a bunch of aliens came to earth and set up in your home by getting in through a gap in your insulation. How would you fare? Do you even know if your insulation is alien proof let alone waterproof? Do you know where the gaps are? Think of all those aliens making their way across your thermal bridges? The horror.

There could be things getting in through your walls that you know nothing about. If your thermal cocoon is compromised or non existent, when moisture and damp gets in, it allows aliens like fungus and mould to grow on your walls, breaching your thermal cocoon every day and every night. Imagine coming down every morning to a sickly looking extraterrestrial who longs for the warmth of his native planet rather than your draughty cold abode. ET phone home? Or, ET phone Enviroform?

Insulation and Heat Transfer

So what is the connection between insulation and aliens you might legitimately ask? Apart from Cocoon, well there are several. Firstly the Space Shuttle. NASA has taken Aerogels to the next level beyond what was previously imagined, and uncovered a world of possibilities for this versatile material. It’s all about heat transfer or lack of. In other words, insulation.

According to Tori Woods, SGT Inc.
NASA’s Glenn Research Center Polymer-enhanced aerogels and polymer-based aerogels have numerous potential applications, both in space, on distant planets and on our own Earth. They are light, durable and extremely effective at insulating and preventing heat transfer.

Aerogels are among the lightest solid materials known to man and are created by removing moisture from a gel while maintaining the gel structure. The resulting material provides very effective insulation.

 NASA uses Aspen Aerogels’ product for cryogenic applications such as launch vehicles, space shuttle applications, life support equipment, and rocket engine test stands, there is an array of commercial industrial applications including pipe insulation, building and construction, appliances and refrigeration equipment, trucks and automobiles, as well as consumer applications, such as personal apparel. Most recently, the NASA-derived Aerogel has been applied to protect and insulate people’s hands and feet, the applications are endless.

Which brings us back to Cocoon, our 1985 comedy horror movie from Ron Howard which had that batch of aliens from the planet Antarea visit earth and set up home in a swimming pool in their cocoons.

The pool offered earthlings the gift of re-energy and life. If your Thermal Cocoon is breached, you may well find alien species growing in your house. And, if that is the case, who you gonna call? Ghostbusters or Enviroform Solutions?

For a Free Consultation call now: 44 (0)28 4177 3314


Two Years On The Duncairn Centre Inspires

A heritage insulation retrofit case study Enviroform Solutions was proud to be the Insulation partner in a project to create one of Ireland’s most interesting new concert and arts venues, the Duncairn Centre in North Belfast. The refurbished centre is constantly delighting concertgoers with its comfort and quality. That is due in no small part to Enviroform Solutions innovative use of Spaceloft Aerogel insulation which is sympathetic to the unique requirements of this beautiful building.

Heritage Insulation Retrofit

Two years since it first opened its doors, the Duncairn Centre in North Belfast is still flourishing and inspiring. A stunning concert and Arts venue located on the Antrim Road, the Duncairn Centre for Culture and Arts is North Belfast’s first purpose built Arts and Culture shared space venue. A beautiful building with a distinguished heritage, insulation retrofit was the only way to upgrade the building without compromise.

Aerogel offered the only option in this project to maximise the energy efficiency without compromising the fabric.

This autumn it has featured a series of exciting concerts featuring the likes of Donal Lunny, Eddie Reader, Michael McGoldrick, Seamus Begley, Steve Cooney and Trevor Hutchinson. An concertgoers are constantly impressed by the quality and comfort in the refurbished former church.

Heritage Building with Aerogel Insulation

Heritage insulation retrofit by Enviroform Insulations. Spaceloft Aerogel Insulation and Duncairn Arts CentreThe building is listed Grade B+ by the NIEA due to its historic value as part of a unique complex owned by the Presbyterian Church and also due to its architectural merit as a fine example of de
corated Gothic style.

Doherty Architects, were commissioned to convert the disused church to a cultural centre. And due to the unique requirements of such a heritage property Enviroform Solutions were commissione to provide the insulation solution. Aerogel offered the only option in this project to maximise the energy efficiency without compromising the fabric.

“Our solution provided the highest thermal performance, taking up the least space because of the coping restriction which existed on the roof. In addition consideration had to be given to what we were doing would not affect the structure in anyway i.e. increasing the chances of dry or wet rot by condensation.”

“We did this by carrying out a WUFI assessment which looks at a number of factors like weather, orientation and comes up with a conclusion. It this case it reported that by installing Spaceloft Aerogel with certain intelligent vapour barriers then there was no risk.”

“The message is that Spaceloft Aerogel has a real benefit within the Heritage Sector adding real energy performance without risking the fabric of the building.”

The new £3.5million venue is a world-class facility consisting of 3 art studios, exhibition area, community meeting room, 170 capacity theatre/performance and rehearsal space, café/bistro and conference rooms. The Centre provides a platform for local and international artists to showcase their work as well as give the local community access to an arts and cultural programme of the highest quality. The project received a commendation in the Royal Society of Ulster Architects Awards in 2014.