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BBA Information Bulletin No 3

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Bulletin No 3

APPROVAL

INSPECTION

TESTING

CERTIFICATION

TECHNICAL APPROVALS FOR CONSTRUCTION

Introduction

Reflective foil insulation can be divided into products that typically

comprise two or more layers of heat reflecting foil and internal layers

of low density wadding insulation (also known as multifoils) and

products where the inner surface is bubble sheet. The first type (see

figures opposite) are soft and easily compressed by fixing battens and

can expand in between battens.

Adopting different assumptions as to a products thickness at these

points and to what extent it intrudes into adjacent air cavities can

have a small, but sometimes significant, effect on the result of a

U value calculation. For both types of product, maintaining an air

cavity on either side is preferable, as the low emissivity surface of the

outer foil will increase the thermal resistance of the cavity, contributing

towards achieving an overall lower U value for the specific

construction.

This bulletin sets out some dimensional conventions to assist in

the calculation of U values for elements incorporating reflective

insulations. In the interest of consistency and simplification, the same

conventions are applied to products with bubble sheet in the middle,

even though these products are thinner and less compressible.

The conventions in this bulletin should be used and are a requirement

for calculations carried out in accordance with the BBA/TIMSA

U value and condensation risk calculation competency scheme.

Example calculations are included in Annexes A and B of this bulletin.

Conventions

Product thickness (uncompressed)

50 Pa, to BS EN 823.

zero, unless the thickness and corresponding R value have been robustly determined

under representative installed conditions. In the absence of a recognized standard

to determine these parameters, testing the product under a pressure of 20 kPa

would be sufficient to determine the compressed thickness value.

product so the following two cases can be distinguished:

When the product is installed above and/or below rafters in a roof construction,

a ratio of 30/70 for the opening of the product is to be used accounting for

the effect of gravity (see Figure 1). For a wall construction, a 50/50 opening is

appropriate.

Cavity on one side

In a timber frame stud wall (studs fully filled with mineral wool) or in a roof (mineral

wool completely filling the rafter cavity), the product sits entirely in the plasterboard

cavity and flush with the face of the stud/joist/rafter to which it is fixed.

British Board of Agrment

Bucknalls Lane

Garston, Watford

Herts WD25 9BA

2010

Page 1 of 8

fax: 01923 665301

e-mail: mail@bba.star.co.uk

website: www.bbacerts.co.uk

Issue 1, March 2010.

The standard method of calculating air cavity resistances is that given in BS EN ISO 6946 : 2007 Building

components and building elements Thermal resistance and thermal transmittance Calculation method. In this

method the mean cavity temperature is 10C and the temperature difference across the cavity is 5 K.

Another approach is to use ISO 15099 : 2003 Thermal performance of windows, doors and shading devices

Detailed calculations which provides a detailed iterative calculation using the relevant generic formulae for convective

heat and can indicate slightly enhanced and perhaps more realistic cavity R values. It is a construction specific

calculation and the resulting cavity R value cannot be transferred to other constructions. This calculation is very complex

and requires programming by an individual with good knowledge of U value calculations and it will not be included at

this stage in the U value competency scheme developed jointly by the BBA and TIMSA. It is also now BBA policy not to

make use of this calculation method in certificates where its usefulness is limited by its construction specific nature.

All the example U value calculations in this bulletin were performed using the principles and suggested thermal

conductivity values given in BRE report (BR 443: 2006) Conventions for U-value calculations and BS EN ISO 6946:

2007. Also BS EN ISO 10456 : 2007 Building materials and products Hygrothermal properties Tabulated design

values and procedures for determining declared and design thermal values was used for obtaining typical thermal

conductivity values. To calculate the cavity air resistance, the method described in BS EN ISO 6946: 2007, Annex

B, (for T 5 K and with a mean cavity temperature of 10C) was used. The U value calculation method used in this

bulletin is illustrated in Approved Document L (2002), Appendix B Calculating U values.

Using the set of conventions presented above, detailed U value calculations are provided for a roof construction

utilising PIR or mineral wool and multifoil insulation and a timber-frame wall construction using glass wool and multifoil.

A roof construction with PIR between the rafters and reflective insulation under the rafters, one of the common

configurations used in loft refurbishment, is shown in Figure 1.

The compression of the product due to rafters pushing against the battens is also illustrated in Figure 1, and the product

can be seen draping around the batten.

The convention used in this bulletin is that 30% of the multifoil will open up in the rafter cavity and 70% will be in the

plasterboard cavity (created by the battens), taking the effect of gravity loosely into account. For example, for a 30

mm multifoil, 10 mm will be considered as bridged with the rafters and the cavity and 20 mm will be bridged with the

battens and the cavity. This is assuming that the thickness of the product, when compressed between batten and rafters,

would be zero.

Page 2 of 8

PIR

roof tiles

rafters

multifoil

plasterboard

in the rafter cavity

section through roof at 90 degrees to rafters

not to scale

rafters

battens

plasterboard

the plasterboard cavity

not to scale

Page 3 of 8

Annex A

Roof construction

The rafters are 47 mm thick by 100 mm deep at 600 mm centres, giving a timber percentage of 47/600 = 7.8 %.

Spacer battens 20 mm thick are used as well. The counter battens are 38 mm by 50 mm and at 600 mm centres,

giving a timber percentage of 38/600 = 6.3 %.

The multifoil is 30 mm thick and the outer layer emissivity of both surfaces is 0.05. The thickness of the multifoil, when

compressed between battens, is assumed to be zero.

The R values used for the U value calculation and the different layers contributing to the upper and lower resistance

limits calculation are given in Table 1.

Table 1 List of materials used in the roof construction shown in Figure 2

Layer

Material

Thickness

(mm)

Thermal conductivity

(Wm1K1)

Thermal resistance

(m2KW1)

0.10(1)

External surface

2a

Air cavity

2b

Rafter

20

0.13

0.154

3a

PIR(3)

80

0.022

3.636

3b

Rafter

80

0.13

0.615

4a

Air cavity

10

4b

Spacer battens

10

5a

Multifoil

10

5b

Spacer battens

10

0.13

0.077

6a

Counter battens

20

0.13

0.154

6b

Multifoil

20

7a

Counter battens

18

0.13

0.138

7b

Air cavity

18

Plasterboard(3)

12.5

0.21

0.059

Internal surface

0.34(2)

20

0.37

0.13

0.077

0.30

0.61

0.46

0.10

2

(1) The external surface resistance according to BS EN ISO 6946: 2007 is 0.04 m KW but in this case it can be taken as

0.10 m2KW1 since the area under the tiles is well ventilated.

(2) If the roof underlay is HR according to BS 5250: 2002, this cavity is considered ventilated. In this case the thermal

resistance of the cavity and of the external surface would be 0.17 m2KW1, as there is a low e surface of a PIR board on

one side of the cavity.

(3) Both products are foil backed with outer layer emissivity of 0.20.

The different layers in the construction, with one well-defined layer in the rafter cavity (PIR, air cavities and multifoil)

and two independent layers in the plasterboard cavity, between the timber battens, the air cavity and the multifoil, are

shown in Figure 2. There are a total of four heat flow paths in this construction.

The total thermal resistance value is calculated using the equation:

RT =

RU + RL

2

where:

RU is the upper limit resistance and RL is the lower limit resistance. The upper limit resistance is calculated by combining

in parallel the total resistance of all possible heat flow paths and the lower limit resistance by considering the heat flow

paths of each layer separately.

The U value is then determined from the equation (units in Wm2K1):

U = 1/R

T

Page 4 of 8

1

external surface

direction of

heat flow

2b

2a

3b

3a

4b

4a

5b

5a

6a/6b

7a/7b

8

internal surface

RU =

1

F1

R1

with:

F2

R2

F3

R3

F4

R4

R2 = Re + R2b + R3b + R4b +R5b + R6b + R7b + R8 + Ri

R3 = Re + R2a + R3a + R4a + R5a + R6a + R7a + R8 + Ri

R4 = Re + R2a + R3a + R4a +R5a + R6b + R7b + R8 + Ri

and:

F1 = 0.078 x 0.937 = 7.34%, F2= 0.078 x 0.063 = 0.49%, F3= 0.9217 x 0.063 = 5.81%

F4 = 0.9217 x 0.937 = 86.36%, therefore:

RU =

5.215 m2KW1

where: R2 =

1

F2b/

F2a/

R

R2b+

2a

with fractional areas of F2b = 7.8% and F2a = 92.17%. The same F values are used for R3 , R4 and R5, while F6b =

6.3% and F6a = 93.7% is used for calculating R6 and R7.

Therefore:

RL = 4.638 m2KW1

For a roof construction using mineral wool (typical thermal conductivity value of 0.032 Wm1K1) instead of PIR

between the rafters, 130 mm of insulation will be needed to achieve a U value of 0.20 Wm2K1. In that case there

will be no air cavity between the mineral wool and the multifoil.

Page 5 of 8

Annex B

Wall construction

The same method as in Annex A is used for calculating U values when using the multifoil in a timber frame wall or,

most commonly, a dwarf wall in a loft.

A stud depth of 38 mm by 140 mm at 600 mm centres was used in this example. The percentage of timber to be

used for the calculation is 15%, accounting for horizontal noggings and the effects of additional timbers at junctions

and around openings.

The product sits entirely in the plasterboard cavity as the stud cavity is completely filled with the glass wool insulation.

Figure 3 Schematic of wall construction (not to scale) showing the two possible heat flow paths

direction of heat flow

5a

5b

6a

6b

7a

7b

The values used for the U value calculation and the different layers contributing to the upper and lower resistance limits

calculation are given in Table 2.

Page 6 of 8

Thickness (mm)

Layer

Material

External surface

Brickwork

102.5

Air cavity

50

Sheathing

12

0.13

0.092

5a

Timber frame

140

0.13

1.077

5b

Glass wool

140

0.035

4.000

6a

Timber battens

30

6b

Multifoil

30

7a

Timber battens

7b

Air cavity

Plasterboard

Internal surface

0.04

0.77

0.18

0.13

0.13

R1

with:

12.5

0.25

F2

R2

F1 = 85% and F2 = 15%, as explained above.

where: R5 =

0.050

0.13

and:

0.061

0.30

1

F1

0.231

0.92

The U value calculation is carried out as before using the upper and lower limit resistance where:

Ru =

0.133

F5b/R5b+F5a/R5a

The same applies for calculating the resistances R6 and R7.

The U value for this construction is: UT = 0.23 Wm2K1.

Page 7 of 8

Bucknalls Lane

Garston, Watford

Herts WD25 9BA

2010

Page 8 of 8

fax: 01923 665301

e-mail: mail@bba.star.co.uk

website: www.bbacerts.co.uk

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