Welcome to our webinar, Net Zero Carbon: Building Fabric and Technology. This webinar is followed by a Live Zoom Q&A session, hosted by our Managing Director, Keira Proctor with Rosanna Lawn and our team of Technical experts.
The webinar covers the following topics:
- Net Zero Carbon Strategies
- Building Fabric Beyond Passive
- Smart Homes and Smart Grids
- Design & Technology Collaboration
- Advanced Offsite Construction
Good morning and welcome to today’s webinar. My name’s Keira Proctor, managing director of the A. Proctor Group, and this our 6th webinar of 2021. If you’ve missed any of our series, you can go back and review them all through our learning hub at www.proctorgroup.com or right here on our YouTube channel.At our learning hub you can also book in for a follow up appointment with our team of experts, or request product samples and information packs.
Today we have another special guest presentation, this time from Rosanna Lawn, Global Brand & Strategic Partnerships Director for Project Etopia, who’ll be discussing their collaborative approach to delivering a net zero carbon, system-based approach to the built environment.
We’ll than take a look at how we at the A. Proctor Group are working with our customer base from the design stage to on-site to integrate high performance fabric technologies into both new and existing designs.
Finally, we’ll finish up with our usual Q&A session where I’ll be joined by RosannaLawn alongside our team of in house experts. So let now pass over to Rosanna to start today’s webinar.
Many thanks to Rosanna for her presentation.
The need for all parts of the design process to intersect smoothly and efficiently isa theme we’ve covered in our webinars before. As material manufacturers, we arein a somewhat unique position of having to interact and manage relationships across the entire industry, from regulators and certification bodies right through to installers and end users.
While managing these relationships has always been important, throughout lockdowns and restrictions it’s been more important than ever to ensure thing happens as they’re supposed to and remedial action is minimised.A key element of managing this process effectively is the principle of design for manufacturing and assembly, or DfMA.
Moving forward, developing a more resilient supply chain while still meeting increasing demands for higher quality housing makes the adoption of these strategies more important than ever. Without good communication throughout the various phases of the design and build process however, it can be difficult to maximise the benefits of this approach. As manufacturers, we are well positioned to help develop these principles by supporting key stakeholders in each phase. In some respects, the more widespread adoption of remote working has actually help here, as most of the industry is now more readily able to “drop in” to the process when needed without incurring delays.DfMA
So how can we make this all happen.
The key idea behind designing for manufacturing and assembly is simplicity, and minimising the potential failure points. This can be applied equally to process conducted both on and offsite. There are five main areas we focus on to achieve this.
Firstly, minimising the amount of components and systems used in a design. This simplifies not only the assembly process and the training required for installers, but also reduces complexity in the supply chains.
Following from this is ease of fabrication, where simple steps like replacing mechanical fixing with adhesive bonding where appropriate can speed up and streamline some processes. Careful consideration of how installation tasks are divided between on and offsite is also important here. For example, modifying a design to shift weather dependent or repetitive process onto on offsite indoor assembly line can reduce weather related delays and lost working time.
This can be extended to consider the required tolerance of a process, and again these processes can be shifted offsite if possible, to facilitate an easier fitting process with less scope for poorly fitting components to cause delays.
The composition of the component parts can also be adjusted if needed, such as reducing the need to fit flexible components like gaskets and seals onsite, where there is greater scope for adverse conditions to affect installation.
Taken together these considerations should reduce the need to make ad hoc adjustments on site, where even intended tweak to a configuration could cause unforeseen issues. With current requirements to socially distance on site, and restricted availability of both people and materials, designing out unforeseen changes as soon as possible is more important than ever.
Moving forward, this approach may not be as necessary simply to get things done,but the advantages of a tightly integrated design and construction process as regards on time and on budget delivery are clear.Reducing the scope for error and enabling closer manufacturing tolerances also plays an important role in moving towards net-zero by closing the gap between the digital design predictions and method statements and the final physical processes.
Tighter tolerances and improvements in the reliability of the fabric envelope performance also ensure HVAC system efficiency can be optimised.MODULAR SYSTEMS
The most evolved form of construction based on these principles are volumetric systems, where mostly complete pods are manufactured offsite then shipped to site and assembled into the final building configuration.
These pods are constructed in a factory environment from repeating identical components. From the studs and runners used to assemble panels, to the walls, ceiling and floor assemblies created from these panels, the number of unique parts required to create these is minimised.Our Wraptite self-adhesive air barrier membrane compliments this type of system well, as it can be integrated into the design in almost any location to provide an airtight seal without compromising the movement of moisture vapour.
It can be adhered to individual panels which are then sealed at the joints using the functionally identical Wraptite sealing tape or can be used to wrap larger assemblies in a robust airtight layer.By moving this layer to the outside of the structural panel, all building services within each module can then be factory fitted with the requirement to provide individual airtight seals and gaskets reduced and the requirement to fit then on site more or less eliminated.
This robust fully adhered membrane protects the pods during transportation, and is more resistant to damage, which can reduce or eliminate the need to use additional single use plastics during transportation. The airtight layer also wraps each pod to form an efficient, vapour permeable “bubble” meaning the subsequent assembly of the modules onsite can also be simplified.
Seals at expansion joints and between modules are made using the same tapes and membranes as those used in the factory, reducing the need to source a variety of different specifications of component.
The reduce air leakage rates can reduce the thickness of insulation panels required, reducing the thickness of components across the entire façade assemblyfrom mounting brackets to window flashings. The use of site applied seals such asEPDM can also be reduced.DISTRICT 10
Another type of volumetric approach was taken on the District 10 project in Dundee, Scotland, where steel shipping containers were upcycled into an office development.
The steel containers were lined with timber framing and our spacetherm aerogel insulation used to limit cold bridging. Careful hygrothermal analysis was also undertaken to ensure condensation risks were mitigated with the impermeable steel shells.
These container pods were the assembled into the finished structure, with each container pod forming a fully self-contained office aimed at start-up businesses in the city.
In both these types of construction, managing the balance of physical properties and hygrothermal effects is key to realising the full potential of these systems, and in turn to maxising progress towards net-zero carbon.COLLABORATIONS
Gaining the full benefit however, requires all parties involved to know what effect each step of the process has on the other, and helping distribute this knowledge is where we as product manufacturers can play an important role.Of the many shifts and changes the industry has witnessed over the past year, oneof the few positive changes has been the increased adoption of various tools to facilitate online collaboration between all parts of the industry, not just individual design teams.
While this has been by necessity, it has undoubtedly made it easier to get everyone involved in a process “round the table” to discuss and resolve issues more quickly. The ability of various parties to drop in to design discussions and review details at comparatively short notice helps reduce delays.Equally being able to conduct virtual training with site operatives based on up to the minute design strategies discussed with specification teams on the same day ensures everyone shares an understanding of what is required of them.As a company we’ve been conducting online CPD and toolbox talks with specifiersand contractors since the first lockdown began a year ago, and going forward we anticipate this becoming an integral part of our workflow.
The experience we’ve gained allows this communication between ourselves, and specifiers and installers of our products to happen seamlessly and, by construction industry standards, almost instantly.In this example here, by dropping into the design team meetings, we were able to reconfigure the location of the air barrier layer from a traditional internal vapour control layer-based system to an external air barrier.
This not only simplified the internal fit out, but allowed the use of a lower design air leakage rate, in turn allowing the thickness of the external insulation layers to be reduced. because the air barrier is vapour permeable, it was able to be positioned between the internal and external insulation layers without compromising the hygrothermal performance and trapping moisture.
We could then confirm the suitability of this configuration via dynamic moisture assessment of the assembly, showing no risk of condensation occurring, even, in this specific case, without the use of a dedicated vapour control layer.
After being able to quickly discuss the design stage effects with the architects, wewere then able to follow this up with the cladding contractors, confirming that thebracket and support frame dimensions, and widow flashing specification could be reduced, bringing down the overall wall thickness.In addition, we were also able to advise on upgrading the reveal insulation using our Spacetherm Slentex A2 system, reducing the cold bridging effect around the window reveal and further improving the efficiency of the envelope, offsetting the cost of this upgrade against savings across the entire façade system.
Even just considering this one small area, the ability to rapidly discuss and evaluate multiple options brought about a thinner and higher performance thermal envelope, with a reduction in cost. Developing this approach across the entirety of the building design process is going to be a key element in reaching net-zero.
Going forward it’s also an approach we as a company intend to continue and develop even as life and work returns to “normal”.