There are seven million homes in the UK that could benefit from internal wall insulation - two million in London alone. Up to 40% of the heat loss in these homes is through the external walls and, in many cases, planning restrictions mean that internal wall insulation is the only realistic option.
Our patented WHISCERS™ process has already been used in hundreds of properties, including multiple single dwellings and 104 flats in two tower blocks in Dorking, Surrey, where the project finished six weeks ahead of schedule.
WHISCERS™ is a win-win solution for transforming hard-to-treat properties into easy-to-heat homes. It’s cheaper and quicker to install, and it’s a much more controlled process. It makes homes warmer and more energy-efficient, helps tackle fuel poverty among residents and reduces carbon emissions.
How WHISCERS™ works
WHISCERS™ uses laser scanning to measure the dimensions of a room and combines this technology with cutting the insulation board off-site and very quick installation. It’s a low-mess process that’s faster and much less disruptive than traditional internal wall insulation methods so residents can continue to live in their homes during the refurbishment works, thereby saving on expensive relocation and decant costs.
WHISCERS™ is a three-part process:
- Survey. A Surveyor visits the property and checks for issues such as the existence of asbestos or damp penetration, what fittings need to be removed (eg radiators) and what services require moving (eg electrical sockets). An easy-to-use laser scanner enables the Surveyor to measure the internal dimensions of the room(s). The scanning can deal with walls which are not plumb, wonky ceilings or other common anomalies that often occur in older properties. This process takes between 60 and 90 minutes for a typical three-bedroom house. Sophisticated software then converts the room measurements into the required insulation board sizes, and the resulting digital data is downloaded to a factory-based, off-site cutting machine.
- Cutting. Using special software, the machine cuts the insulation boards to match the walls perfectly and optimises the process to minimise wastage. As the waste is not created on site, there’s no prospect of contamination and any waste product can be returned to the manufacturer for recycling. It's also possible to specify maximum size requirements for the cut boards. This minimises the chance of the boards being damaged when they’re delivered to the site, and can be particularly useful when access to a property is limited. Before dispatch, the boards are marked with their address, room, wall position and orientation.
- Fitting. The boards are delivered to the site as a kit. Trained, multi-skilled installers deal with any floor coverings and fittings before fitting the boards to the walls and finishing with a plaster skim, leaving the walls ready for decorating. All this is done with the minimum of noise, mess and disruption.
Not only is WHISCERS™ faster, better and more cost-effective than traditional insulating methods, it’s installed with less mess, little noise and minimal disruption. A room can be insulated in under 90 minutes.
Most homes (provided they’re not listed buildings) don’t require planning permission to have internal solid wall insulation installed. However, they do have to comply with Building Regulations and the installation must be signed off by a Building Control Officer.
WHISCERS™ uses an insulation/plasterboard laminate. On a solid brick wall, this can achieve a U-value of 0.28w/m2K, which complies with the 0.3w/m2K specified in Part L of the Building Regulations.
The cost of WHISCERS™
It’s always difficult to estimate the costs of installing solid wall insulation as it differs from house to house. It might cost less than you expect to insulate using WHISCERS™ but it will depend on:
- Size of the house. A terraced home will have fewer walls that need insulating while a detached will have more.
- Size of the rooms. Although the cost of the labour might not increase much with larger rooms, the costs of the materials will.
- Fixtures and fittings. Any fixtures and fittings that abut the walls that need to be treated will have to be removed, renovated, repositioned or replaced.
The benefits of WHISCERS™
- Resident convenience. WHISCERS™ is a quick process that minimises mess, noise and disruption, so residents can remain at home and get on with their lives with minimal inconvenience.
- No decant. Installation with the residents in-situ avoids the need to decant, saving thousands of pounds in hotel and relocation costs. It also allows the work to be done without waiting for voids.
- Reduced costs. Typically, WHISCERS™ is 25% cheaper than traditional internal insulation and 40% cheaper than external wall insulation.
- Energy savings and tackling fuel poverty. In most homes, the installation of WHISCERS™ saves 30-40% on heating bills. What’s more, residents notice that their homes feel warm and comfy, are free from annoying draughts and retain heat better than previously.
- Speed and accuracy of room surveys. Laser scanning provides far greater accuracy, to a tolerance of 5mm. The dimensions of a typical externally-facing wall can be collated in 10 minutes, as opposed to over 30.
- Automated, off-site cutting. Factory cutting provides a much more accurate and controlled process, avoiding hassle and re-working, as well as reducing mess and costs.
- Quick fitting. The boards arrive on site and can generally be fitted in one hour or less per room. This results in lower installation costs and less tenant disruption.
- No dangerous equipment on site. Usually, only an electric screwdriver and some plastering tools are all that’s needed, so the work can take place with the residents in-situ.
- Less waste. Typically, waste from board cutting is over 10% but with WHISCERS™ it’s less than 6%. Any remainder material is uncontaminated and can be easily recycled.
- Good vapour-resistant sealing. Operator training and registration ensure good sealing. Tests have shown that interstitial condensation is not a problem, and no moisture or other difficulties have occurred in hotter or colder climates.
- Helps protect landlords’ rents. Tenants who pay less for their energy are more likely to avoid rent arrears.
WHISCERS™ is a revolutionary process. Training is simple but thorough. Quality control is paramount so, in addition to the skills needed for conventional dry-lining or traditional internal insulation, all those on site are required to complete a course to understand the principles of moisture control, good board alignment and air sealing.
For further details about training to become a WHISCERS™ installer, please contact us on 01908 354536 or by email.
WHISCERS™ is protected by patent. The system is owned by the National Energy Foundation and is installed under licence. Licences are available across the UK for both social housing providers and contractors.
- Social housing providers. We can provide social housing providers with licences to cover their own housing stock, enabling them to use their own Direct Labour Organisation to complete the work.
- Contractors. Licences are available - but only a limited number. Please contact us to discuss your requirements.
For further details about WHISCERS™ licensing and the options available, please contact us on 01908 354536 or by email.
We previously worked alongside United House who put together a useful video demonstrating the WHISCERS process.
WHISCERS™ wins the Ashden 2013 Gold Award
In June 2013, WHISCERS™ won the coveted Ashden Gold Award. The Ashden judges commended WHISCERS™ for being a revolutionary low-mess, low-cost insulation process which can insulate homes in a matter of hours, reducing fuel bills by up to 40%. Gabby Mallett, Project Director, commented: "Being chosen to win an Ashen Award is an honour, but to then be awarded the Gold award was truly unexpected and such a great tribute to this innovative process."
27% of Carbon emissions come from our homes, 40% of a home’s energy is lost through un-insulated walls. If we are genuinely planning to reduce UK emissions by 80% by 2050 then we need to install solid wall insulation. WHISCERS™ makes this possible in an easier, cheaper and faster way than ever before."
John Doggart, Chairman of the Sustainable Energy Academy, also commented: "To win one Ashden Award in 2009 was a great achievement for a small and relatively new charity. To win a second just four years later really is the icing on the cake. I can’t thank the Ashden team enough: their support has truly been invaluable."
The photo above shows: Chris Cheshire, Business Leader: Innovation, United House; Gabby Mallett, Director of Households and Communities, National Energy Foundation; John Wright, WHISCERS™ Project Surveyor, United House; John Doggart, Chairman, Sustainable Energy Academy.