What is airtightness and how is it used for eco-buildings?

With the UK committed to going net zero by the year 2050, all industries are going through somewhat of an evolution, assessing what new steps will need to be taken to comply with this commitment.

In the building industry, that means building environmentally friendly structures that are designed to minimise environmental impact and maximise efficiency within the building. Essentially, we need to look at how to make buildings that cool and heat themselves. Electricity wastage on heating and cooling is no longer a viable solution.

This is where airtightness comes in.

If you’re in the building and construction industry and you’ve been exploring how to adapt your services to building to environmental standards, you will have no doubt come across Passivhaus. Passivhaus is an internationally recognised, performance-based energy standard that is being voluntarily adopted by many in the construction industry.

Through the Passivhaus standard, buildings reduce their ecological footprint and deliver ultra-low energy buildings with minimal heating and cooling needs. The airtightness of the buildings is what makes them so ultra-low in their energy consumption. 

Airtightness in a nutshell

When you have air leakage in a building, the traditional solution is to control the temperature through heating or cooling. This obviously costs the building owner a big whack in electricity costs and doesn’t exactly meet any ambitions to help the environment.

Airtightness comes in to improve the efficiency of the buildings thermal insulation layer by blocking any air that could have otherwise penetrated through to the insulation layer, which would have resulted in poor performance of the insulation.

When we think of insulation, we often think of what goes in the walls, but airtightness covers everything. This includes window seals, floor to wall connections, wall to wall connections, corner re-enforcements, vertical or horizontal joints, walls, basement floors, ceilings, doors and frames – every air leaking inch of the structure. By coating the inside of the building with an airtight membrane, no vapour is able to penetrate, which gives you the power of indoor climate control.

How is airtight membrane applied?

How is airtight membrane applied?

Intelligent Membranes has our own airtight membrane in liquid form. It is applied by roller or spray to easily cover any surface. Suppose you’re working with brick, no worries. If you’re working with wooden beams, it’s all good. Airtight vapour control membrane forms a continuous, flexible, airtight seal that is 100% permanent and delivers vapour control on any construction substrates.

In a simple point and spray, you can achieve consistent coverage, guaranteed airtightness, and thermal control in your building project. The results are simply… Airtight.

What is Passive Purple and Airtight White?

Working within the Passivhaus standards, the team at Intelligent Membranes designed the world’s first fluid-applied airtight vapour control barrier, Passive Purple. Passive Purple is BBA approved, Passivhaus certified, and by far the most convenient way to build to Passivhaus standards, with airtightness achieved in a simple spray. To accommodate those who prefer a colour-free coating, we introduced the Airtight White.

Builders save time with easy application, and building owners save money with eco-friendly building standards that cut future heating and cooling costs.

Airtightness - where to find out more

For technical details on the Airtight Vapour Control Membrane, check out our product page. There you can find a range of airtight vapour products to suit your projects. And if you’re curious to see the application in action, visit our YouTube channel to binge quality eco-building vids.

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