ETICS. EIFS. EWI. External Thermal Composite systems… It goes by many names, but what exactly is External Wall Insulation?
In a nutshell, it is an insulated wall cladding that provides a building with a blanket of continuous insulation around the exterior of the building. It works to protect the exterior of the building against cold or hot temperatures promoting a comfortable temperature inside the building. EIFS can be used on new build as well as on existing buildings and is an effective and decorative way of renovating and improving the energy efficiency of existing buildings.
With over 35 years as a leading producer of environmentally friendly finishing materials, Terraco pioneers innovative solutions aimed at reducing a building’s impact on the environment. Terraco EIFS (Exterior Insulation Finishing Systems), also referred to as ETICS or EWI in the industry, envelops the building, promoting a comfortable indoor climate while reducing the need for heating and cooling, lowering energy bills and saving on harmful greenhouse emissions.
What is a U-Value?
- A U-value is a measure of heat loss in a building element such as a wall, floor or roof.
- It can also be referred to as an ‘overall heat transfer co-efficient’ and measures how well parts of a building transfer heat.
- The higher the U-value the worse the thermal performance of the building envelope.
- A low U-value usually indicates high levels of insulation.
- U-values are a useful way of predicting how well insulated a building is and how it will behave in different climate conditions.
Why use a U-Value?
- U-values are important because they form the basis of any energy or carbon reduction standard.
- In practice, nearly every external building element has to comply with thermal standards that are expressed as a maximum U-value.
- Knowledge of how to simply calculate U-values at an early stage in the design process, avoids expensive re-working later on in a project.
THE BASIC COMPONENTS TO EIFS:
Advantages of EIFS/External Thermal Insulation Composite Systems
- Breathability can be engineered into an EIFS system by proper choice of finish/insulation.
- Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) based systems have good breathability which can be further enhanced using a vented base profile and a sub-insulation cavity.
- Mineral wool (MW) is a breathable insulation which when used with silicone/mineral based finishes produces an EIFS system with excellent breathability suitable for old structures without a DPC.
- Interior insulation seals the inner wall and does not allow internally generated humidity to escape through the wall thereby leading to high levels of humidity and hence condensation.
- Buildings are in general valued according to their interior floor space.
- Interior insulation systems typically reduce internal floor space by approximately 6%.
- Exterior Insulation systems have no effect on the interior space thereby increasing the property valuation by an equivalent amount.
- External Wall Insulation (EWI) has the design flexibility to fit any u-value requirements and is commonly used for Passive Construction with u-values down to <0.1: U-value range 0.1 – 0.35
- Interior insulation is normally limited to 70-80mm as reducing floor space is a serious consideration: U-value range 0.35 – 0.45
- Cavity wall insulation is limited to the dimensions of the cavity which is normally 50-70mm: U-value range 0.45 – 0.6
Thermal Mass Utilisation
- With an exterior insulation system all energy used to heat or cool the inner space is used and stored in the wall mass of the structure.
- It uses the mass of the structure as a storage heater/cooler.
- The stored energy radiates back into the structure to help maintain the desired temperature.
- Interior insulation does not have this effect leading to more temperature swings in the building.
Convenience in Use
- Exterior Insulation renovation projects can be done while the building is in use.
- With interior insulation there is substantial disruption to interiors. In most cases the property needs to be vacated when such works are in progress.
- Exterior insulation is a 3-in-1 construction system: Insulation; Plastering/levelling; and Decoration
- Interior insulation and Cavity Insulation only insulates.
- Exterior Insulation therefore does more for your money.
SUMMARY – WHY TERRACO EIFS?
EIFS substantially reduces the requirements of heating and cooling in a building, therefore it can reduce the related energy consumption by up to 50%.
- Terraco EIFS is the only system in South Africa, to carry international certifications, namely the EOTA ETAG 004 EU standard/ BBA Agrement Certification UK/ FED Specification US Army
- Drastically reduces the CO2 emissions related to that building.
- Works towards cutting carbon emissions
- Tremendous ecological benefits, improves comfort and gives substantial cost savings.
- Offers numerous benefits over other insulation methods including: most versatile solution, thermally beneficial, seamless insulation coverage, space saving as well as aesthetically pleasing.
- The products are water-based and environmentally friendly, low in VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds), durable and efficient in use.
- Allows for cost effective external wall architectural detailing.
About Terraco SA
Terraco EIFS is the only system in South Africa to carry all the full international quality certifications and approval – EOTA (European Technical Approval), BBA (British Agreement), the US FED Specification Certification, as well as the certification from Ireland, Russia, Turkey, China, Korea and the UAE.
Terraco’s mission is to be the leading producer of environmentally friendly finishing materials for the construction industry. Their core values are Innovation, Excellence and Life – these watchwords drive the whole organization from the employees to the products.
Since the company’s founding in 1980, Terraco products have been formulated to perform, promote health, ensure comfort and improve energy efficiency. Combining outstanding performance with minimal environmental impact, Terraco products provide a sophisticated and sustainable finish to any building.
Terraco Group currently own 18 factories worldwide and employ just over 1200 employees globally. The Terraco brand has been represented in the South African market by a distributor, for the last seven years. Terraco SA is a subsidiary of the Terraco Group and is currently an import/export trading company only and has been trading independently for almost two years.
“There is a big drive towards green building, energy efficiency and sustainable building methods in South Africa, which are some of the key areas we specialise in – specifically our EIFS/ETICS/EWI system,” explains Terraco SA Managing Director, Phill Ferreira, noting that the global trend towards ready-mix skimming and surface preparation products has been a great boost to their acrylic readymix jointing, skimming and filling compounds.
To date the company has been very selective in the projects in which they have been involved. “We have targeted those clients who already know Terraco, and who know the EIFS system,” says Ferreira. Although their client list is constantly growing and evolving, they have already worked with a number of top South African architectural practices, including Paragon, Boogertman and Partners, LYT Architects, Bentel and Associates, Architects International, Building Design Group and AMA architects.
Pictured above: One of Cape Town’s oldest and most favoured shopping centres, Blue Route Mall is still as popular today as it was when its doors ﬁrst opened in the early 1970’s. It offers customers a world-class retail experience in its 120 shops, cinemas and restaurants. Upgraded in 2010 it is now one of the largest shopping malls in the southern suburbs of the city.
The structure used insulated concrete formwork (ICF) to create the thermal insulation required to reduce energy consumption in the mall. The Terraco ICF Zenith system, consisting of Styrobond DP basecoats and reinforcing mesh and ﬁnished in various Terracoat Granule grain sizes, was applied to some 20 000m².
Insulated concrete formwork as a building system, after being popular in the USA for many years, is gaining popularity in other parts of the world, which is the case in point with the Blue Route Shopping Mall in South Africa. Similarly, Hydra Village, Abu Dhabi, UAE where over 600 multi-story homes were constructed using ICF and ﬁnished with the Terraco ICF Zenith System, making it the largest example of successful ICF construction in the United Arab Emirates, and possibly the Middle East. These Terraco EIFS systems provide an excellent ROI and typically pay for themselves within 5 years.