Switching from brick and block to timber frame panels offers numerous benefits. With pre-engineered timber frame panels, construction becomes faster, requiring less time and fewer skilled trades. Sustainability targets are easier to achieve, with panel designs tailored to specific carbon targets. The use of timber panels contributes to lower embodied energy and carbon sequestration.
Four-season construction becomes feasible with closed panel systems, reducing weather dependency. Additionally, savings can be found in foundation strength, heating efficiency, and reduced construction waste. Embracing timber frames brings environmental benefits by reducing carbon emissions through a combination of energy sources.
Heat Moisture & Air Movement
Engineered with precision to surpass Building Regulations, closed timber panel construction offers predictable performance by effectively addressing the movement of heat, moisture, and air within a building. Understanding the principles of conduction, convection, and radiation enables timber panels to overcome environmental and structural challenges found in other construction methods.
By considering temperature differentials, surface area, air leakage, and thermal resistance, heat loss can be minimized. Additionally, proper insulation placement, moisture control through vapor barriers, and addressing air movement caused by wind ensure a well-regulated and efficient building envelope.
Ventilation & Heat Recovery
Timber engineered panels offer a range of advantages, but understanding their behavior and design is crucial. Thermal resistance is important, with insulation playing a key role in achieving lower U-Values for better insulation. Thermal bridges can lead to condensation, so continuous insulation and thermal breaks are essential.
Dewpoint and vapour diffusion need to be managed to prevent moisture issues within walls, requiring the installation of vapour barriers on the inside.
Air barriers, often known as “vapour permeable air barriers,” allow moisture to escape while preventing air movement. Factory engineered timber panels also prevent wind washing and ensure high-quality insulation installation.
Uncontrolled air leakage in traditional British housing contributes to significant heat loss, resulting in high energy bills and compromised long-term performance. To address this, reducing air leakage is crucial, achieved through better windows, improved sealing around wall penetrations, and advanced wall construction methods like factory pre-engineered closed timber frame panels. Air leakage can be measured through blower door tests, with lower rates recommended for optimal energy efficiency.
By minimizing air leakage, energy is saved, outside noise is reduced, and proper ventilation, including mechanical ventilation with heat recovery (MVHR), ensures a healthy indoor environment with lower humidity and improved energy performance.
Air tightness is a crucial factor in determining the energy performance of a house, as recognized by low-energy and low-carbon schemes like PassivHaus and Energy Star. Air leakage tests, conducted using a blower door, are becoming mandatory in many countries. A blower door consists of a calibrated fan, a pressure measurement instrument, and a mounting unit connected to a computer.
By creating negative pressure, the fan exhausts air from the building, revealing the level of air leakage. Measurements are typically expressed as Air Changes per Hour (ACH), with targets ranging from 0.6 ACH to 3.0 ACH. Air tightness testing ensures energy efficiency and identifies potential leaks or quality issues in construction.