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Last edited 17 May 2015

Icynene spray foam insulation

Traditional stone buildings make up a large proportion of the UK’s building stock, and so it is important to focus on improving the energy efficiency of these buildings. The challenge is to make improvements that do not alter the external appearance or compromise valuable period features.

Icynene spray foam insulation was identified as the most suitable product for the traditional market. Its unique open cell and vapour permeable nature ensures no build-up of moisture. An added benefit is that this smart, environmentally responsible alternative to standard chemically-based products is water-blown and contains no HFCs or CFCs.

The initial trial involved one room of a large house. Skirting boards were removed intact to ensure the void between the lath and plaster linings and the solid stone masonry wall was clear of debris. Subsequently, 10mm pipes were inserted into the void from the attic space above and the insulation was injected down the pipes to fill the void. The delivery of the insulation was measured and distributed evenly over the area of the wall. Careful attention was paid to ensuring that no pressure was exerted on the lath and plaster lining to avoid causing any damage.

Separate research which involved monitoring and simulating alternative solutions further improved the process, after which, insulation was successfully installed throughout the entire property.

Acknowledgement to all academics and industrial partners: Mr and Mrs Gibbon-Wood – the owners of the building, Dr M. Abdel-Wahab, Dr A. Owen, Dr N. Turner, C. Levi, D. Chouman, D. Herrera, J. Hood, S. Faulkner-Lee, G. Sheridan, and R. Gilmore.


This innovation was winner of the Highly Commended award, Innovation Achiever's Award, in the 2014 CIOB International Innovation & Research Award.

The judges said, "The innovation shows a non-intrusive method of improving insulation in historic buildings where interior walls are in a delicate condition. The judging panel was attracted to the idea of applying an existing insulation material by means of a new method of application. The innovation is made all the more convincing as a result of the thought given to the skills development required for replicating this method across the sector.”

--User:CIOB