Bournville - Birmingham

A family living near the conservation area of Bournville in Birmingham took advantage of a government-funded Green Homes Grant to install external wall insulation (EWI) at their 1930s home.

Green Homes Grant funds Bournville house improvements

Applications for the grant closed in March 2021, but the voucher could still be used for home improvements until October 2021. Under the grant, which covers up to two-thirds of the cost of improvements, works are split into primary and secondary measures. The voucher must be used to install at least one primary measure - insulation or low carbon heat – and once this has been installed and the voucher redeemed, homeowners can then claim for secondary measures.

The family’s semi-detached house is built of solid brick which is a type of construction that makes homes difficult to heat and therefore eligible for the funding. The homeowner approached Six Star Group, a local registered TrustMark contractor, to do the work.

“The owners have a young family and intend to stay in the house for many years to come, so decided to upgrade the house to make it much more thermally efficient,” explains Nathalie Rush, managing director of Six Star Group. “Homes of this type of construction have solid brick walls with no cavity in which to add insulation and are therefore very inefficient with U-values of around 2.1W/m²K. We wanted to help them improve this and bring the house up to the standards of a newly built home.”

Six Star Group recommended using an EWI system to improve the thermal efficiency of the property. Around 33% of heatloss can be through uninsulated solid walls so adding EWI can significantly lower heating bills and carbon emissions, as well as helping to reduce noise pollution.

As the home is located at the edge of the conservation town of Bournville, the planning department required the family to upgrade the home using bricks on the front and side elevations to maintain a consistent appearance with other properties on the road. Use of render was permitted only at the rear of the property.

Six Star was familiar with Weber’s products and wanted to utilise one of its newest products, weberwall brick, to create a realistic brick effect finish for the webertherm XM EWI system in line with the planning requirements.

As an alternative to traditional brick slip systems, weberwall brick can be used across a range of different applications and substrates. It provides a fast and efficient method of achieving a realistic brick appearance, but without the time and cost associated with the application of brick slips.

Each weberwall brick wrap comes with 20 brick faces and is equal to the weight of one house brick. It is available in 12 colours and comes in three different designs to accommodate common design requirements - wall wrap, corner wrap and solider wrap – to minimise the need for cutting.

For the Bournville property, a combination of Antique Red brick with Cotswold pointing mortar was the best match with the existing brick on the property.

The upgrade has given the home a U-value of 0.3 W/m²K bringing it in line with modern building standards. Now the home is thermally efficient, the family will be able to dramatically reduce their heating costs and carbon emissions.

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