Thermal Comfort | Can natural slate help improve energy efficiency?

Thermal Comfort | Can natural slate help improve energy efficiency?

Julian Gomez, Director of Marketing at Cupa Pizarras, highlights how natural slate can improve a project’s thermal comfort and efficiency.

Natural slate is a popular roofing choice for new-builds as a sustainable material with very little environmental impact. It is also extremely weather resistant, non-combustible and requires little to no maintenance with a life span of up to 100 years. However, natural slate can also be used in a number of other innovative ways, to provide further benefits to a new build’s thermal performance and energy efficiency, reducing household bills and environmental impact.

Good insulation on any dwelling is always key to avoiding a loss of temperature in winter and equally keeping a building cool throughout the summer. One of the most effective insulation solutions for building envelopes is a ventilated façade. These combine a rainscreen cladding system with external insulation to provide both acoustic and thermal protection, as well as eliminating thermal bridges and condensation problems.

Selecting a natural slate cladding façade not only provides effective insulation but it is also light weight and easy to install with all the sustainability benefits of using a natural product. Cupaclad natural slate rainscreen cladding has been developed to adapt to any kind of project and is compatible with all insulation materials. The outer layer of slate acts as a natural barrier, ensuring total protection against weather and it generates constant air ventilation through the rear of the panel to prevent against the accumulation of moisture. In addition, the combination of external wall insulation and a ventilated cavity generates significant energy savings while increasing overall thermal comfort.

Natural slate.
Thermoslate can help reduce fuel bills.

Solar collector
Another advantage to natural slate is that it has solar absorption and diffusion properties allowing it to store and, if correctly utilised, provide thermal power to a new build. Due to the dark colour of natural slate, the sun raises the temperature of the product to several degrees above air temperature to create a natural heat source.

Natural slate solar collectors are a great way to take advantage of this wasted energy. The slate collectors absorb the sun’s radiation, converting it into heat energy and conducting that energy to a heat transfer fluid which can then be used to warm a property’s water. By installing solar collectors, heat that is usually trapped within the roof slates can be used to provide heating for the property, hot water or even to heat an onsite swimming pool.

Natural slate
Cupaclad natural slate rainscreen cladding.

Hot water
Studies have shown that slate solar collectors can generate nearly two thirds of a household’s hot water requirement, so it has the feasibility to significantly reduce fuel bills. One monitored project, using our Thermoslate generated 76% of a family’s heating and hot water requirements, achieving an annual saving of 580 litres of fuel oil and preventing the emission of 1.5 tonnes of CO2, helping the family and the environment.

Choosing a natural slate solar collection product or façade can not only add to the look of a new build property, but with no maintenance required and the ability to cut long-term fuel costs and improve insulation, natural slate is an ideal product for property developers looking to create efficient, comfortable and attractive housing.

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