Leonie Onslow of the Draught Proofing Advisory Association (DPAA) explains how to take a holistic approach in meeting the new and improved Building Regulations coming into force in April 2014.

An increased level of carbon saving and energy efficiency will be required for new houses and commercial buildings from April 2014 to meet Part L of the Building Regulations (Conservation of Fuel and Power). Minimum levels of fabric insulation will be a primary requirement to meet these requirements.

However, insulation of the building fabric is not the only method for saving energy and carbon emissions. A holistic approach should be taken to meet the improved regulations for new build and to bring older properties up to today’s standards.

Consideration should be given to other sources of heat loss such as the gaps around doors, windows and skirting boards. When undertaking refurbishment programmes, architects, builders, developers and other specialists should ascertain what remedial action is required to eliminate these. The draught proofing of windows and doors is compulsory in new buildings under Building Regulations, Part L, and should be a basic requirement within all retrofit energy efficiency works.

Draught proofing is one of the simplest and easiest methods of insulation and can easily be installed around doors and windows to reduce, or eliminate draughts and the loss of costly heat from the building. Relatively small gaps around the doors and windows can allow huge amounts of heat to escape from the building. For instance, a gap of just 5 mm commonly found under a domestic door, can allow 80 cubic metres of air per hour to flow out. If the building is otherwise well insulated, gaps around these openings can draw out the heat.

Good quality draught proofing products should be used, by a professional installer who has the right skills, together with their correct fitment.

The draught proofing industry is represented by the DPAA, and manufacturer members supply quality BS approved products, which are designed for endurance. Inferior products can compress over time, becoming less effective.

The Government’s Green Deal scheme allows homeowners and landlords of domestic and commercial buildings to receive loans to purchase packages of energy efficient products and services, including draught proofing, heating, controls, insulation and renewables. These need to be authorised following a Green Deal assessment to ensure the measures are the most cost effective for a property, i.e. payback within 20 years, and installed by an authorised installer. The loan, which will be repaid via energy bills, will apply to the property and not the owner, and must be declared to and passed to subsequent owners.

There is a wide range of draught proofing products available composed of diverse materials, types of strip, fixing methods and operation. Industrial draught proofing products include seals for sliding, hinged and radius tracked doors. Commercial products include seals for glass entrance doors and revolving doors. Domestic products include compression seals, which seal the gap on closing between fixed and moving parts. These are available for windows and doors, letterbox, cat flap and keyhole draught strips. Products for unusual applications can be custom-made.

Literature on draught proofing applications, and a list of draught proofing installers is readily available from the DPAA website: www.dpaa-association.org.uk.