Setting the standard

A new national code of practice on energy efficiency home renovations that will affect electricians was launched at the Energy Show, held recently in the RDS, Dublin.

The combined effort of NSAI, SEAI, Department of Environment, Community and Local Government and the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, SR 54 Code of Practice is a free technical guide for all contractors involved in home renovations. It is now a requirement when tendering for state retrofit schemes, such as local authority upgrades or SEAI’s Better Energy Homes. With over €800million worth of renovations carried out in over 35,000 homes in Ireland since 2013, NSAI (National Standard Authority of Ireland) wants to make sure that all contractors aren’t just aware of the document but that they use it, so that best practice is followed in all construction projects.
With so many low-energy retrofit measures new to the market, the technical guide was developed to provide guidance to contractors including architects, engineers and insulation installers. According to NSAI, the main purpose of the standard is to provide technical guidance on the design and installation of retrofit measures to improve energy efficiency while:

– Maintaining the fire safety performance of dwellings
– Ensuring structural integrity and acoustic performance
– Maintaining healthy internal environments
– Controlling the movement of moisture.

The standard very much focuses on the transfer/movement of heat, moisture and air through the dwelling and their relationship with the occupants. The control and management of these factors is essential in order to achieve adequate occupant comfort, good overall energy performance and to prevent building problems.

Chief Executive of NSAI, Maurice Buckley hopes the standard soon becomes the rule for anyone involved in the retrofit renovation of homes. “It’s difficult for any contractor to be an expert in all of the complex areas of retrofit renovations, as well as to be able to recognise all the pitfalls,” said Maurice. “Developed with the Irish climate in mind, SR 54 Code of Practice acts as a checklist, providing technical best practice guidance on how each stage of the renovation should be completed, as well as highlighting potential obstacles to avoid.”

“For example, modern external insulation systems can save the home-owner thousands of Euros in heating bills, as well as painting and decorating. The SR 54 Code of Practice has detailed advice and considerations, with helpful diagrams to assist the contractor when carrying out such work.

Architect, Bill Scott specialises in design and construction for low energy. He is one of the first practitioners in the country to use the standard and finds that the SR 54 Code of Practice provides great assistance and is very easy to use. “It’s essential that all practitioners have a best-practice technical guide to refer to, especially if engaged in an area of work that’s new or unfamiliar to them,” he said. “Relying on intuition is unacceptable when it comes to the serious task of renovating a person’s home. SR 54 Code of Practice is a very comprehensive document, with case study examples, illustrations and, most importantly, a checklist of solid facts as to what you should do and what to look out for.”
NSAI (National Standards Authority of Ireland) is encouraging all designers and contractors involved in the renovation of houses to download a copy of SR 54 Code of Practice for free from its website.

T: (RoI) 01 807 3800 or (NI) 00353 1 807 3800