Park Homes Insulation Project
Helping mobile home residents to install insulation through grants and support
Project duration: January 2005 to September 2005
This project aimed to to help and support the residents of approximately 750 mobile homes (or park homes) in South Gloucestershire. Centred around six sites, there is currently no provision for insulating these properties under any existing grant scheme, such as Warm Front.
Sempatap is a 10mm latex foam insulating material with a durable fibreglass face, which is supplied in rolls and applied using a similar method to that of fitting wallpaper.
This study assessed the performance, cost effectiveness and carbon dioxide (CO2) savings associated with installing Sempatap in park homes and carried out community consultation to determine perceived improvements in thermal comfort.
Three demonstration events targeting park home owners were held at specific sites in South Gloucestershire in 2004. These events were designed to encourage the uptake and installation of Sempatap in 30 park homes of residents on low incomes by providing grants and support for DIY installation and providing energy efficiency advice.
The thermal efficiency of park homes was assessed using NHER software to produce SAP (Standard Assessment Procedure) ratings and thereby model energy consumption, predict fuel bills and CO2 emissions. Primary data was also collated before and after the installation of Sempatap to determine fuel cost savings, perceived improvement in comfort levels and the potential for uptake of other complementary energy efficiency/renewable energy measures.
The scheme design and potential for implementation was assessed through a wider survey of park home residents, which also provided residents with energy efficiency advice tailored to park homes.
At the project's conclusion in December 2004, the installation of Sempatap in nine park homes had resulted in total yearly energy savings of 8700 kWhs or 2.3 tonnes of CO2, which equates to a lifetime saving of 260,000 kWhs or 70 tonnes of CO2.
The additional energy efficiency advice delivered led to further yearly energy savings of 7400 kWhs or 1.4 tonnes of CO2, with lifetime savings of 113,000 kWhs or 24 tonnes of CO2.
The study showed that Sempatap is a cost-effective measure for installation in park homes built before the introduction of the British Standard for construction (pre-1996). The payback period of approximately 20 years is comparable with the majority of measures designed to treat hard to treat homes. The analysis also showed that applying Sempatap to the ceilings of park homes with flat roofs or inaccessible loft spaces is a cost-effective measure with low payback times, i.e. eight years.
However, the evaluation of the scheme's take up and of the scheme's design demonstrated that an internal insulation system may not be the most appropriate for this type of dwelling and this type of householder. This is due to the difficulties with space limitation while carrying out the work, lack of storage space for materials, internal surface finish applied at construction and the make up of the typical park homes household, i.e. older people, perhaps with disability or mobility issues that would make DIY installation too difficult.
While the material has been successfully used by some householders, the level of take up has been much lower than the council anticipated. Therefore, if such a project was rolled out on a wider basis, the council would have to offer householders a grant-aided installation service.