Step 3 – specification of insulation materials

Our quest to explore efficiency led to investigations into ways in which we could improve the energy efficiency of Stand 47 while also incorporating our aim to demonstrate the potential of innovatively using Saint-Gobain products in a typical residential home. It soon became clear that Saint-Gobain’s insulation products would form an important part of this exploration of both efficiency and innovation. A number of options were chosen during specification in Step 3, and here we will look at the insulation products chosen and why.

Isover cavitybatt insulation

This product is manufactured using high quality Glasswool and has a glass tissue facing on one side for ease of handling and improved rigidity. It has been used in Stand 47 because of the following properties:

  • It is used within steel frame structures, timber frame buildings and dry wall systems (51mm – 102mm). Stand 47 is using both a steel frame structure and drywalling.
  • Exceptional acoustic properties
  • Lightweight & easy to handle / Maintenance free / Long product life – will not readily age
  • Self-supporting – will not sag when placed in drywall framework
  • Compression packed – to reduce volume & optimize transport & storage
  • High tear strength yet readily cut with a sharp blade
  • Manufactured according to ISO 9001:2008
  • Non-combustible – tested to SANS 10177 Part 5

Snap on pipe insulation

This product is a rigid, pre-formed, resin bonded glasswool section of 1m length that is applied to pipes to improve their thermal insulation. In our case, because we are using a heat pump geyser to generate hot water, we cannot afford to lose heat in the water when it is in the reticulation pipes. In addition, because of its R-value since SANS 10400-XA: 2011 requires that “…all hot water service pipes shall be clad with insulation with a minimum R-value in accordance with the table 1.”  Therefore, this benefits of using this product in Stand 47 include:

  • Lifelong energy savings due to reduced head loss though pipes and increased heating cycles.
  • Excellent thermal & acoustic properties
  • Available in a wide range of pipe bore and insulation thickness
  • Long product life   / Maintenance free  / Ease of installation
  • Ease of fabrication – on site modifications are easy

Sagex eps perimeter insulation

The decision not to build in brick was informed by our vision and also our desire to explore innovating technologies can could be used in residential applications. However, the perception that brick would mean no thermal mass and therefore no insulation from external temperature differentials, was quickly resigned with the application of Sagex EPS Perimeter Insulation. The expanded foam (known as EPS) is produced as small beads containing a blowing agent which is expanded by treatment with steam to form pre-foam of the required density.  The pre-foam is then fed into moulds and more heat (steam) is applied. This heat fuses the beads together to produce items in a variety of shapes and sizes, or to make blocks for cutting into sheets and other products.

Key properties of Sagex EPS that were applicable to our needs:

  • Thermal Insulation to meet SANS 204 insulation (R-value = 1,05)
  • Resistant to  ageing, mildew, bacteria rot and will not sustain vermin
  • CFC / HCFC free and zero ozone depleting potential
  • Low water absorption Sagex EPS 40mm thick x 300mm wide, 15kg/m³ density from ground floor level with joints tightly butted and taped.

In addition, SANS 204:2011 stipulates that buildings with a floor area of less than 500m², with concrete slab-on-ground, shall have insulation around the vertical edge of its perimeter.

Sagex eps floor insulation

Because of the SANS 204:2011 regulation Sagex EPS will also be used on the damp-proofing  to prevent the loss of heat from the house to the ground.   The motivation behind choosing this option has similar features to the Perimeter insulation:

  • Thermal insulation of heated ground floors (R-value = 1,14). 
  • Resistant to  ageing, mildew, bacteria rot and will not sustain vermin 
  • CFC / HCFC free and is considered ozone-friendly by the Wildlife Society of South Africa. 
  • Life long energy savings. Excellent thermal and acoustic properties. 
  • Maintenance free, ease of installation and ease of fabrication – on site modifications 

SANS 10400-XA:2011 require that where an underfloor heating system is installed, the heating system shall be insulated underneath the concrete slab with insulation that has a minimum R-value of not less than 1,0. Therefore, Stand 47 will install 40mm thick 20kg/m³ density Sagex EPS Floor Insulation on damp-proof membrane with joints tightly butted.  Sagex has more than 50 years experience in the manufacture of EPS and introduced the product into the South African market.

Geyser insulation pack

The geyser at Stand 47 will be covered with a Saint-Gobain geyser insulation pack that consists of a foil faced Glasswool insulation blanket in a kit form that includes 5 x 1m, high density Glasswool Snap on pipe insulation of 15 mm ID bore x 20 mm wall thickness & duct tape. It will be used because it is:

  • Lightweight & easy to handle
  • DIY friendly
  • Long product life-will not readily age
  • Suitable for high humidity applications

SANS 204:2011 states that “hot water vessels and tanks shall be insulated to a minimum R-value of 2,0… Piping to be insulated include all flow and return piping, cold water supply piping within 1m of the connection to the heating or cooling system…”. This product achieves this requirement.

Aerolite insulation

In Stand 47 we have used steel roof sheeting, which has to be well insulated to maintain internal comfort levels during peak temperature differentials. Therefore, we opted to use Aerolite which is the thermal acoustic ceiling insulation solution that reduces the amount of energy required to maintain comfortable living environment.

  • Lightweight & easy to install
  • Exceptional thermal and acoustic properties
  • Compression packed to reduce volume and optimize transport + storage
  • Reduces heat loss in winter and contributes toward reduced heating costs.
  • Reduces heat gain in summer and contributes toward reduced cooling costs.
  • Non-combustible – tested to SANS 10177 Part 5

Step 3 – specification options

A number of specific investigations had a direct impact on the design of Stand 47 during Step 3. Two areas in particular involved a high amount of exploration, research, iteration and collaborative participation between the project team; 1. Energy efficiency, and 2. Integrating a number of Saint-Gobain products within a residential application. This section will explore the specific materials and technologies used, and the impact that their inclusion had on the resultant design.

1. efficient energy sources and resources

  • Electrical Supply: Supplementing energy sources by introducing 45 Solar PV Panels produced by Saint-Gobain to decrease the demand placed on electricity from the Eskom grid. These panels will provide 9115 Kwh/year for a household of 5. The impact on the design resulted in a few adjustments to the roof pitch (now 10 degrees) and inclination so that the PV panels could benefit from the best angle for solar gain. Placed in a long strip across the length of the roof, the panels read aesthetically as a singular entity, however consist of 5 modules of 9 panels that connect to an inverter.
  • Energy Supply: The kitchen will be fitted with a gas stove and consideration has been given to the safe placement of gas bottles in the yard. Again the diversification of energy sources limits Stand 47’s dependency on a singular source of electrical energy.
  • Heating: Hot water heating is being supplemented by the use of an integrated heat pump/ geyser on a ring feed that provides hot water to the bathrooms and kitchen. The heat pump will considerably decrease the amount of electricity required to heat water. Most easily described as a reverse air-conditioning unit, the heat pump draws hot air from the atmosphere and uses the energy to heat water. The heat pump is placed within the yard to decrease noise pollution into living spaces and to draw heat from the hard surfaces that radiate heat.
  • Heating: During the cool winter months, internal room temperatures will be controlled by 150 sqm underfloor heating, using a system where warm water is pumped through Polyethylene tubes placed below the finished floor material, but below a layer of insulation (EPS). The water in the tubes is also heated by means of a heat pump. In view of the well insulated walls and windows, it is anticipated that the underfloor heating will not be so heavily depended on. 
  • Heating: A closed system fireplace will also be placed within the living room to regulate heat in winter while also adding to the ambiance of the room. The closed system maintains and radiates far higher levels of heat, thereby heating larger interior volumes while also decreasing the amount of timber that needs to be burned; a far more efficient option.
  • Passive cooling: A large (2m) north-facing overhang has been designed to extend beyond the building edge and patio, in order to provide shading during the summer months as well as sunlight ingress into half a meter of the living spaces during winter. This impacts the design in two ways; it creates a threshold space between the interior and exterior spaces and also create a means for the new SANS regulations to be met.
  • Passive cooling: Positioning of doors and windows in opposite parts of the house allows for drafts of air through the interior spaces to circulate, thereby increasing the opportunity for efficient passive design and decreasing dependency on mechanical systems to cool the home. Again, thermal insulation (Isover Aerolite) in the roof also assists in this regard.
  • Passive cooling: A solar screen has been designed for the eastern and western façades of the house in order to mediate the overheating of the internal spaces in summer and lack thereof in winter. For this purpose, the screens have been designed with ‘vertical’ Steel Slats at 125 centres at 80° to the floor and fixed to the floor and roof structure.
  • Water harvesting: Rainwater is harvested off of the roofs of the house and collected into 4x 5000L rainwater tanks, which are linked in series and which connect to a filtration system and pumps. The collected water is used to irrigate the garden and also to flush the 3 WCs in Stand 47. 
  • Reclaimed materials: The primary floor covering in the Living Spaces of Stand 47 is reclaimed parquet. The warmth and comforting properties that timber provides allows the Living Space to read as a continuous surface that ties the bedrooms and family rooms together. Slate tiles will be placed in the exterior patio.

2. saint-gobain products

  • Thermal insulation: A number of Saint-Gobain insulation products have been used in the design of the walls, ceiling, and floor. To insulate the 0,6 mm thick corrugated roof sheeting, 135 Thick ISOVER Aerolite Insulation has been specified to meet SANS requirements. Within the walls, an ISOVER Cavitybatt of density 14kg/m3 has been specified between the steel structure and as the external coverings Sagex EPS of density 20kg/m3 has been specified (a 15mm Gyproc Fire Stop board has also been specified for the interior). Lastly, the floor has been insulated with a 35 EPS insulation between the concrete slab and the underfloor heating and final floor finish.
  • Acoustic isolation: The ceilings have been specified to be 9.5 thick GYPROC RhinoBoard fixed to Steel brandering, thereby ensuring a smooth finish with high acoustic quality.
  • Walls: Stand 47 has been designed using the Saint-Gobain ETICS External and internal drywall system. This has various implications for the design in meeting thermal and acoustic quality while also providing the aesthetic image of permanence to the design. All the walls (internal and external) will be finished with Gyproc Plaster, and painted with an environmentally friendly non-lead based paint.
  • Floors: In the Service Space of the house, the Saint-Gobain WEBER self-levelling screed will be applied on a 35 Cement screed in the garage, kitchen and scullery, storeroom, and bathrooms. 

We will be featuring a number of the Saint-Gobain products and their specific applications within Stand 47, in the Visual Diary.

On tv soon!

Keep an eye out for us on the home channel! 
They will be featuring an overview of our project within the next 2-3 weeks.

Testing innovation in south africa

When Saint-Gobain were listed on the Thomson Reuters Top 100 Global Innovators list in December 2012, their innovation as a built industry company was affirmed. For Stand 47 this means that innovative, forward thinking has made it possible for 12 new products to be launched in South Africa (New Formula RhinoGlide, New Formula RhinoBed, SoundBloc, RhinoBoard Screws, DuraLine, RhinoLite, RhinoLite Skim Plaster for RhinoBoard, RhinoLite Projection PLaster One Coat, UltraSteel 3, RhinoArt Broch Large, My Spec, Activ’Air and Gyptone with Activ’ Air) of which a number will be specified on Stand 47.  

The following extract from Saint-Gobain’s website can be read in full here.  

The Top 100 Global Innovators program identifies the companies and research structures that are the most active in terms of innovation. The selection is based on four criteria; the success rate of the patent applications, the international scope of the patent portfolio, the influence of the patent in terms of the number of citations in the professional literature and the number of patents. The full report is available at

“With the introduction of 12 new innovations in 2012, Saint-Gobain Gyproc SA has demonstrated our commitment to align with the global group’s focus on innovation, and through this we have refined our service offering where service excellence, value and the needs of the customer has become the company’s priority,” explained Lockhart-Barker.”

Ridge road residence – exploring daylighting

We like the focussed use of windows in this home designed by Studio Four in Melbourne, Australia. A considerate design approach has meant that windows frame views and maximum floor to ceiling heights allow natural light into the home while also allowing for cross ventilation. Double glazing ensures thermal comfort is maintained. The house also features extensive use of renewable timber in the facade. Read more about their design approach …

Stand47 – a case study of a state-of-the-art home

Our overarching ideas of innovation and efficiency, are directed at creating a quality home using lesser known methods and materials. As a case study, stand47 tracks the fusion of the main processes required to build a house: architecture, structure, material use and running costs. It does so to show that not only are there more options available when designing high-end houses efficiently, but also that these options hold a number of valuable benefits.

The benefits

The alternative building and material solutions explored in the design and specification of stand47 have resulted in a number of very important themes for the case study. These themes represent a number of interrelated benefits that are being achieved through the use of relevant and contemporary materials. These include:

  • Inhabitation – Once homes are occupied, there are a number of running costs like maintenance or daily heating and cooling. Designing and specifying stand47 cleverly from the beginning can result in massive long-term savings due to thermal insulation.
  • Lifestyle – As time progresses, so too do the needs of the occupants. The unobstructed open plan design allows for flexibility in minor alternations to the interior of the house to double up or strip down, without compromising the external structure.
  • Health – There are a number of hidden risks related to building a home with traditional materials; if not treated properly, damp can rise through bricks and concrete, mould can grow in plaster and timber trusses and a number of paints and PVC materials can emit carcinogens for many years. Saint-Gobain drywalling bypasses all those risks and the air cleaning nature of the products resulting in cleaner internal air.
  • Aesthetic – the cleaner finish of the materials, their structural qualities as well as their construction processes, allows for the possibility of the house to appear to be much lighter and thinner, which also makes open plan living more suited. In the context of Monaghan Farm, the house appears to tread lightly on the setting.
  • Energy – As far as possible, the house will be designed to generate and harvest its own energy. From rainwater tanks to heat pumps and Solar PV panels, the house depends as little as possible on the grid, making it more resilient.

In short, this case study aims to generate a state-of-the-art home, that is built with state-of-the art technologies that are readily available and which offer immediate benefits if embraced.

Some news from saint-gobain gyproc

The following extract from Saint-Gobain Gyproc’s press release will make our documentation easier. With a company history that spans over 300 years and a presence in 55 countries globally, Saint-Gobain retains its competitive edge by continually reacting to changing market needs, constant research development, product testing and flexibility of design.

Gyproc introduce templates for Autodesk® Revit® software
Assisting professionals in designing and building better buildings

March 2013 – Saint-Gobain Gyproc has recently introduced Revit® templates, which will assist architects in specifying Gyproc Drywall systems, when using the comprehensive software solution that helps professionals design, simulate, visualize, document and improve control during the building lifecycle.

The Saint-Gobain Gyproc templates developed for Revit® software is a library file of 24 standard Drywall systems that specifiers can access at any time. The templates offer information that will increase the specifier’s knowledge of the Gyproc systems and components, including details on their fire and acoustic performance ratings and associated colour coding of all systems. Included in the templates are 2D drawings of the drywall floor plan, typical base details and typical head details. The details can be presented in a pre-loaded drawing sheet with adaptive performance criteria and drawing number.

Go to to download your templates today.  Another example of Saint-Gobain Gyproc’s commitment to innovation.

Stand 47 in saa’s sawubona mag … soon

Keep an eye out for the forthcoming issue of SAA’s Sawubona Mag, in which Stand 47 is featured in an article about Eco-Estates…