The sustainable prefab – how green is green?

Scantherma has been featured in the prominent publication The Builders Choice Magazine

(June, 2012 Edition).

The article goes into detail just how green prefab homes are their implications towards  energy efficiency. Here is an excerpt:

The Six Star question – design vs. performance

The Green Star ratings system for building is all about design and thermal performance of materials and it is argued by some that it does not predict actual energy performance. The single largest issue for pre-fab buildings is that of the creation of ‘thermal bridges’ or junctions where insulation is not continuous and allows heat transfer into and out of the building. For example, where the housing frame, often made of steel, is used as an architectural feature in the home, it can provide a convenient thermal bridge for heat transfer between the interior and exterior environments.

Due to the nature of pre-fab building that is one of the potential risks for this technology. However, good design of the pre-fab section joins, good building practise and an appropriate fit-out can minimise the chance of a thermal bridge occuring.

One of the methods for determining whether bridges do occur is the use of the FLIR thermal imaging cameras and a number of companies are available to provide these services. We spoke with one such company – Scantherma. Amir Farhand of Scantherma pointed out that, while FLIR technology is not suitable for providing a Green Star rating, it can be used to identify the issues with thermal bridging in pre-fab housing and a number of dwellings have benefited from the use of this technology in identifying potential thermal bridging problems. Mr Farhand also noted that they have generally detected fewer problems with pre-fab housing due to its smaller size, which allows potential defects to be more easily detected at the building acceptance stage and rectified quickly.