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ISO Chemie Tape Specified to Check Feasibility of Straw Bale Buildings

ISO-Chemie’s expanding foam tape has been specified for a major research project at the University of Bath looking into the feasibility of constructing buildings from straw bales.

ISO BLOCO One is being used to provide a high performance airtight, acoustic and thermal seal between the straw-filled, cassette-style building blocks used to construct the two-storey BaleHaus at Bath on the University’s campus.

The BaleHaus is a research building constructed using the ModCell system to assess the use of straw as an efficient, effective and long term building material.

The system utilises the excellent thermal insulation qualities of straw bale and hemp construction to form prefabricated panels which can allow super-insulated, high-performance, low energy ‘passive’ buildings to be constructed using renewable, locally sourced, carbon sequestering materials.

This means that buildings can be constructed to meet the demanding PassivHaus specification, with resultant zero heat requirements, saving money and CO2 emissions.

Strips of ISO BLOCO One have been installed in the 10mm expansion joints between the 3 m² bale blocks to form a 0.86 m³/hour/m² measured at 50 pascals air tight seal - the construction industry norm is anything between 3 – 5 m³/hour/m².

ModCell, which has a number of other research buildings around the UK, is three years into an extensive four year programme of development supported by funding from dBERR (formerly the DTi), Carbon Connections and the Technology Strategy Board. This work has already confirmed ModCell, and buildings like the BaleHaus, can perform to, and exceed, the standards required in mainstream construction.

Finlay White, marketing and operations director at Bristol-based ModCell, said: “ISO-BLOCO One is an excellent product, meeting the requirements for an easy-to-install, cost effective and very reliable all round sealing solution.”

Peter Thompson, ISO Chemie’s UK general manager, said: “Increasingly, systems like Modcell are being considered as low cost, practical and very sustainable building products for construction projects.

“So, for us to be involved is a major coup and an endorsement of the high performance and multi-purpose solution offered by ISO-BLOCO One.”

ISO BLOCO One offers a single product ‘fit and forget’ solution for fast and effective sealing based around the European RAL principles of three level sealing - the inside seal area is more airtight than the external one, allowing any trapped moisture inside the joint, or within the wall, to escape outwards rather than into the building.

The external seal area provides weather resistance and breathability, while the intermediate seal area provides extra thermal and acoustic properties and the internal one air tightness and humidity regulation. All three levels are designed to accommodate movement between the adjacent materials.

Quick and easy-to-apply, the self-adhesive ISO BLOCO One provides a high performance seal for window and door joints up to 30mm wide and is impermeable to driving rain at a minimum of 1,000 Pa – 66% higher reliability than most conventional joint sealing tapes.

The internal air tight seal has been tested at 1000 Pa pressure difference (20 times more than UK Building Regulations.) and found to give less than 0.1 m³ of air loss. At the same time, depending on tape width, it will also supply a U-Value of 0.55 and reduce sound by 45 dB, straight from the box.

Once installed, ISO BLOCO One ensures a building is better protected from elemental factors like wind, dust and moisture ingress by accommodating the changes in structural movement caused by environmental, cyclical and settlement factors.

Product complies with energy saving regulations (EnEV) on windows and doors as well as the RAL quality assurance association and is able to accommodate extremes of temperature changes – from -30°C to + 80°C.


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