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Building insulation to save energy

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The main objective of sustainable products is to reduce or completely avoid depletion of critical resources like energy, water, and raw materials and create built environments that are livable, comfortable, safe, and productive. Dr. Sanjay Bahadur, Global CEO, Construction Chemicals, Pidilite Industries briefs Buildotech on the company initiatives in this direction.

The reasons for the growing need of sustainable products in building construction?

Buildings are subject to high exposure of sunlight and rain water lash. This calls for an approach to sustainable systems that can prevent water seepage and leakage through the structure, reduce energy consumption needs, ensure the health and comfort of the building occupants and enhance durability of the construction through long term performance and extended service life. Thus, there is an increased demand for sustainable materials and building techniques that have the least amount of energy consumption, emissions and waste.

Sustainable materials are ones that have the least amount of energy consumption, as well as a lack of emissions, waste and making sure that the material continues to be created or grow rather than deplete its stocks. These products not only last for a long time but are strong, durable, and environmental friendly,

The current problem areas in the building insulation systems

Global temperatures are continuously rising and weather elements like sun and rain play havoc with the life and durability of concrete construction. Higher temperatures lead to higher energy consumption and demand, in turn stressing our environment and eco systems.

Water leakages and seepages play a major role in impacting the longevity and durability of construction. The RCC Slab of the terrace is generally done with ordinary concrete without using any admixture to take care of the extra workability required to proper placement and compaction of the concrete through the congested reinforcement. Sometimes integral waterproofing compounds are used in the concrete. But often they are not used properly or sufficiently.

In due course, numerous cracks are developed in conventional methods like brick bat coba. Water penetrates through these cracks to the RCC slab below it. Due to shrinkage of cement mortar, lots of cracks are formed on the plaster of the parapet walls. Rainwater seeps through these cracks into the bricks and slowly comes down to the RCC slab. Because of improper compaction, often the concrete of the RCC slab is full of voids and honeycombs. Once the water reaches the RCCslab, it easily seeps inside and corrodes the reinforcement, thus weakening the structure itself.

Water, after seeping through the RCC slab, makes the ceiling and walls damp. In severe cases water starts dripping from the ceiling. All these leave ugly patches of dampness on the ceiling and walls and paints peel off. To avoid leakage of water through terrace, often tar felting is done on the terrace. But due to weathering, the tar felt gets cracked within
a couple of years and water penetrates through the cracks to come down to the ceiling.

How does recently introduced LEC system protect the building envelope?

LEC ( Low Energy Consumption) is a green and sustainable waterproofing and insulation system for roofs and walls, based on a layered built-up system that permanently weatherproofs roofs and walls from rain lash, hot and cold temperatures and in turn, leads to high energy savings. The system is designed to be highly reflective and emissive to ensure that the conversion of sunlight to heat is minimized and the amount of heat radiated back is maximized thus leading to greater comfort for the building occupants, lower energy costs and reduced energy needs.

LEC roof insulation – There are few variations in the LEC (Low Energy Consumption) system depending on the kind of roof on which the application is supposed to be done. The system for flat roofs contains Dr. Fixit Foamshield, Dr. Fixit Roofseal, Geotextile, Panelized concrete screed and Dr. Fixit Newcoat Ezee (SRI coating). The system is based on a spray applied 2-component PU foam. This excludes the possibility of thermal bridges.

After proper cleaning of the surface, Foamshield is spray applied with a 30mm average thickness. Two coats of Roofseal are applied which is a bitumen based sealer waterproof coating and protective geotextile fabric is placed over this before laying the concrete screed. M20 concrete screed is made by placing filler boards in grids/bays of 12m2 area and then pouring concrete into the bays. These bitumen board strips help in maintaining the slope. The topmost layer is the coat of primer Primeseal and two coats of Newcoat Ezee on the concrete screed.

For extensive roof gardens, the screed is primed with Torch shield primer. This is followed by torch application of Torch shield AR (anti-root membrane) on the screed. Place a drainage board followed by placing soil for vegetation.

LEC wall insulation system – Cool surfaces are measured by how efficiently they radiate heat (thermal emittance) and how much sunlight they reflect back (solar reflectivity). With the LEC system, the amount of heat absorbed into the building interior is reduced substantially. Internal wall insulation finishing system will include fixing wooden frame members to suit the fixing of the shutter sheet over the entire wall area followed by spray application of Foamshield over the entire wall area at an average thickness of 35mm. After completion of foam, calcium silicate boards (6/10mm thickness) are fixed over the entire wall area. The joints and gaps are filled with pumpable non-shrink grout and joint sealant tape on the calcium silicate board over all joints to achieve the desired finish.

Technical support provided by the company?

LEC system being new, is managed by an in-house team of professionals, fully equipped to meet the stringent standards specified by various consultants. The waterproofing and heat insulation system is completely mechanized and to provide quality applicat ion we under take the complete responsibility from the client/contractor immediately after casting and curing of the roof slab to install a leak-proof waterproofing and insulation system guaranteed up to 25 years against conventional 10 years guarantee offered by various applicators in the market.

Case Study: L&T Mahape

A newly constructed facility in an automation center of L & T was equipped with all the latest machinery and equipment for producing large panels; therefore, waterproofing was a very critical requirement in this case. The client needed a reliable high performance waterproofing and energy saving solution that could provide critical long-term protection for the Automation Centre and its valuable equipment.

The Problem: There was a large amount of unevenness on the surface of building’s roof which posed a challenge for the quality of the installation. Ensuring that all sections of the roof – including the areas under and around Cooling Tower and other parts are treated, was a critical factor in executing a fully waterproof the building.

The solution: Dr. Fixit LEC system applied with plural component Proportioner Spray applied equipment was suggested to cover the entire roof area and make it watertight. Also, due to presence of lots of upstands and pedestals, a monolithic waterproofing membrane was very much required.

The outcome: The energy saving LEC system combined waterproofing, robust durability & fully-bonded monolithic system to provide a heat insulation and waterproof resistance barrier.



The client: Larsen and Toubro.
Contractor: Pidilite Industries ltd.
Applicator: Percept Waterproofing
Services Ltd.

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