Insulation: Your Questions Answered

by Brian Flax | Apr 03, 2020

In our latest blog, our team answer some of the most frequently asked questions in relation to our products and services, in both the new build and retrofit markets.

Why should I choose Expanded Polystyrene over other materials?

Expanded Polystyrene or EPS as it is known has been in production for decades, with KORE EPS in production since 1997. This versatile insulation solution works on numerous applications such as wall, floor, and roof insulation, as well as civil engineering applications such as void formers and void fillers.

KORE’s EPS is durable and sustainable. Once installed our EPS will last the lifetime of the building, with no decrease in thermal performance over time. Unlike other insulation materials EPS does not off-gas, meaning the thermal conductivity stated on the Declaration of Performance certificate is what you’ll receive. It is CFC & HCFC free, meaning it is safe to handle, with no specific equipment needed on site.  As EPS is made of 98% air, it is also water and moisture resistant.

Our EPS is manufactured on site in Kilnaleck, Co Cavan and all orders are manufactured and delivered on site within days. We deliver throughout Ireland and the U.K., and try our hardest to work on urgent requests without compromising quality. On average the cost savings by using EPS is between 10%-20% when compared to other forms of rigid insulation.

Thermal Bridging is a huge issue in construction, and KORE’s fully engineered Insulated Foundation System virtually eliminates thermal bridging by wrapping the whole ground floor of a building in EPS.  KORE EPS makes it simple to achieve Passive House Standards with seriously low U-Values, cost effectiveness, and experienced technical and development teams.

Is building to a passive house standard the best option?

Passive House Standard is an energy efficient standard in construction that incorporates space heating and cooling demand, primary energy consumption, air tightness and thermal comfort. To achieve Passive House Certification from the Passive House Institute, a house must be constructed with thermal insulation achieving a U-Value of 0.15 or less, passive windows must be installed, as well as ventilation heat recovery, air tightness of ≤ 0.5 to ensure no air leakages, and where possible thermal bridging must be virtually eliminated.

Firstly, building a home to a passive standard encompasses nZEB Part L 2019 Building Regulations, with the same outcome required for low energy building; low u-values, use of renewable energy sources, elimination of thermal bridging and more. In achieving a low or nearly zero energy build, you will also assist Ireland in combating climate change and help meet the targets set out in Ireland’s Climate Action Plan 2019, such as decreasing the use of fossil fuels in our homes.

A passive house provides comfort all year round for you and your family. With excellent thermal insulation, renewable heating system, and mechanical ventilation heat recovery, the home will always have the perfect temperature all year round. With continuous low-volume ventilation, the home will receive filtered fresh air, with stale air exhausted. Passive homes have some of the healthiest air qualities, perfect for people suffering with asthma or allergies.

A passive house can be costly at the beginning, however it provides long term energy savings, and coupled with SEAI grants, this long term investment will help you reap lifetime benefits.

Building a passive house is future proofing your home for you, your family and the environment, This construction standard is sustainable, eco-friendly and will benefit earth as well as you.


What is the cost comparison between an Insulated Foundation System and a traditional raft foundation?


KORE’s Insulated Foundation System offers some of the lowest U-Values on the market. This fully engineered system wraps the ground floor in EPS, virtually eliminating thermal bridging and guaranteeing a lifetime of superior thermal performance.

A comparative analysis of our Insulated Foundation System and a traditional strip foundation was recently conducted and showcased in Issue 33 of Passive House Plus Magazine, where  our Insulated Foundation System cost €2,000 less to construct than the traditional strip foundation. These cost savings can be found when on average 50% less concrete is used than a traditional strip foundation, and for production and material costs. Michael McCarthy of MMC Quantity Surveyors who conducted this study found that our system also achieved a 51% decrease in embodied carbon, a reduction from 17 tonnes to 8.3 tonnes.

Our Insulated Foundation System was used in the largest passive house development in Citywest, Dublin by Durkan Residential in 2017. Our case study of this site shows that the future buyers will receive an A-Rated home with no extra cost than traditional built homes. It is a win win situation for developers, homeowners and the environment.

To hear more about the benefits of using KORE’s Insulated Foundation System, please check out this video below where Ivor Gilbert of Wexford Timber Frame Homes Ltd states the many reasons why he uses our innovative system.

What are the best ways to avoid thermal bridging in my self build?


A thermal bridge occurs whenever there is a break in a building’s envelope. You can find these breaks around windows and doors, around services like cables and plumbing, and at common junctions such as the wall, roof and floor. A thermal bridge is essentially a way for heat and energy to escape from the building, making insulation less effective.

When building a new home you must use a system that can eliminate or minimise thermal bridging. KORE’s Insulated Foundation System wraps the whole ground level of a building in EPS, virtually eliminating thermal bridging, while providing very low floor U-Values.

External wall insulation is a great application to reduce thermal bridging when coupled with our Insulated Foundation System, and or other methods such as floor and attic insulation.

Employing an architect and/or engineer to look at the design of the home is important as they will identify any areas thermal bridging may occur. He/she will identify the best quality materials to use for each application, while ensuring the contractor performing the installation understands the design of the build, and the implications behind thermal bridging.

With stricter building regulations, more experienced construction professionals, and innovative systems on the market, it is getting easier to minimise thermal bridging.

If you have a question for our technical team on thermal bridging or would like advice on your new project, please contact us.

How can I upgrade my home to become more energy efficient?

There are a number of ways to upgrade your home to improve the building’s energy rating.

Firstly we would ask you to get a Building Energy Rating (BER) test completed on the home to identify the rating, and areas of concern. Once completed we can look at how we can upgrade the home to achieve the most effectiveness for energy consumption and your budget.

Below are some of the ways you can upgrade your home for maximum energy efficiency:

  • Upgrade Insulation– walls, floor, and roof insulation will improve the thermal comfort of your home. A fabric first approach is considered the most effective way to upgrade. This can include cavity wall insulation, external wall insulation, floor insulation, and attic insulation. A certified and approved installer must survey your home and identify the best application to use for your home upgrade. Check out our list of approved installers here.
  • Windows and Door Upgrade– heat can escape via windows and doors that are older, single pane and without the correct sealant around them. Triple glazed windows are the most effective in combating heat escaping, as well as great noise excluders. A reputable and approved window company will advise on the best option for your home.
  • Renewable heat source– upgrading to a newer heating system can provide long term cost and energy savings, as well as helping the environment by reducing the usage of fossil fuels (coal, oil). Air-to-water heat pumps are the most popular renewable heating systems that absorbs heat from the outside air and using a heat compressor, creates heat for your home. This system uses on average 25% electricity, using air primarily as its energy source. All units vary in prices and abilities, but many are slender in size, and produce very little noise.
  • Solar systems– many homes will invest in solar panels to work in conjunction with their other renewable energy sources such as heat pumps. Solar system creates energy from the sun, which can be distributed to thermal energy to heat water (solar thermal), or electricity (solar photovoltaic). Solar panels on your homes roof will extract energy from the sun during day time hours, any energy not used in your home that day will be sent to the grid (approximately 20%). In Ireland the majority of energy from these panels are garnered from May-September. On average a home will save €200-€300 a year by having solar panels.

SEAI provides a comprehensive list of energy registered professionals including BER assessors, heat pumps installers,  solar system installers.

There are a number of grants available to homeowners that offer free upgrades (for qualifying people only) and others that offer financial assistance and energy credits, these include SEAI’s Warmer Home Scheme, Better Energy Homes Scheme,  and the Electric Ireland’s Incentive.

There are a number of deep retrofit case studies available on our website that showcase upgrade works done on a variety of properties, please see here.