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  1. What temperature should the central heating thermostat be set at?

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    As the weather starts to cool outside, inside homes across the UK things start to heat up with arguments about the thermostat. 

    The cost of heating a home during the cooler months is of concern to many. 

    Luckily the Energy Savings Trust have done the calculations and come up with an answer that should ensure people to stay comfortably warm whilst helping to keep the costs down -it turns out every degree helps! 

    When speaking to This Money, Caitlin Bent, home energy expert at the Energy Saving Trust recommended to heat the home to the lowest comfortable temperature, between 18 and 21C. 

    Ms Bent explained that by ‘Turning your room thermostat down by just one degree will save around £80 on your energy bill for a typical, gas-heated three-bedroom semi, so it’s worth testing a lower temperature to see if you’re still comfortable.'

    This goes to show how every degree counts when it comes to your energy bills but how can you help to keep your home at this optimum temperature and prevent heat from escaping?

    ProPERLA exterior wall coatings, as verified by the Energy Savings Trust, help to reduce heat loss by keeping the walls of your home dry.

    ProPERLA Energy Saving Trust

    Independent tests have demonstrated that brickwork treated with ProPERLA were signifcantly more energy efficient than untreated ones. The thermal image above, was taken during independent scientific testing and shows a 6⁰C  difference in temperature between sections of the wall treated with ProPERLA and the untreated centre section.

    When the walls of your home get wet from wind driven rain, it decreases the thermal resistance of the walls and can result in increased heat loss, contributing to higher energy bills. Water acts as a thermal bridge causing heat to transfer away from the property, reducing the energy efficiency of your home.

    ProPERLA's highly breathable exterior coatings help to keep your home warm and dry by creating a water repellent surface and reducing water absorption of the walls by up to 96.3%.

    You save in the long term too- ProPERLA exterior wall coatings have been proven to perform for 25 years.

  2. Providing a solution for salt efflorescence

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    Many homeowners and builders in the UK will be familiar with the sight of a white powdery substance appearing on the walls of their properties. This is known as ‘salt efflorescence’ and is a sign that there is moisture within the building materials of the property. It spoils the look of brickwork and painted masonry walls and attempting to paint over the affected area is pointless until the source of the moisture has been identified and eliminated. Although harmless in itself, it needs to be dealt with in the correct way to avoid further moisture-related problems in the future which can cause more serious structural damage. It is therefore considered good practice within the building trade to deal with salt efflorescence as soon as it is noticed.

    What is ‘salt efflorescence’ ?


    Three conditions must be present for this white substance to appear:


    • There must be water soluble salts present somewhere in the materials used in the construction the property.


    • There must be sufficient moisture in the wall to render the salts into a soluble solution.


    • There must be a path for the soluble salts to travel through to the surface of the walls, where the moisture will then evaporate, leaving behind the salts. The salts crystallise and cause the sparkly, white residue which is a familiar sight to many


    Research suggests that mineral salts are contained naturally within many of the building materials used in the construction of homes and properties and on their own, they are not a cause for concern. It is when they come into contact with moisture that the problems arise. For efflorescence to appear, the salts must be dissolved into a solution by water.

    The weather provides the primary source of moisture in buildings in the UK, although condensation, groundwater wicking and interior activities may also impact on the moisture content of a building. If no water reaches the salts, they cannot themselves become soluble and migrate to the surface.

    All three of these conditions must exist before salt efflorescence appears so the key to dealing with it is to stop water from infiltrating the masonry walls. Efflorescence will only stop forming when moisture is prevented from interacting with the naturally occurring salts and turning them into liquid form. Unless the source of the moisture is eliminated, it is highly likely that the cycle will continue and the efflorescence will continue to appear, despite efforts to stay on top of removing it.

    Although it is possible to brush and clean the affected areas of an external wall, this only gets rid of the visual signs of salt efflorescence and does not unfortunately cure the problem – it simply removes the symptoms. After cleaning, the salt efflorescence will reappear unless the ‘cycle’ that created it in the first place is broken. The very fact that salt efflorescence has appeared shows that mineral salts are present within the construction materials so the most effective way to stop them dissolving and travelling to the surface of the walls is to prevent further moisture from penetrating the masonry.

    The answer is NOT to seal the walls however. Applying sealants onto areas that show signs of underlying moisture or salt efflorescence problems is NOT recommended as any kind of sealing product is likely to either intensify, relocate or spread the problem. This is because such products prevent the moisture within the building materials from breathing out or escaping and this leads to the salt crystals forming beneath the surface of the substrate. As this builds up over time, you can end up with a much more destructive process known as ‘spalling’ whereby the masonry crumbles and disintegrates. This then becomes more difficult and expensive to fix.

    How can ProPERLA exterior coatings prevent the appearance of salt efflorescence?

    Salt efflorescence

    The panels treated with ProPERLA (right and left) had substantially less salt effloresence than the untreated middle panel, following accelerated weathering testing.

    The ProPERLA range of exterior coatings can assist with the appearance of salt efflorescence by keeping the walls of buildings and properties DRY. The coatings create a super hydrophobic surface without sealing it so that any moisture that already exists within the building can breathe out naturally and not get trapped under the surface. When it rains, coated building surfaces will repel water – similar in nature to the way a lotus leaf forms beads of rain water. Independent testing on our products have shown that they reduce water absorption by 93.4%, meeting British Standard for Water Vapour Resistance : BS EN ISO 7783:2011.

    By diminishing water absorption, ProPERLA exterior coatings have been proven to reduce the cycle whereby soluble salts within bricks and mortar migrate to the surface where the moisture evaporates leaving behind the crystals. As a result, the products slow down the ageing or breakdown of the surface of the building by helping to protect it from the worst of the weather, including wind driven rain, frost and sea salt penetrated air. Any property coated with one of our exterior coatings will be weather protected for up to 25 years.

    Our website contains full details of the technology that underpins these coatings and the independent testing that was carried out to demonstrate specifically the high breathability of the products, their 25 year performance and their highly water repellent features.

  3. ProPERLA wall coatings verified by the Energy Saving Trust

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    ProPERLA UK Ltd has received verification from the Energy Saving Trust.

    We are very pleased to announce that two of our leading products – ProPERLA Masonry Crème and ProPERLA Facade Coating – have been verified by the Energy Saving Trust under their Product Verification Service.

    Their in-depth verification process reviewed a range of evidence including independent laboratory tests, European Certifications and our manufacturing and quality control procedures and concluded that there is sufficient evidence to support the claim that coating the exterior walls of properties with one of our range of super-hydrophobic wall coatings will result in improved thermal performance, enabling homeowers to benefit from reduced heating bills.

    The Energy Saving Trust is a leading and trusted organisation here in the UK introduced to help people save energy. They work with industry experts, liaise with householders and undertake pioneering world-renowned research to provide an independent and respected verification service so that consumers, householders and industry professionals searching for energy efficient products can trust the energy claims made by a product or service.

    We believe this is an important milestone for ProPERLA UK Ltd – it provides our customers with additional confidence in the integrity of our products and further enhances our reputation for providing a simple, cost effective and minimally disruptive way of improving the thermal performance of their property. Coating a property with one of our products provides savings on heating bills and thereby contributes to the lowering of carbon emissions.

    The link below will take you to the EST website and our product listings.

    www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/business/products/manufacturers/properla-uk-ltd

  4. Making Sense of UK targets for increased energy efficiency in UK homes

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    There is no doubt that the public now accepts that our climate is changing and human actions are causing these changes.  Those actions mean that carbon dioxide levels are higher than any time in human history, impacting on all our lives in many different ways – from coastal erosion, increased flooding and water shortages.  There can be no further delays in implementing strategies to address these challenges.  The European Commission  states that energy efficiency needs to be considered as a ‘source of energy in its own right’.  It is one of the most cost-effective ways to support the transition to a low carbon economy, to prompt further investment opportunities and to create growth and employment.  Putting energy efficiency first will bring down costs for consumers, reduce import dependency and redirect investments towards the kind of infrastructure that are smart and sustainable.

    In the UK, the 2008 Climate Change Act requires the UK to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) by at least 80% by 2050.  To ensure steady progress towards this 2050 goal, the Climate Change Act requires the Government to set intermediate targets – ‘carbon budgets’.  These are caps on the GHG emissions that can be emitted across the UK during a five-year period.  Five carbon budgets have been set to date, putting in place caps on GHG emissions from 2008 to 2032.  In July 2016, the 5th Carbon Budget was set, which requires a 57% average reduction in emissions between 2028-32 across the UK compared to a 1990 baseline. (see image)

    The Fifth Carbon Budget

    The UK played a critical role in securing the 2015 Paris Agreement – the first ever international climate change agreement, where 195 countries made a commitment to reduce emissions within the long-term goal of limiting global temperature increases to ‘well below 2 degrees’.  The Agreement puts pressure on all countries to bring forward long-term emissions reduction strategies by 2020.  The Clean Growth Strategy is the UK’s long-term strategy in response to this requirement.

    The Clean Growth Strategy outlines progress that has been made to date in terms of meeting the Climate Change Act targets and in relation to UK homes, it reports that the average household’s energy consumption has fallen by over 17% since 1990, driven by a combination of:

    • Tighter building and products standards – e.g. better boilers
    • The uptake of insulation and other energy efficiency measures
    • Greater awareness of potential areas for energy saving

    But the Strategy goes on to commit to even further reductions in GHG emissions from homes and promises policies which will encourage homeowners to keep on improving their homes where it is cost effective and affordable to do so.  The Strategy acknowledges that to achieve targets set out for 2032 under the 5th Carbon Budget, there will be a need to ensure existing buildings waste even less energy.  It states its aspiration is that as many homes as possible are improved and upgraded to an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of Band C by 2035, with those ‘fuel-poor’ homes meeting this requirement by 2030.

    The Strategy recognises that improved energy efficiency has other benefits for the homeowner including reduced heating bills and substantial health benefits.  There is a clear link between cold homes and ill-heath, where existing conditions (such as respiratory illness or mental health conditions) are exacerbated.  The Building Research Establishment (BRE) estimated, conservatively, that the cost of cold and damp homes to the NHS is approx. £760m a year.

    More recently however, the Government’s official adviser on climate change, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) in its 2018 Progress Report to Parliament : Reducing UK Emissions states that there is much to be done by the Government if it is to meet its ambitious targets and deliver on the Clean Growth Strategy.  Current policy is failing to drive uptake of initiatives outlined in the strategy, including for highly cost effective measures such as home insulation.  It states that home insulation rates are now at their lowest in ten years, even though home insulation measures offer highly cost effective opportunities for carbon savings whilst providing comfort and health benefits and reducing energy bills.  The Progress Report is clear that what is needed as a matter of urgency from the Government now is the implementation of concrete policies for delivering against the commitment on retrofit and bringing all homes up to EPC Band C by 2035.

    energy efficiency in homes

    This 2018 Report is further reinforced by the Committee on Climate Change in its 2019 Report : Net-Zero : The UK’s Contribution to Stopping Global Warming.  The CCC now believe that the time is right for the UK to ‘set and vigorously pursue an ambitious target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) to ‘net-zero’ by 2050’.  By setting this target, the UK will end its contribution to global warming within 30 years and will deliver on the commitment that the UK made by signing the Paris Agreement.

    It once again notes that whilst many policy foundations are in place, a major ramp up on implementation and policy effort is now required and delivery must progress with far greater urgency.  Many current plans are insufficiently ambitious, with others proceeding too slowly.

    Energy efficiency homes

    The report acknowledges that it is impossible to predict the exact mix of technologies and behaviours that will best meet the challenge of reaching net-zero emissions, but included in their analysis are measures which reduce demand for household energy across the economy.  It also identifies actions that individuals in the UK can take to reduce their carbon footprint and contribute to the UK and global goals.  In the context of UK homes, the earlier recommendation that improving the energy efficiency of homes through measures such as draft-proofing, improved home insulation and the setting of thermostats no higher than 19 degrees is reaffirmed.  The Report notes that active engagement from households in this way to reduce their carbon footprint will be vital in meeting set targets.

    How can the range of ProPERLA Exterior Wall Coatings contribute to meeting these challenges?

    We believe at ProPERLA UK Ltd that the key benefit our exterior wall coatings can bring to these challenges is their ability to keep buildings dry.  Rain soaked buildings lead to damp exterior walls which act as thermal ‘bridges’ enabling heat from within the home to transfer to the outside of the property much quicker than it would if the walls remained dry.  Heat always flows from warmer to cooler and whilst the homeowner might not realise this is happening because they are turning up the thermostat to keep their home warm and comfortable, in reality heat loss through wet or damp exterior walls contributes to approximately 35% of heat lost in a typical family home.

    For this reason, we believe that coating UK homes and buildings with one of ProPERLA’s exterior wall coatings will help to reduce this heat loss.  Once coated, the walls of the building will become super-hydrophobic – in other words they will no longer be able to get wet.  Rain water will form beads and run off the surface of the building in the same way that a lotus-leaf repels water.  Independent testing of our products showed that water absorption following coating was reduced by 93.4%.   By keeping the walls dry in this way  means that less heat travels through them and the homeowner will benefit from a warmer, cosier home without having the thermostat turned up.

    ProPERLA Masonry Crème is a super hydrophobic coating specially designed for brick built buildings.  It is a clear, one-coat product which penetrates into the brickwork to provide an invisible insulation barrier and which does not change the external appearance of the building. ProPERLA Façade Coating is more appropriate for those buildings which require a coloured coating system.  These products are of particular benefit to solid wall properties where other insulation measures are not possible, but they also provide additional benefits to more modern buildings which have cavity walls. As well as keeping the external walls dry, the coated walls will help to keep any installed cavity wall insulation dry and prevent possible future problems associated with rain getting through to the insulation and the insulation itself subsequently acting as a bridge taking moisture through to internal walls.

    Additional benefits associated with ProPERLA exterior coating products include their long term performance – manufacturer’s guarantees are available for between 10-20 years depending on the coating used, although all products have a life-time expectancy of 25 years.  Once coated, homeowners face less costs and disruption associated with upkeep and maintenance.

    Our website fully explains how these products work and the technology that underpins them.  It also details the independent testing that has been done to verify the benefits relating to thermal insulation, water repellency and 25 year performance.

    In summary, we believe that ProPERLA exterior coating systems provide a cost-effective, minimally disruptive and long-term solution for UK homeowners to keep their properties dry…. And a dry building means a warmer building without the need to turn the thermostat up!

    References

    BEIS (2017) The Clean Growth Strategy

    Committee on Climate Change (2019) Net Zero : The UK’s contribution to global warming

    Committee on Climate Change (2018) Reducing UK emissions

    European Commission Decision C (2018)4708 of 24 July 2018

  5. The Lotus Effect

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    ProPERLA exterior coatings have been designed to mimic the Lotus effect and help keep your property clean and dry.

     

    What is the Lotus effect?

    The Lotus effect refers to the self-cleaning and extreme water-repellency abilities of the Sacred Lotus (Nelumbo nucifera) a semi-aquatic plant.

     

     

    When water comes into contact with the Lotus leaf, the water droplet forms a spherical bead and simply rolls off, leaving the surface dry. As the water beads roll off, they pick up contaminants such as solid particles, organism liquids and biological contaminants and remove them from the surface of the leaf. This process helps to keep the Lotus leaves clean and dry even in muddy and dirty ponds. The self-cleaning capabilities of the Lotus is the reason it has been considered a symbol of purity in Asian culture for over 2,000 years.

     

    What makes the Lotus leaf water repellent and self-cleaning?

    Scientific exploration of the surface micro/nanostructure and chemical composition of the Lotus leaves has been undertaken over many years in an attempt to understand the functions, structures and processes by which the Lotus is able to repel water and subsequently self-clean.

     

    Water Contact Angle

    Research has revealed that in order for a surface to be self-cleaning it must be super hydrophobic, with a very high static water contact angle greater than 160°, and a very low roll-off angle (the minimum inclination angle necessary for a droplet to roll off the surface.)

    How a water droplet interacts with a solid surface determines if it is categorised as super hydrophobic, hydrophobic or hydrophilic. The higher the contact angle the higher the hydrophobicity of a surface. The surface is known to be hydrophilic when the water contact angle is less than 90° (Figure 1a), hydrophobic when the water contact angle is greater than 90° (Figure 1b) and superhydrophobic when the water contact angle is larger than 150° (Figure 1c).

     

    Lotus Effect

    Figure 1. A schematic showing (a) hydrophilic surface with water contact angle less than 90°; (b) hydrophobic surface with water contact angle greater than 90° and (c) superhydrophobic surface with water contact angle larger than 150°. Latthe, Terashima, Nakata & Fujishima (2014)

     

    The Lotus leaf is considered super hydrophobic as it has a water contact angle higher than 160° and a roll-off angle lower than 5°.

     

    Lotus Leaf Surface Structure

    The surface morphology of the Lotus leaf also has an important role. Whilst the Lotus leaf might visually appear to have a smooth surface it is actually quite rough at the nanoscale. Scientific studies have discovered that Lotus leaves have nanostructures on the surface which are coated with hydrophobic epicuticular, low surface energy wax crystals approximately 1 mm in diameter. It is this double structure of the surface that is responsible for the super hydrophobic and self cleaning properties of the leaf.

     

    ProPERLA and the Lotus Effect

    Over the course of millions of years of evolution, nature has perfected the design of the Lotus leaf. Using advanced technology science is precisely mimicking the chemical components and surface micro/nanostructures of the Lotus leaf in order to achieve the same super hydrophobic and self-cleaning capabilities for real-life applications.

    ProPERLA uses the latest silicone resin based nanotechnology to create super hydrophobic and self-cleaning coatings for a range of substrates.

     

     

    Keep your property warm & dry

    Just like the Lotus leaf, surfaces coated in ProPERLA will stay dry. When it rains the water forms beads and simply rolls off preventing the associated problems caused by rain penetration and damp.  By reducing the water absorption, ProPERLA has even been found to lower the thermal conductivity on mineral masonry building materials (thermal conductivity was measured according to the principles of EN ISO 15148) By lowering the water absorption, ProPERLA improves insulation and reduces energy loss.

     

    Ensure your property is clean & attractive

    Mimicking the Lotus leaf’s self-cleaning abilities, ProPERLA helps to keep your property clean. When the water rolls off the treated surface it collects any particles of dirt or dust and washes them away.

    By keeping your property clean and dry you will also be discouraging the unsightly growth of moss, algae and lichens and will even prevent salt efflorescence.

     

    Allow your building to breathe

    Not only does ProPERLA help to keep your property dry and clean, it also allows the building to breathe. It does not prevent the ability of water and moisture to escape.

     

    ProPERLA Masonry Crème, ProPERLA Coloured Facade Coating and ProPERLA Water Repellent all share the same super hydrophobic and self-cleaning properties of the Lotus leaf, all you need to do is choose the right product for your needs. Our technical support team can advise you on the most suitable product for your requirements, we even offer training.

     

    Call 0161 763 7074 to find out how ProPERLA can benefit your property

     

     

    References

     

    Ensikat HJ, Ditsche-Kuru P, Neinhuis C, Barthlott W. Superhydrophobicity in perfection: the outstanding properties of the lotus leaf. Barthlott W, Koch K, eds. Beilstein Journal of Nanotechnology. 2011;2:152-161. doi:10.3762/bjnano.2.19.

     

    Latthe, S.S.; Terashima, C.; Nakata, K.; Fujishima, A. Superhydrophobic Surfaces Developed by Mimicking Hierarchical Surface Morphology of Lotus Leaf. Molecules 2014;19, 4256-4283.

     

    Zhang, Mingqian & Feng, Shile & Wang, Lei & Zheng, Yongmei,  Lotus effect in wetting and self-cleaning. Biotribology. 2015;10.1016/j.biotri.2015.08.002.

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