Fact Sheet Case Study Glasgow

Country United Kingdom
City Glasgow
District Yoker
Climate Temperate oceanic (Cfb)
Type of building Four storey tenement, traditional stone masonry (sandstone bedded in mortar), plasterboard interior finishes, refurbished during the 1980s
Year of Construction 1910-1920
Use of building Residential
Classification Traditional building, not listed and not included in conservation area
Type of intervention Building refurbishment: installation of an aerogel fibre insulation product, manufactured from a polyester fibre mesh impregnated with silica aerogel as insulant
Suitability of intervention In historic buildings, the application of external wall insulation is usually inappropriate and might also be unsuitable on the interior, as it can compromise the historic character of the building or can reduce useful area. The product developed, is to be blown, as a loosefill material, into cavities behind internal wall finishes, using commercial blowing machines, avoiding any change on the interior or exterior walls of the building.
The applicability of the product is suitable for buildings with plaster-on-laths wall finishes, as they leave air cavities which can be filled by blowing an insulant. The same application technique can also be used to fill cavities behind plasterboard drylining, often used in late 20th century renovations. The installation process only requires a few holes and is thereby fast and cost effective and only causes minimal disruption to building fabric and occupants.
Scope of intervention To demonstrate practicality of the installation in real conditions; to trial hygrothermal performances of the insulation by measuring heat flow, relative humidity and temperature and to test the product’s reversibility.
Installation requirements It is recommended to blow the material with strong ventilation or vacuum cleaner, due to the dust produced during the installation.
Monitoring Over a period of 10 months, heat flow, relative humidity and temperatures are being measures externally, internally and interstitially in two rooms. In one room, the insulation was installed into the internal cavities at window breasts. The other room is monitored to allow comparative assessment.


The historic district of Govanhill is dominated by traditional sandstone tenements, a building type very typical for Scottish cities and towns. The Glasgow case study will demonstrate the use of adapted aerogel insulation solutions, blown into existing cavities behind existing internal wall finishes, typically plaster on laths. The products will be trialing in up to four tenement flats. The tenements will be turn of the 19th and 20th centuries and of traditional construction (mass stone walls, constructed with lime mortar, and internally finished with lime plaster on timber laths on timber battens). The tenement building will not be heritage protected (i.e. it will neither be ‘listed’ or nor within a ‘conservation area’).

These buildings are almost always unrendered externally. For heritage reasons, external wall insulation is therefore generally considered as not suitable. Mainstream internal retrofit solutions are generally invasive and costly, and result in significant damage or loss of the internal historic building fabric. The insulation solution proposed for trialling in these tenements will provide a costeffective solution with minimised disruption both to occupiers and building fabric.

Glasgow is located on the river Clyde, close to Scotland’s Atlantic coastline. It is therefore of a temperate maritime climate. In spite of its northerly latitude, close to the same line as Moscow and Copenhagen, Glasgow’s climate is classified as Moderate Oceanic. The climate is mild but wet. Climate change research indicates that the amount of precipitation is likely to increase in the future. Together with often strong winds and limited solar gains (particularly during the winter months) results in an increased risk of dampness in building materials / elements and fabric deterioration due to driving rain. These climatic influences will to be taken into account in the trialling of the new aerogel insulation products.

The Glasgow case study is coordinated by the EFFESUS partner SCOTLAND, together with Glasgow City Council, the city’s municipal administration.