Climate Challenge Fund

Introduction


Forfar Dramatic Society has many ambitions. It seeks to give local people an opportunity to engage in dramatic activities including acting, stage management, directing and publicity - just some of the tasks involved in running a busy amateur theatre group!

We also seek to bring high quality drama to our local audiences!

AND we seek to upgrade our drama halls into a suitable venue for the performance of community theatre for audiences in comfort and safety.

To this end we have been involved in applying for funding to insulate our drama hall and other public areas of the building.


If you would like to learn from our experience - please read on! (We acknowledge the Energy Saving Trust website as the source of the following information - it''s largely who we learned from!) 


Why insulate your older stone built hall in a damp Scottish town?


Solid wall insulation is an effective way to stop wasting energy and money at home. In winter, a well insulated hall keeps warmth exactly where it needs to be - indoors.

So, insulating your walls will help to heat your home more efficiently. Using less energy reduces carbon dioxide (CO2): one of the biggest causes of climate change. It will help you stop wasting money on your energy bills too.

In fact, by insulating your solid walls you could cut your heating costs by up to 40%. By using less energy, your household will produce less CO2. So, insulating your walls is a great way to help fight climate change.



How to insulate an older stone built hall in a damp, small Scottish town.


1/ The Ceiling

In 2010, we received £1000 from Angus Council Community Grant Scheme to pay for ceiling insulation. This was quite straightforward:

      • We bought Space blanket insulation material (easier to work with than the loft roll insulation that isn't held together in a 'wrap').
      • We have access to our loft space above the ceiling - thank goodness - and our brave volunteers climbed up to lay the material between the joists.
      • We prepared a risk assessment first and made sure everyone was safe! It's a long way to fall!
      • We laid two layers of space blanket with a gap around the walls - if the space blanket had covered the loft floor right up to the walls we would have trapped moisture and could have developed damp problems in the future.
Buoyed by our success we applied to the Climate Challenge Fund for just over £18000 to further insulate the walls, floor and coombes of the hall - it's not cheap and you'll be advised to seek funding unless you can for it yourself! But first we had to carefully research how to effectively insulate the wall of an older, stone built hall in a damp, small Scottish town - more of a challenge than the ceiling!


2/ The Walls

If your hall in a damp, small Scottish town was built before or around 1920, its external walls are likely to be solid rather than having "cavity walls". Cavity walls are made of two layers with a small gap or "cavity" between them. This cavity acts as a barrier to reduce heat flow through the wall.

Old stone walls have no such gap and this allows more heat to pass through them than through cavity walls. In fact, twice as much heat can be lost through the un-insulated solid wall as through an un-insulated cavity wall.

But the good news was that, like cavity walls, solid walls can be insulated - from the inside or the outside.

We looked at the two options: internal insulation (from the inside) or external insulation (from the outside). Both options would make the hall warmer and more comfortable, and greatly reduce our heating bills at the same time.

External wall insulation would have involved rendering the exterior walls of the building and would have almost certainly have been cheaper than applying the insulating materials to the interior walls as we eventually decided. However, there were access issues both from the point of view of builders being able to physically get their workers and materials to the sites, and from the point of view of having to approach our neighbours as all the land immediately around the building is owned by other parties. Also the exterior of the walls - ashlar sandstone - is still in good condition and the general appearance would not necessarily have been improved from a planning point of view.

We went for the option of insulating from the inside. We did our research and concluded that it would involve the following steps:

      • We would have to clear the hall of all our 'clobber' to give the builders room to operate
      • We would have to strip the old plaster from the walls and arrange for a skip and labour to remove the spoil.
      • We would have to put a new wood frame up against the interior of the exterior stone wall (let me know when I'm losing you) to hold the insulating material away from the stone wall to make sure we would not develop damp problems - ie. the wall would still have to 'breathe'.
      • Kingspan - a propriety insulating material - would be attached to the wood frame - but not touching the stone wall.
      • New plasterboard would be attached over the Kingspan, then taped and decorated.
This was indeed a challenge, and it was on this basis that we applied for funding from the Climate Challenge Fund.


However after we received the grant, further consultation with insulation experts turned up the following information:

      • If your original plaster is in good condition; has a gap between it and the exterior stone wall AND you can identify little air vents in the exterior of your exterior walls to let it 'breathe', then you do not have to remove the original plaster and can apply the frame and Kingspan direct to the original plaster and cover it with plasterboard and tape.
Brilliant! Saves money on a skip and a LOT of labour - but only if the above conditions are evident.

(Hope you like dusting.)



3/ The Floors

The original plan was quite simply to invite our builder friends to go below the floors (the hall has an old cellar/shooting gallery below it - don't ask me why), insert Kingspan between the joists and secure in place. Bingo!

Unfortunately, despite our expectations, we discovered that when we tried to access below the floors, they had been filled with rubble from a previous refurbishment. After some more deliberation we discovered that a product called Versilay - a flooring which would cover our floorboards, seal all drafts and provide insulation. We had to buy some vinyl (modern word for lino) over it to protect it. Despite being fleet footed aesthetes sometimes our floor does take some abuse when we're preparing sets and shifting equipment. This however increases the insulating/draught-proofing qualities.


4/ General Draughts

Let's not underestimate this aspect! Nobody likes sitting in a draught. You could end up with risus sardonicus - which will not be wiped away by the accompanying high fuel bills as you pump in more heat to combat the cold coming in.

To this end we purchased fire doors as an effective seal against draughts - and an essential safety feature too. And the opening to the cellar/shooting gallery? We had the builders put a lovely plasterboard box and door over this to stop the flood of cold air from below.



Links

This is our experience - your hall may have different features or aspects which make it a different case. We recommend thoroughly that you read more at:

The Films

As part of the process, two films were produced.  In the first, Society President Neil Paterson, takes you through the process of our clubroom insulation installation and can be viewed below, or by opening this link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ibva4JzWYe8



The second film was devised, scripted and performed by our Youth Theatre.  The film is entitled
Think Global and can be viewed below, or by opening this link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8S9-LLyj96o<BR>

 


 











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