North East housing provider Thirteen has become the first to test an eco-friendly, carbon negative insulation in one of its homes.

The ground-breaking solution developed by Yorkshire based Corksol Ltd in partnership with Teesside University aims to create an affordable solution to help reduce energy wastage and fuel poverty.

The thermally enhanced cork-based coating is being funded through Innovate UK’s Sustainable Innovation Fund, whose aim is to help rebuild all sectors of the UK economy and create new opportunities following the pandemic.

The final product was obtained after multiple designs and trials in the laboratory at Teesside University, led by Dr Yongxin Pan. The application and thermal properties of the product are part of a live demonstration, supervised by Dr Sergio Rodriguez.

With millions of hard-to-treat homes across the UK, this innovative coating made from natural cork, has been tested over the last nine months in a laboratory by the team who are working to improve its thermal performance and now, it is being put to the test in the first home in the UK, in Stockton on Tees.

The 8mm cork coating is applied by a spray method in just a couple of days and is expected to deliver the same level of insulation as that of mineral wool, without losing interior space.

Joff Ward, managing director for Corksol says, “This is a completely natural and sustainable product. This innovative solution could be the answer to insulating millions of homes to reducing energy bills and fuel poverty, increasing comfort and improving wellbeing in the future.

“There is a massive need for thin internal wall insulation. By redeveloping our existing cork product, we’ve been able to enhance its thermal performance, to protect homes from heat loss and damp. 

“Corksol’s unique cork render can be applied in two thin coats, with a 2mm over skim of plaster, allowing for architectural features to remain in place.”

Helen Ivison, asset infrastructure manager for Thirteen says, “We’re delighted to be working with Corksol and Teesside University, to test this innovative product on one of our homes.

“We needed to find two properties which were like-for-like, with no previous wall insulation, so that the cork product could be applied to just one of the homes, allowing for monitoring to take place over a twelve-month period.

“Smart meters have been installed in both homes, to read the energy usage, which is monitored remotely through sensors in the homes.

“Projects like this will give us essential insight into how we ensure Thirteen’s properties move towards our goal of being carbon neutral in the future.”

Main pic: Joff Ward, managing director for Corksol, Helen Ivison, asset infrastructure manager for Thirteen and Dr Sergio Rodriguez, Teesside University.