Date of Award


Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Engineering (Research)


Civil, Structural, & Environmental Engineering

First Advisor

Mary Moloney


The main aim of this literature review is to further develop the project brief and to examine what research has previously been undertaken in the field of thermal conductivity and retrofitting insulation. The basis of this project is to determine the effect of moisture in domestic cavity walls on the effectiveness of retrofitted insulation. The research began by highlighting the reasoning behind the need for insulation within domestic dwellings within Ireland and the guiding legislation in place in relation to this. Carrying on from this, the current methods used to retrofit insulation were examined, along with the types of insulation material available on the market.

The main focus of the research was on the methods employed for testing the thermal conductivity of a cavity wall section. This research resulted in the conclusion that this area has been widely investigated; however the area of moisture and its effect on the thermal conductivity of retrofitted insulation was not as widely researched. This fact, accompanied by experience gained from surveying houses for the purpose of BER ratings pre- and post- retrofitting for schemes run by the TEA and TLI combined to form the basis of this research.

The relevant standards in place in Ireland were assessed in terms of testing for thermal conductivity, and also those in place for calculating the u-values of a wall section which includes Technical Guidance Document L, CIBSE Guide A, ISO 8990, ISO 6946, and ISO 10456. Standards such as ASTM C236 and ISO 8990 were used to design the test that will be set up to determine relative values of the effect of varying moisture content and adhesion quality of the insulation to the wall surfaces. The results received from the proposed testing will be compared to values received from inputting each test scenario into modelling software, namely Wufi and THERM.

The results of the computer models and the proposed testing carried out will be further analysed and utilised to produce a sensitivity analysis in Microsoft Excel using Visual Basic. The modified thermal conductivities, as received from the testing, will then be input into DEAP using a model house in order to determine the effect of the new thermal conductivities on the overall energy usage and BER rating for a house.

Access Level