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Hospitals choose spray foam to aid patient recovery

King's College Hospital has utilised spray foam insulation on its new Critical Care Centre

Spray foam insulation can be used in the healthcare sector to help regulate the internal temperature. It is said to be one of the highest performing insulation materials in terms of preventing heat loss when closed cell materials are chosen.

A superior insulant reportedly retains the heat for longer or prevents warmth from the sun entering the building during spells of hot weather. By controlling the internal temperature at an optimum level this is said to be a key factor in a patient’s recovery.

In the healthcare sector, King’s College Hospital’s Critical Care Centre has utilised spray foam insulation. The hospital says it is radically changing the way they care for the most seriously ill and injured patients by creating a new Critical Care Centre. Each year the dedicated team of nurses and doctors provide critical care for over 3,600 people who urgently require lifesaving medical treatment. The new £68 million Critical Care Unit will provide natural light, uplifting artwork and home comforts to create a more healing experience.

Construction of the new unit is above an existing theatre block in a busy working hospital. Insulating the steel ceiling above the operating theatre would prove challenging due to the heavy load of plant resting on the floor above. The plant room is unheated and could only be insulated from below with a material that was compact and versatile.

Walltite spray foam was chosen to provide 1700m2 of insulation to a depth of 155mm which could be sprayed from below onto the underside of the irregular-shaped corrugated sheeting, providing the required U-value and Class 0 fire rating.

The spray foam installer was Spray Foam Solutions, and BASF was the material supplier. Both companies are members of the British Urethane Foam Contractors Association, the national trade association for the spray foam industry.

The sprayed polyurethane foam insulant is a two-component liquid system which is said to produce a highly-efficient blanket of insulation with an exceptional thermal conductivity figure. Systems can be applied to various depths and have K-values in the range of 0.025 to 0.028W/mK.

This form of insulation can be used for airtightness and to help meet Building Regulations as wall, roof, or floor insulation – or to fill voids and other areas providing a seamless, thermal insulation barrier. Other jointed systems give rise to a potentially weak point, leading to a significant loss of insulation value.

Architects and specifiers working in the healthcare and other sectors should ensure that professional installers who operate to high standards are chosen. The British Urethane Foam Contractors Association has a list of competent registered installers for sprayed and injected polyurethane foam installations at www.bufca.co.uk.