Coatings & Construction | Business Case

Insulating historic buildings for energy efficiency

IMCD Coatings & Construction has developed a new formulation for thermal insulation of historic buildings. The new material solves the unique challenges associated with reducing energy consumption in these iconic structures.


The built environment currently produces nearly 40% of annual global CO2 emissions, 27% of which is caused by building operations. Improving the sustainability profile of historic buildings is therefore essential to reducing global carbon emissions. This is particularly important at a time when volatile energy prices and climate change concerns demand greater energy efficiency.


Among the most widely used interventions for retrofitting existing buildings are External Thermal Insulation Composite Systems (ETICS). However, their use in historic buildings is limited since they are usually applied to building façades, which are protected by preservation laws.


IMCD Coatings & Construction proposes a new thermal insulation solution for historic buildings that uses a lightweight functional filler. The solution comprises three layers, including a thick mineral render, a skim coat, and decorative paint. Each has individual thermal insulation properties. Taken together, the layers reduce thermal conductivity by up to 20% as compared to standard ETICS systems, achieving the highest level of thermal insulation possible. As the solution can be used both internally and externally, it is flexible enough to suit a wide variety of buildings.

“By matching the original raw materials used in heritage and historic buildings, our thermal insulation system improves their energy efficiency while keeping their appearance and charm intact. With the new system, tradition meets innovation for perfect synergy between old and new.”

Roberta Pecchini

Technical Manager Coatings & Construction

The filler, which is available either in powder or granular form, works by trapping heat in its nanopores. Boasting a significant number of attributes, the filler is hydrophobic, and has a low thermal conductivity. It is also extremely lightweight in nature and with a smaller volume required as compared to existing solutions, the new filler offers a higher yield and improves job site productivity.

Furthermore, the solution provides strong mechanical properties that meet the requirements of the EN998-1 European standard for rendering and plastering mortars. These attributes make it one of the best insulating solutions on the market.

With its wide range of benefits, the new formulation supports a broad variety of applications in historic buildings, ensuring that these iconic structures maintain their integral role at the centre of their communities.

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