The Startlink lightweight building system

The Startlink lightweight building system has been being developed by a consortium of companies with additional funding from the Technology Strategy Board - UK. Its aim is to revolutionise house-building. It is intended that both Passivhaus and Sustainability Code 6 criteria for overall thermal resistance and air-tightness would be met by the external envelope of the prototype Startlink house.

Startlink is a pultruded glass reinforced composite component kit which can be rapidly assembled into a wide variety of low-rise building forms without metal fastenings. ‘Thermal bridging’ is eliminated. The inherent dimensional stability of pultruded profiles means that air-tightness is easily achieved. Passivhaus and Code level 6 standards for eco-performance are anticipated to be met without difficulty and with minimal cost penalty.

The Startlink lightweight building system is stable, inert and impervious to moisture, requiring only the addition of insulation to build houses. With appropriate insulation, the Startlink lightweight building system house has lower embodied energy than a conventional timber frame building (containing kiln-dried, irrigated wood and raised from mass concrete footings). It avoids site waste (20-25% of all UK waste) and reduces shipping and assembly costs because of its light weight. Lightweight houses are easier to build and heat but lack thermal mass to mitigate summertime over-heating of a highly insulated interior. The Startlink lightweight building systems solution is to use a “green” roof which retains water for evaporative cooling and the thermal mass of the ground below. Organic fibre insulation is placed behind robust, vapour permeable linings to control internal temperature and humidity.. It has a natural ventilation heat recovery (NVHR) system, which is used in tandem with a ‘combi’ hot water heater.

The opening of the house was 6.11.2012 in Lincolnshire

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Exel Composites Oyj, Vantaa head office, Mäkituvantie 5, FI-01510 Vantaa, Finland