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UK Thermal Insulation market report

Everything you need to make the right decisions

Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the Thermal Insulation market, and the behaviours, preferences and habits of the consumer.

Mintel has the answers you’re looking for

What are the key challenges facing the industry and how fast are its rates of growth? Who is the consumer and what do they want? Where are the opportunities, where are the risks and what lies ahead?

Covered in this Report

For the purposes of this Report, Mintel has used the following definitions:

The market for thermal insulation incorporates both the building sector and industrial applications.

Building thermal insulation is segmented into the following sectors:

  • wall insulation, including cavity, internal and external installation
  • loft insulation
  • roof insulation
  • draught proofing
  • pipe and cylinder lagging
  • floor insulation

The industrial thermal insulation sector includes products used in process plant applications and the heating and ventilation sector.

Insulation materials are either inorganic or organic. Inorganic materials are produced from minerals, while organic materials are derived from oil. These products are available in either rigid or flexible form, utilising air as a natural insulator.

The main rigid in organic thermal insulation materials include:

  • glass mineral wool slabs and pipe sections
  • rock mineral wool slabs and pipe sections
  • calcium silicate
  • magnesia
  • cellular glass
  • microporous silica slabs, mouldings and pipe sections

Rigid organic insulation products are manufactured from a range of materials including:

  • Polyurethane (PUR)
  • Polyisocyanurate foam (PIR)
  • phenolic foam
  • expanded polystyrene (EPS)
  • extruded polystyrene (XPS)
  • rigid cellular plastics

Flexible inorganic insulation materials principally include:

  • glass mineral wool rolls and mats
  • rock mineral wool rolls and mats
  • ceramic fibre rolls and mats

The principal flexible organic materials are manufactured from:

  • expanded nitrile rubber
  • polyethylene foam
  • flexible polyurethane foam

All values quoted in this report are at current prices unless otherwise specified. The majority of the market size data is quoted at contractors' prices. Where applicable, market values quoted at contractors’ prices also include the value of DIY installations.

What you need to know

Government schemes promoting home energy efficiency measures (predominately through energy company obligation programmes such as ECO) have provided a boost to the building thermal insulation market over the last two decades, especially for cavity wall and loft insulation measures, and in more recent years solid wall insulation. However, frequent changes to government programmes have resulted in a stop-start retro-fit building thermal insulation market, encouraging a number of companies to shift focus from retro-fit to the new build sector.

The ECO scheme will continue to be a key driver of the retro-fit sector, but will not provide a renewed boost to thermal insulation measures as there has been no increase in government funding, while supplier obligation funding is only available to households at risk of fuel poverty. The private housebuilding sector is, however, expected to continue to provide a positive impetus for thermal insulation demand.

New incentives and funding mechanisms, such as green mortgage products, will play a vital role in stimulating growth in the ‘able-to-pay’ homeowner market as homeowners are reluctant to implement insulation-based energy-saving measures without a strong financial incentive.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by Claudia Preedy, a leading analyst in the B2B sector, her extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

UK demand for thermal insulation has demonstrated an erratic development over recent years. This has been exacerbated by changes to government programmes promoting home energy efficiency measures, which has resulted in stop-start activity in the retro-fit building insulation market. The recovery in UK construction activity has, however, provided more stable growth opportunities for thermal insulation companies. The private housebuilding sector will continue to provide a positive impetus for thermal insulation demand, while the commercial construction sector is expected to be negatively affected by Brexit-related uncertainties, at least in the short term. Claudia Preedy
B2B Analyst

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Covered in this Report
      • Executive Summary

          • The market
            • Decline in thermal insulation market exacerbated by funding cuts to energy efficiency schemes
              • Figure 1: The UK market for thermal insulation, by sector, 2013-17
            • Building thermal insulation market contracts by an estimated 8% in 2017
              • Figure 2: UK market for building thermal insulation, by type, 2017
            • Demand for industrial thermal insulation shows moderate growth
              • Sustainability, thinner materials and easier installation are key focus of product innovation
                • Market growth expected to remain restricted
                  • Figure 3: Forecast UK market for thermal insulation, by sector, 2018-22
                • Companies and brands
                  • Major manufacturers invest in UK plants
                    • Installers are increasingly adopting multi-measure approach
                      • What we think
                      • Issues and Insights

                        • Long-term government framework for energy efficiency is needed to provide a clear direction and certainty for the insulation industry and supply chain
                          • The facts
                            • The implications
                              • New incentives and funding mechanism required to boost ‘able-to-pay’ market
                                • The facts
                                  • The implications
                                  • The Market – What You Need to Know

                                    • Cuts to government schemes supress growth in thermal insulation market
                                      • Frequent changes to government policies have resulted in a stop-start retro-fit market
                                        • Demand for industrial thermal insulation shows moderate growth
                                          • Market growth expected to remain restricted
                                          • Market Size

                                            • Overview
                                              • Reduced government funding for energy efficiency schemes exacerbates decline in UK thermal insulation market
                                                • Figure 4: The UK market for thermal insulation, 2013-17
                                                • Figure 5: UK market for thermal insulation, 2013-17
                                              • Building thermal insulation accounts for more than 70% of thermal insulation market
                                                • Figure 6: Segmentation of the UK market for thermal insulation, by sector, 2013-17
                                            • Market Segmentation

                                              • Building thermal insulation
                                                • Frequent changes to home energy efficiency policies have resulted in a stop-start retro-fit market
                                                  • UK building thermal insulation market contracts by an estimated 8% in 2017
                                                    • Figure 7: UK market for building thermal insulation, 2013-17
                                                  • Segmentation by type of building thermal insulation
                                                    • Key building insulation measures struggle to achieve demand growth
                                                      • Figure 8: UK market for building thermal insulation, by type of insulation, 2013-17
                                                      • Figure 9: UK market for building thermal insulation, by type of insulation, 2013-17
                                                    • Cavity wall insulation
                                                      • 69% of homes with cavity walls are insulated
                                                        • Cavity wall insulation demand restrained due to cuts in home energy efficiency schemes
                                                          • Figure 10: UK market for cavity wall insulation, 2013-17
                                                          • Figure 11: UK market for cavity wall insulation, 2013-17
                                                        • Loft insulation
                                                          • A third of homes with lofts are still uninsulated
                                                            • Majority of loft insulation is mineral and glass wool produced in blanket rolls
                                                              • Reduced retro-fit demand is partly counteracted by increased new housebuilding activity
                                                                • Figure 12: UK market for loft insulation, 2013-17
                                                                • Figure 13: UK market for loft insulation, 2013-17
                                                              • Draught proofing
                                                                  • Figure 14: UK market for draught proofing, 2013-17
                                                                • Roof insulation
                                                                  • Roof insulation benefits from increased demand for loft conversions in domestic sector
                                                                    • Pitched roofing accounts for largest element of roof insulation
                                                                      • Roof insulation market demonstrates relatively consistent growth
                                                                        • Figure 15: UK market for roof insulation, 2013-17
                                                                      • External wall insulation
                                                                        • Just 9% of homes with solid walls are insulated
                                                                          • Impact of government schemes on solid wall insulation uptake
                                                                            • External wall insulation market has declined in recent years, except for a temporary spike in 2014
                                                                              • Figure 16: UK market for external wall insulation, 2013-17
                                                                            • Internal wall insulation
                                                                              • Materials used for internal wall insulation
                                                                                • Internal wall insulation market down by an estimated 27% in 2017
                                                                                  • Figure 17: UK market for internal wall insulation, 2012-16
                                                                                • Pipe and cylinder lagging
                                                                                  • Demand for pipe and cylinder lagging demonstrates relatively consistent growth between 2013 and 2017
                                                                                    • Figure 18: UK market for pipe & cylinder lagging, 2013-17
                                                                                  • Floor insulation
                                                                                    • Floor insulation market grew by an estimated 2% in 2017
                                                                                      • Figure 19: UK market for floor insulation, 2013-17
                                                                                    • Industrial thermal insulation market
                                                                                      • Demand for industrial thermal insulation shows moderate growth
                                                                                        • Figure 20: UK market for industrial thermal insulation, 2013-17
                                                                                      • Industrial thermal insulation by material
                                                                                          • Figure 21: UK market for industrial thermal insulation, by material, 2017
                                                                                          • Figure 22: UK market for industrial thermal insulation, by type, 2017
                                                                                        • Industrial thermal insulation market by end user
                                                                                          • Figure 23: UK market for industrial thermal insulation, by end use sector, 2017
                                                                                      • Market Forecast

                                                                                        • Market growth expected to remain restricted
                                                                                          • Figure 24: Forecast UK market for thermal insulation, 2018-22
                                                                                          • Figure 25: Forecast UK market for thermal insulation, 2017-22
                                                                                          • Figure 26: Forecast segmentation of the UK market for thermal insulation, by sector, 2018-22
                                                                                        • Building thermal insulation forecast
                                                                                          • ‘Able-to-pay’ market needs to be stimulated
                                                                                            • Solid wall, loft and cavity wall insulation to remain key measures under ECO scheme
                                                                                              • Figure 27: Forecast for UK market for building thermal insulation, by type, 2018-22
                                                                                              • Figure 28: Forecast for UK market for building thermal insulation, by type, 2018-22
                                                                                          • Supply Sources

                                                                                            • UK production of thermal insulation materials is on the up
                                                                                              • Figure 29: UK production of selected thermal insulation materials, 2013-17
                                                                                              • Figure 30: Segmentation of the UK production of selected thermal insulation materials, by material, 2012-16
                                                                                              • Figure 31: Segmentation of the UK production of selected thermal insulation materials, by material, 2017
                                                                                            • Investment plans at UK insulation material manufacturing plants
                                                                                              • Trends in imports
                                                                                                • Figure 32: UK imports of selected thermal insulation materials, 2013-17
                                                                                                • Figure 33: Segmentation of UK imports of selected thermal insulation materials, by material, 2013-17
                                                                                              • Trends in exports
                                                                                                • Figure 34: UK exports of selected thermal insulation materials, 2012-16
                                                                                                • Figure 35: Segmentation of UK exports of thermal insulation materials, by material, 2013-17
                                                                                                • Figure 36: UK trade surplus/deficit in thermal insulation materials, by material, 2013-17
                                                                                            • Structure of Distribution Network

                                                                                              • Move towards one-stop, single sourcing of insulation solutions from distributors
                                                                                              • Market Trends

                                                                                                • Sustainability, thinner materials and easier installation are key areas of product innovation
                                                                                                  • Innovative robotic insulation solution enables more efficient and less disruptive floor insulation installation
                                                                                                    • Material price rises threaten supplier profits
                                                                                                      • Installers increasingly adopt multi-measure approach
                                                                                                      • Regulatory and Legislative Changes

                                                                                                        • Building regulations
                                                                                                          • Government commitment to reduce carbon emissions
                                                                                                            • Clean Growth Strategy puts better insulated homes back on government agenda
                                                                                                              • Robust policy framework and solid plans are required to deliver the government’s home energy efficiency ambitions
                                                                                                                • Energy supplier obligation initiatives to improve energy efficiency of domestic homes
                                                                                                                  • Reduced government funding for new ECO schemes (ECO2t 2017-18 and ECO3 2018-22)
                                                                                                                    • Innovation element to be introduced in new ECO scheme
                                                                                                                      • Green Deal has minimum impact on building thermal insulation market
                                                                                                                        • Green Deal relaunched in June 2017 under new private ownership
                                                                                                                          • Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards for private rented sector
                                                                                                                            • Enhanced Capital Allowance Scheme encourages investment in energy-saving equipment
                                                                                                                              • Each Home Counts Review to improve quality and standards for retro-fit energy efficiency installations
                                                                                                                              • Market Drivers

                                                                                                                                • Housing stock characteristics
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 37: Number of UK households, 1991-17
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 38: Government predictions of the number of households in the UK, 2019-37
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 39: Housing stock distribution in England, by age, 2016
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 40: Housing stock analysis for England, by type, 2016
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 41: Housing stock distribution in Scotland by age, 2016
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 42: Housing stock analysis for Scotland, by type, 2016
                                                                                                                                • Growing private rented sector offers opportunities for thermal insulation installers
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 43: UK home ownership trends, 2006-16
                                                                                                                                • Government plans to improve energy performance standards of UK homes
                                                                                                                                  • Current insulation levels in housing stock, and remaining potential
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 44: Remaining potential to insulate the housing stock in GB, December 2017
                                                                                                                                    • Construction activity
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 45: Construction output in Great Britain, by type, 2013-17
                                                                                                                                    • Growth in construction output expected to slow
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 46: Forecast construction output in Great Britain, 2018-22
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 47: Forecast construction output in Great Britain, 2018-22
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 48: Forecast construction output in Great Britain, 2018-22
                                                                                                                                    • Government energy efficiency schemes drive retro-fit building thermal insulation measures
                                                                                                                                      • 7% of households had a measure installed under ECO scheme
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 49: Number of key insulation ECO measures installed, by measure type, Q1 2013-Q4 2017
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 50: Number of insulation ECO measures installed, by obligation, January 2013 to March 2017
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 51: Key insulation ECO measures installed, by obligation, January 2013 to March 2017
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 52: Number of insulation ECO Help-To-Heat measures installed, by obligation, April 2017 to March 2018
                                                                                                                                        • Drivers in heating and ventilation sector
                                                                                                                                          • Drivers for process plant investment
                                                                                                                                          • Companies and Brands – What You Need to Know

                                                                                                                                            • Manufacturers’ investment in UK production facilities suggests optimism in market growth potential
                                                                                                                                              • Major firms starting to adopt digitalisation innovation
                                                                                                                                                • Sustainability plays increasingly important role in thermal insulation industry
                                                                                                                                                • Industry Structure

                                                                                                                                                  • Industry development
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 53: Analysis of the changes in the other non-metallic mineral products manufacturing industry, 2013-17
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 54: Analysis of the changes in the glass fibres manufacturing industry, 2013-17
                                                                                                                                                    • Structure by employment
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 55: Analysis of the employment structure of the other non-metallic mineral products manufacturing industry, 2016 and 2017
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 56: Analysis of the employment structure of the glass fibres manufacturing industry, 2016 and 2017
                                                                                                                                                    • Structure by turnover
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 57: Analysis of the financial structure of the other non-metallic mineral products manufacturing industry, 2016 and 2017
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 58: Analysis of the financial structure of the glass fibres manufacturing industry, 2016 and 2017
                                                                                                                                                  • Company Profiles

                                                                                                                                                    • Encon Insulation
                                                                                                                                                      • Recent activity
                                                                                                                                                        • Financial performance
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 59: Financial analysis of Encon Insulation, 2012-16
                                                                                                                                                        • Company outlook
                                                                                                                                                          • Jablite
                                                                                                                                                            • Recent activity
                                                                                                                                                              • Company strategy
                                                                                                                                                                • Financial performance
                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 60: Financial analysis of Jablite, 2012-16
                                                                                                                                                                • Kingspan Insulation
                                                                                                                                                                  • Recent activity
                                                                                                                                                                    • Financial performance
                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 61: Financial analysis of Kingspan Insulation, 2012-16
                                                                                                                                                                    • Company strategy
                                                                                                                                                                      • Innovation highlights in 2017
                                                                                                                                                                        • Knauf Insulation
                                                                                                                                                                          • Recent activity
                                                                                                                                                                            • Financial performance
                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 62: Financial analysis of Knauf Insulation, 2012-16
                                                                                                                                                                            • Rockwool
                                                                                                                                                                              • Company strategy
                                                                                                                                                                                • Financial performance
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 63: Financial analysis of Rockwool, 2012-16
                                                                                                                                                                                • SIG
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Company strategy
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Financial performance
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 64: Financial analysis of SIG, 2013-17
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Superglass Holdings
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Acquisition by Inflection, part of Russian TechnoNICOL Group
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Company performance
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 65: Financial analysis of Superglass Holdings, 2013-17
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Company strategy
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Appendix – Data Sources, Abbreviations and Supporting Information

                                                                                                                                                                                            • Abbreviations
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Methodology
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Further Sources and Contacts

                                                                                                                                                                                                • Trade associations
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Association for the Conservation of Energy
                                                                                                                                                                                                    • British Urethane Foam Contractors Association (BUFCA)
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Energy Industries Council
                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Energy Saving Trust
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Insulation Manufacturers Association (IMA)
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • National Insulation Association
                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Thermal Insulation Contractors’ Association
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Thermal Insulation Manufacturers & Suppliers Association
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Trade magazines
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Building Control
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Insulate Magazine
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Roofing, Cladding & Insulation
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Trade events
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • National Homebuilding & Renovating Show
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • edie live 2018
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Northern Homebuilding & Renovating Show
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Scottish Homebuilding & Renovation Show
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Southern Homebuilding & Renovating Show
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • South-West Homebuilding & Renovating Show