/, Contextual, Cooling, Envelope, Heating, Long term, Owners, Physical environmental, Psychological/2.1.1 Adding or increasing external insulation in walls

2.1.1 Adding or increasing external insulation in walls

2.1.1 Adding or increasing external insulation in walls


External Thermal Insulation Composite Systems (ETICS) in retrofitting projects consist in adding a surface layer of thermal insulation (EPS, XPS, glass wool, cork…) externally attached (stuck, plastic pins and profiles) to the façades and visible party walls, to then protect the insulation using a new outside finish, usually based on mortar.


  • The added load to the structure and foundation is minimal

  • The internal space is respected, not affecting the useful surfaces

  • The work can be performed from the outside, without bothering the occupants of the building


  • It should not be used in buildings that are going to receive repeated and severe impacts

  • It should be studied the exposure to strong winds and not recommended in hurricane zones. For this reason, there should not be used either in high-rise buildings where the force of the wind is usually subject to special engineering solutions to ensure stability to long term

  • It is not recommended when the façade of the building to retrofit is not noticeably flat and vertical

Economic assessment

Initial investment: between 53 and 98 €/m2 depending on whether the installation is in situ or through prefabricated panels. This difference in initial price can be justified by long-term maintenance savings in repairs. Maintenance and replacement cost must be realistic for the building owner. Light systems based on EPS insulation are less expensive than heavy systems, insulated with XPS.

References and best practices

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