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July 19, 2022 – Published in Design & Decor Spring-Summer 2022 issue

Mediterranean Building Finishes (MBF) – Conserving energy through innovative insulation systems

Way back in 1988, Kevin Camilleri was building his house at a time when, locally, interior finishings were more functional rather than aesthetically attractive. On work trips to Italy, he observed how the houses there exhibited smooth, elegant finishes – which he sought to recreate in his own home. That decision was the foundation of the finishing company he eventually established in 1991.

Today, Kevin runs Mediterranean Building Finishes (MBF) together with his son Keith. Theirs was one of the first companies in Malta to introduce novel techniques such as graffiato and gypsum plaster. Additionally, MBF is one of the very few local businesses which still employs its original workers, unlike other enterprises with a high labour turnover. This is the core of the company’s success as one of the leaders in building finishes today.

MBF applies ingenious systems to thermally insulate buildings and safeguard the environment.

The father and son team have been using this technique since 2007. It involves a new and improved way of saving on energy through the proper insulation of buildings. Their wish is to create more awareness about their product, especially among upcoming architects and designers, so as to make it standard practice in all development projects.

Most people install double glazing in their homes, whilst roofs of buildings are covered in reflective membrane or layers of jablo under the concrete. What many do not realise is that the largest exposed areas are the walls, through which an abundance of heat – and cool air in summer – is often lost. 

Through the use of extruded polystyrene (XPS), the building is entirely enclosed, ensuring minimal thermal losses. This energy-saving method does not necessarily mean aesthetics can be overlooked. In fact, with MBF’s system, the outer layer is coated with a silicate finish in any colour. This covers the XPS layer and effectively disguises the thermal insulation protecting the building.

So, what are the advantages of using XPS?

Houses in Malta are typically very cold and humid, due to the absence of or low-quality insulation. It is worth exploring the main benefits of investing in proper insulation of your home or office building, which leads to a number of advantageous elements in the long run.

1. Reduced energy loss

Inadequate insulation results in energy wastage of up to 30% when domestic heating systems are used to heat up the home. If a building has insulation on the roof and within the walls, warm air generated by these heaters will not escape, and their use may be reduced significantly. Likewise, in summer, switching on the air conditioner for a couple of hours is enough to cool the place, because XPS traps the cold air inside.

2. Savings on electricity bills

Losing heat and cool air through your walls means you are squandering money unnecessarily. Proper insulation ensures your heaters and air conditioners do not need to be used so frequently. This will slash your household costs by up to 40%, depending on the type and size of your property. The initial expense of installing insulation may seem pricey, but within four years, the savings you make on your bills will recover the cost. Additionally, a more efficient energy system at home will help increase the value of your property if you come to sell it.

3. Preservation of the environment

Nowadays, people are more aware of the ecological damage our planet is suffering. The escalation in the Earth’s temperature levels is due, in large part, to the high amounts of carbon dioxide emitted worldwide, contributing to the ‘greenhouse effect’ which traps heat around the planet. The importance of this sustainable measure must, therefore, play a major role in the decision to insulate all buildings. Reducing the consumption of thermal energy indoors – and, consequently, decreasing emissions of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere – is certainly beneficial to our environment. 

4. Less damage to the building

Apart from ensuring pleasant temperatures all year round, insulating your home prevents condensation, which may lead to significant damage from humidity and mould. In this way, you are also protecting the wallpaper, plaster, and paint indoors. Furthermore, reducing damp in the home will also safeguard the health of its occupants by removing the cause of chronic conditions such as asthma.

Today, Mediterranean Building Finishes Ltd has acquired an outstanding portfolio of projects, both large- and small-scale. 

Various hotels, companies, and homeowners around Malta have resorted to MBF’s expert touch in structural finishings, turnkey services, and insulation systems. Among these names, you may find the Westin Dragonara, Costa del Sol, The Palace, the Embassy Hotel, the Malta Maritime Trade Centre, the Lufthansa Technik hangars, The Point Shopping Mall, as well as a number of private villas and houses. Together with their impressive Tigné Midi Project, MBF recently completed the Land’s End Hotel. Additionally, Fort Cambridge is among the company’s most notable undertakings which also includes the XPS insulation system. 

MBF’s success story is due to the Camilleris’ dedication to strong commitment, flexibility in operational roles, and a keen eye on contemporary trends. Together with their team, they continue to provide high-quality operations which always ensure satisfactory outcomes for their clients nationwide.

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