Research estimates that up to 44% of the energy used by the average household is expended on heating or cooling the home. The good news is that by installing – or even increasing the amount of – insulation in your home, you can save loads of energy and reduce your electricity spend on air conditioning by 10–50%.
How does insulation work?
Insulation works by counteracting air’s natural tendency to move from warm areas towards colder areas. This means that during the winter months, insulation prevents cold air from coming into your home through the ceilings or walls. And, in summer, insulation works to keep the heat out and cool air inside. In short, insulation stabilises the core temperature in your home so you won’t need to turn your heater up to the maximum setting in winter or crank the air conditioner to icy cold in summer.
There are two main types of insulation available: bulk insulation and reflective foil. Bulk insulation is typically used to insulate walls and ceilings, and is most often manufactured from fibreglass mineral wool (rockwool); synthetic fibre or sheep’s wool. It is usually available as blankets – long rolls that must be cut to fit into place – or batts which are pre-cut. Some products use a combination of both bulk material and reflective foil to achieve their insulating effect.
Most importantly, what makes a good insulator good is its poor heat conductivity. A particular insulation material’s lack of capacity to conduct heat – in other words, its thermal resistance – is measured by its R-value. The higher its R-value, the more blocking capacity or insulation it provides and the more energy and money you will potentially save. For example, insulation with a R2.6 rating will be more effective than insulation with a R1.6 rating.
It is the tiny air particles trapped in the insulating material that impart its thermal resistance properties. And it stands to reason that different materials have different heat blocking capabilities, therefore different R-values. The R-value is determined by the type of insulation material used, including its density and thickness, as well as how well and where in your home it’s installed. Since R-values are cumulative, the total R-value for your home is the sum of the R-values of the various insulation installed.
See here more information about Isotherm Insulation – Thermal Insulation Product Specifications.
What insulation do you need?
Choosing the appropriate R-value for the insulation in your home largely depends on where you live. If you live in a colder area, you’ll need insulation with a higher R-value than required in warm climates. Other important factors to consider are:
- the structure of your home – it is a single- or multi-storey;
- the design of your ceilings;
- whether your home has a basement, or is built on a slab?
All these factors can impact the level of insulation your home needs.
To get a good idea of where energy is being wasted in your home you can do an energy audit. This involves checking your heating or air conditioning system; windows; doors and so on to determine where your home might be losing energy. You can do a basic walk-through yourself, but it’s probably best to call in a professional to do a more thorough audit and advise you as to how to make your house more energy efficient.
Not only will insulation help you save energy and the environment, its natural absorptive qualities can help prevent unpleasant noises generated by appliances, conversations, audio equipment and the like being transmitted through the walls or floors of your home. Installing insulation will make it easier to keep your home at a constant and comfortable temperature and reduce the strain on your heaters or air conditioners, ensuring their longevity.
Save energy with eco-conscious insulation
Not all insulation options are created equal and while installing any type of insulation will definitely help you save energy, choosing an eco-friendly insulation option can go a long way to helping the environment in general. Fortunately, the green movement has brought us a whole range of natural insulation materials from which to choose including cellulose; flax; hemp; straw and sheep wool as well as recycled PET harvested from discarded plastic cold drink bottles.
One excellent example of eco-friendly insulation is ISOTHERM Thermal Insulation which, true to our green mandate, is manufactured from the thermally-bonded polyester of recycled PET bottles. In keeping with green building principles, ISOTHERM promotes passive temperature control by insulating roofs, insulating walls, insulating geysers and hot water pipes, helping you save energy and cut your heating and cooling costs.
The bottom line is that a well-insulated home can save precious energy and money. And with rising electricity costs, insulating your home is certainly an investment worth considering. Not to mention the significant difference you can make to our planet by taking steps to counteract your carbon footprint.