How Insulation is Used to Increase a Home’s Energy Efficiency
There are numerous different factors that can determine how energy efficient a home is, from the layout and composition of the building and the construction materials, to the appliances and equipment used within it. But insulation remains one of the most important aspects and considerations for those looking to receive their building's 6 Star energy rating. This article will go into details on insulating a home -
The Value of A Good Insulated Home
Put simply, insulation reduces the amount of heat that moves through a surface, whether that be a wall, roof or the floor. If a surface is insulated properly, heat will have a harder time either escaping or entering your home, which reduces how much energy is needed to heat and/or cool it. This not only makes your home a more comfortable living space, but obviously saves you money on your heating and cooling bill. In fact, improving the insulation in older homes can cut these bills but up to 20%.
There are a few important things to remember when it comes to insulating your home. Heat rises, so insulation the roof is a huge priority in order to trap warm air inside your house. Heat also find its way in or out of any air ducts you may have in your house, which are ironically used to heat or cool your living space. Sealing these ducts is super important, as leaking ducts can spell trouble for your heating bill and reduces efficiency by around 20%. If your duct travels through an open space, an attic for example, you need to be extra careful about this.
Types of Insulation
The two main types of insulation are bulk and reflective insulation, each of which have different strength and applications. Bulk insulation is however generally the more widely used and is available as batts, blankets or boards and is thus quite versatile. It works to trap or prevent heat due to various pockets of air within its surface, and it doesn’t matter from which direction the heat is traveling
Reflective insulation works a little differently and is essentially one sided, which makes it less user friendly and adaptable. It relies on its highly reflective surface and low emissivity, and works best when places in an enclosed space. It is usually laminated aluminum foil-like sheets with multi-cell batt. It is also very prone to becoming less effective due to the build-up of dust around it, so builders will often ensure it is place at an angle to limit this.
No matter what type of insulation you’re using, consider the r-value. This measures how resistant to heat the insulation is, or in other words how good an insulator it it. Depending on the climate of where you live and where you are placing the insulation in questions, different r-values will be appropriate. It’s worthwhile discussing this with your build or energy raring consultant.
Is There A Limit?
It may sound like more insulation equals more efficiency, but this isn’t always the case. Insulation needs to be placed carefully in order for it to be effective, and stuffing more insulation into an area that isn’t designed for it can be counterproductive. By stuffing a lot of insulation into a small area, you are essentially condensing the insulation you have and and reducing its surface area. This is ultimately wasteful, given that insulation works due to its large surface area to space ratio. By condensing and shrinking it, you make it less absorptive and less of a barrier for heat. Further, placing it in places where moisture may be present can be problematic, so care needs to be taken rather than going to town - so to speak - when it comes to insulating you home.
Insulation is a very important consideration in achieving you 6 Star energy efficiency rating, and energy efficiency consultants can help you with your building plans to ensure you are in the best position. Speak to a professional today for more information.