If building new walls, ‘U-value’ is the phrase to look for: The lower the number the better. An unscientific explanation would relate it to heat or thermal transmission. Or, heat loss. There are also products that help add additional insulation to existing houses.
1 The roofs of older properties are by far the easiest area to add additional insulation. Loose fill insulation is the most common but there are many products and subsidised materials available. Remember to fill all the holes and air leaks first.
2 The exterior walls of existing homes can often be loose filled or have spray foam insulation injected into cavity walls. There are also insulated plasterboard products available. The many build options referred to in the Self Build section of this website will provide more information on the materials available.
3 There are often forgotten areas that could include additional insulation such as crawl spaces, the floor space above an integral garage, internal ductwork, and even below floorboards and foundations.
4 There is an incredible range of insulating products available, from old newspaper shredded cellulose to cementitious foam made from seawater. Irish artist Frank Buckley built a home from 1.4 billion worth of used Euro banknotes, so anything is possible.
5 Windows are a main source of heat loss. Triple glazing and low emissivity windows are increasing in use because of their superior thermal qualities. Solar shading or solar control glass is also worth researching further, especially if you have large glazed areas.
Storage can reduce loft insulation effectiveness
Written By Alex Morgan
Just one in ten homes are fully benefiting from loft insulation, research shows. Consequently, households are not saving the money they assume they are.
Although many homes do contain the required amount of loft insulation, 82% of homeowners use lofts for storage – not realising that if items compress insulation, its effectiveness is significantly reduced.
Approximately 14m of the 23m homes in the UK have been insulated according to the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC). Of the homes that have been insulated, around 11.5m households use their loft for storage.
The Carbon Trust’s head of entrepreneur’s fast track Dave Raval said: "The research highlights the practicality issues with lofts in the UK. To board-out a loft, the insulation is reduced to the height of the joists, which is either 75mm or 100mm, or the insulation is compressed below 270mm by placing items on it – both of these reduce thermal capabilities of the insulation and undermine its effectiveness."
One solution to this problem would be to construct a raised platform which protects insulation while allowing storage. So making sure that you are not compressing your insulation is key. By placing items on a raised platform you are not only protecting your insulation but you are also saving money on your heating bills.