Stay warm and help the environment: why insulating your house and conservatory is good for the planet
We know that climate change is happening. The evidence is overwhelming: our world is getting warmer, and atmospheric increases in CO2 and other harmful greenhouse gases due to human activity are contributing to this problem. Research also confirms that 2019 was the second hottest year on record when it comes to the planet’s surface temperature. With many now referring to our warmer temperatures as a climate emergency, it’s time to start thinking about the changes we can make in our everyday lives. Some of those changes start at home.
Insulating your home is a good place to start, and it has added benefits for the homeowner. Here we look at ways you can better insulate your home, and break down the benefits of decent insulation for both you, and the planet.
Why is insulation so important when it comes to the environment?
Heating your house throughout the cold winter months unfortunately has an environmental downside. It often releases lots of carbon dioxide into the air, especially if you heat your home in a way that burns fuel. Insulating your home properly can help reduce the need to keep the heating on constantly. Insulation traps valuable heat and locks it into your home, regulating temperatures and ultimately making it easier to keep warm for longer.
Although our carbon dioxide emission intensity is falling in the UK in general, and our CO2 levels have dropped 38% since 1990, there is still a lot more work to be done. Emissions from buildings in the UK were higher in 2018 than they were in 2015, and the UK government has ambitious targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to ‘net-zero’ (i.e. at least a 100% reduction on current levels) by 2050. Insulating your house effectively could help contribute towards that target.
Effective ways of insulting your house
Often, older houses in the UK are in more need of insulation than the more modern builds, as they are prone to issues such as draughty chimneys, old glass windows, inefficient heating systems and huge attic spaces that let all the heat escape.
However, there are plenty of areas any homeowner can look at if they want a warmer, more environmentally friendly home.
On the whole, houses in the UK built after the 90s have wall insulation incorporated. Buildings older than that may not, and some homes will have cavity walls — basically two walls with a gap in between them — which can be problematic in terms of heat escaping. Cavity wall insulation is a way of injecting either foam, mineral wool or polystyrene beads into this space to add a layer of much-needed insulation. The Energy Saving Trust estimates that most homeowners recover the costs of the insulation via their reduced energy bills within 5 years of installation. They also estimate insulating your walls could save up to 1000 kg of CO2 per year in carbon dioxide savings.
According to experts, a quarter of all heat is lost through the roof in homes without adequate insulation. Attic, roof and loft insulation is a great way of conserving heat and saving you money on your heating bills — not to mention the emissions savings you’ll make too. Insulation is usually achieved by laying mineral wool between the joists in your loft space. However, if you’re planning on using the space or storage or converting it to another room, you may need to get an expert in to raise the floor level and ensure the insulation is correctly laid.
Drafts can often come up between the gaps in floorboards, making a house feel colder. Floors that are above unheated spaces, like garages, can also be a source of heat loss. Insulating the space under floorboards is now an increasingly commonplace practice, as is spraying the underside of floorboards with insulating foam.
One large source of heat loss from your home is one you might not immediately think of: your conservatory. Traditionally conservatories are built with thin roofs and a lot of glass, meaning that heat easily escapes through the structure during the winter. The space can also overheat during the summer, making many conservatories unuseable for large portions of the year.
Conservatory insulation is now becoming much more popular, as homeowners try to reclaim their conservatory spaces and better heat-proof their homes. There are several ways to insulate a conservatory, including specialist uPVC insulated ceiling cladding like our CosyPanels,. A reputable conservatory insulation specialist should be able to recommend a non-intrusive, cost-friendly solution that can be installed in as little as one or two working days, depending on the conservatory.
The benefits of insulating your home
The benefits to the environment of a more energy efficient home are obvious. However, there are also other incentives for insulating your property:
- A more comfortable living environment: better-insulated home means less onus on your heating and air-conditioning systems. This means not having to adjust your heating, wander around with your thermostat, constantly light a new fire or check the pilot light in your boiler as much. It means a more reliable, comfortable temperature at home throughout the long winters, and a regulated, tolerable temperature during the summer.
- Noise reduction: insulation can help prevent unwanted noises from interfering with your peaceful home life.
- Reduced energy bills and other cost savings: warm air escaping from your home during the winter, and cool air escaping during the summer both have an effect on your heating bills and any air conditioning bills you may have. Trapping the heat more effectively inside your home has serious implications for saving money on your heating bills.
- Reduced gas emissions and carbon footprint: the positive environmental impact of a well-insulated home is greater than you might believe. Extra insulation makes your home more energy efficient, reducing your carbon footprint and also helping reduce any air-conditioning chemical emissions let out into the atmosphere. Less reliance on fossil fuels in general will be of great benefit to future generations, and help our country meet those net-zero targets the government is aiming for.
Interested in insulating your home better? Talk to the conservatory insulation specialists today, and see what a difference insulating your conservatory space could make to both your way of life and the environment.