How Insulation Can Improve Your House’s Energy Efficiency

How Insulation Can Improve Your House’s Energy Efficiency

Having a cold home isn’t enjoyable, but we also don’t want to spend a fortune on energy bills. With gas prices expected to rise in the coming year, what can we do to make our home more energy efficient? Installing a new boiler is a costly investment, but there are always other options. If you want to find a more cost-effective way of heating your home, why not consider house insulation? There are a variety of insulation options on the market, but spray foam insulation is a great choice.

In this blog, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about insulating your home.

Why does my home have poor energy efficiency?

Newer houses tend to be more energy-efficient than older ones because we have recently learned more about how to build houses that are more efficient. If you have high energy bills, this could be down to a few reasons. For example:

  • Old or faulty boiler – Your boiler is responsible for heating your entire home. If this isn’t working as it should be, it means it is using more energy to do its job. You may need to have your boiler on for a longer period of time before your house has warmed up. This is also the case for old boilers. Newer models are much more efficient, so if you haven’t had a new boiler installed in the last 15 years, it may be something to look into.
  • Poor insulation or none at all – If you don’t have insulation in your home, this may be a huge factor in your home’s efficiency. The good news is, home insulation is a relatively cost-effective solution as you’ll soon be saving what you invest on insulation in your energy bills.
  • Lack of airtight construction – If there are any gaps in your home or insulation that allows heat to move through, it can be a cause for significant heat loss.

How does house insulation work?

An energy-efficient home starts with quality house insulation, but how does this extra insulation work? Without insulation, hot air and cold air are free to flow throughout your home. Insulation works by slowing conductive heat flow and convective heat flow.

During winter, heat flows from your living spaces into cold areas such as attics, garages, basements and even outdoors. As a result, this means that most of the heat you are paying for is actually being lost through adjacent spaces. This happens during the summer, except the heat is travelling from the outdoors to the indoors, heating your home to an uncomfortable temperature.

Insulation can be fitted in cavity walls, attics or under flooring to stop the free flow of hot air in and out of your home. There are different types of insulation:

  • Batt insulation and roll insulation – These are the most common type of house insulation and are blankets made from fibreglass, natural fibres, mineral wool and plastic fibres. It often comes with kraft paper or foil-kraft facing which acts as a vapour barrier and air barrier.
  • Foam board or rigid board – These are a lot sturdier than blanket rolls or batts and come in a variety of materials and thicknesses. As a result, these can easily be applied in most areas of your home.
  • Insulated concrete forms – These are H-shaped structures formed of two concrete walls cast between layers of insulation. These are a solution for building energy-efficient homes, but can’t be added to an existing home as it forms the structure of the building.
  • Spray foam insulation – This is an insulation that is liquid and sprayed, poured or injected into cavities. Once it has been sprayed it will dry and harden and seal any cracks or gaps in your home to reduce airflow.

How can insulation help my home’s energy efficiency?

Insulation is one of the most effective ways to make your home more energy-efficient as it works in both the winter and the summer. Over the course of one year, you can save up to £310 on your energy bills just by installing loft and cavity wall insulation. 

Loft insulation

Around a quarter of the heat in your home is lost through the roof. Adding insulation will go a long way in ensuring reducing your heating bills considerably. Insulation can be installed in between the joists of your attic to get rid of any gaps that may cause considerable heat loss.

Underfloor insulation

While loft insulation is important, it’s also vital to consider any gaps beneath your floorboards. It’s likely you’ll notice cold flooring much more than a cold attic so adding some insulation under your flooring will help heat loss through the ground beneath your home. Underfloor insulation helps eliminate draughts between floorboards and provides airtight insulation by filling any gaps.

Cavity wall insulation

Some houses may have empty space between their inner and outer walls. If you fill this space with insulation, it helps prevent heat loss from your house and improve energy efficiency. While it sounds challenging to get insulation in between your walls, it’s actually very easy. It can be done from outside your home, leaving you with no mess inside. This is done by drilling small holes on your external wall and spraying insulation directly into the cavity. The holes are then filled and you are left with an insulated home.

What is a passive house design?

Passive house design is a building standard that is energy efficient, comfortable, affordable and ecological. It is a construction concept that reduces energy consumption and offers heating energy savings of over 75%. Also known as Passivhaus, these types of houses make use of ‘passive’ influences on a building. They are able to maintain a comfortable temperature without using as much energy as a traditional home.

Passive house designs have five main principles:

High-quality insulation

This is often called ‘superinsulation’ that provides an envelope of insulation that leaves no gaps and is able to hold as much warmth as possible. This type of insulation will usually cover the entirety of the building, ideally with no breaks from materials in the structure of the building.

No thermal bridging

Another way to ensure a house has ‘superinsulation’ is to avoid thermal bridging. Thermal bridging is when a material is used that is less well-insulated than the rest of the house exterior. This could be the frame of a window or door as these would conduct heat more than the materials around it and interrupt the ‘envelope’ surrounding the whole building.

Superior windows

The design of the house would need to incorporate high-quality windows as these can often be a major reason for heat loss. So in order for a house to be considered a Passive House construction, they need to use windows that reduce the amount of heat loss as much as possible.

Airtight construction

In the house’s construction, there should be no flow of air through any part of the structure. Close attention will need to be paid to the design stage to limit any loss of heat through airflow.

Mechanical ventilation

While there should be limited airflow to reduce heat loss, there still needs to be ventilation to ensure you aren’t breathing old air. Mechanical ventilation uses a recovery ventilator to continuously remove old or moist air and deliver fresh air. The system extracts heat from the air going outwards, to warm the incoming air. This helps to provide good circulation in your home, but you don’t lose any warmth in the process.

How does this create an energy-efficient home?

Using a Passive House design can help reduce the energy consumption in your home by minimising the loss of heat through all areas of your home. If you currently have a low-energy home, you may want to consider adding in the principles that can turn your home into a Passive House design. This would include adding insulation that is highly effective, installing high-quality windows and reducing any gaps leading to airflow throughout your home.

You can find a quality provider of insulation to get you started on the Passive House design and save you money in the long run. Passive House design is an effective way to save money on your energy bills because you will be significantly reducing the amount of heat lost throughout the house.

Spray Foam Tech – UK Based Insulation Experts

Spray foam is highly-effective insulation and the perfect addition to your home to improve insulation. At Spray Foam Tech Ltd, we can provide homes across the UK with quality insulation. Whether you are just looking to add room in roof insulation or you want to completely maximise your home’s insulation with a Passive House design, get in touch today.