Improving the Thermal Performance of Your Home

Posted on Nov 17 2017 - 5:18pm by Johnny B

The widespread adoption of a set of Building Regulations, designed to make our homes both safer and perform more efficiently, have done great things for the thermal performance of traditional dwellings.

Installing insulation and making your home perform better should be at the top of your priority list so read on and we’ll tell you the changes you can make today to see improvement.

What is Insulation?

The term insulation is a blanket term that describes any material designed to make an object, structure or component perform better from an energy standpoint. This doesn’t have to only mean thermal energy but could mean sound energy too.

Insulation can also be made from several different materials, all of which have their own properties which make them suited to the task.

Where Would I install Insulation?

Your home is always going to benefit from insulation being placed in three places; your floors, walls and roof space.

  • Floor insulation sits within the structure of your floor and provides an insulating effect for the space above it, helping each room to retain its heat.
  • Wall insulation sits within your walls cavities, essentially a gap between each layer of masonry. Insulation here will prevent heat loss through walls.
  • Roof and ceiling insulation will prevent heat from being lost through your roof space as of course, heat naturally rises.

The type of insulation installed into each location will differ slightly but their principals remain the same.

What is Reflective Insulation?

As mentioned, there are several types of construction insulation on the market. Reflective Insulation is one such product that works on the principal of radiation and convection. This type of insulation comprises an air bubble, sandwiched between two layers of insulation.

This vapour barrier is non-breathable and is designed to keep out excessive heat during Summer months by preventing solar gain as well as retaining heat during the Winter months, preventing heat loss through its structure.

What are the Benefits?

Reflective insulation is deemed to be most useful where moisture and heat transfer needs to be controlled. Such environments include;

  • Top floors where heat has risen from lower down in the building – the top floor is usually the hottest.
  • Basements where a high quality of insulation is required to prevent damp and the prevalence of cold penetration.
  • In metal buildings where the properties of metals such as steel can make thermal management difficult.
  • In concrete floors where damp and moisture from the ground need to be prevented from entering a building. Insulation here does a great job of working with a damp proof membrane to make floors thermally efficient.
    • When put into practice, insulating your building, whether it’s a family home or a high-rise of flats, can save on your heating and cooling bills. You will be using less energy to regulate the temperature of each room, which will also mean your heating and cooling systems are less likely to break down as they are not working so hard. You will still need to get things like air conditioning units maintained by heading to a site similar to, as this will keep everything running smoothly. Insulation should, however, help to keep costs down in the long-term.

    Sourcing and Installing Insulation

    If you’re undergoing a construction project, now is the time to look into which type of insulation is right for you. We would suggest speaking to your contractor to see whether they recommended one type of insulation over another. Insulation suppliers who manufacture their own insulation are also a great source of information.

    It is also a good idea to read up on U-values as this is the official measure of any material’s thermal efficiency and will be useful to know when applying for Building Control approval.