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The Importance of Good Home Insulation


A well designed building combined with good insulation is the key to creating an energy efficient home.

When installed correctly insulation is the single most effective way to improve the thermal qualities of a home. Whether you are renovating an existing home or designing a brand new home you should consider your insulation choices wisely.  Insulation should be installed in walls and ceilings and depending on the floor structure of your home you may be able to add further benefit by including floor insulation.

Improving the thermal comfort of your home will save you a considerable amount of dollars on energy bills each year by reducing the need to heat and cool your home.  Studies have shown that savings of up to 45% have been achieved when ceiling and wall insulation has been appropriately installed resulting in cost savings for you and less impact on the environment.

A home is a huge investment so make sure that you do your homework and don’t be afraid to talk to your designer and builder about the construction and insulation product choices available to you.  When looking at the insulation ratings be mindful that the higher the R-Value, the higher the level of insulation and thermal performance you will achieve.  There are many effective insulation products available on the market and your options will vary depending on your choice of design and construction material.

Installing insulation into an existing home can prove to be difficult in some cases depending on how the building has been constructed.  There are various solutions available to cater for most scenarios so talk to your insulation expert or builder to find out how you can improve the thermal qualities of your home to provide a comfortable year round living environment.

Another good way to improve the comfort level of your home is to draught proof your home.  Up to 25% of your heat and cooling loss can be attributed to gaps around your doors and windows.  Adding the use of window coverings such as blinds and lined curtains can further improve the insulation quality of your home.  Small improvements such as investing in buying good draught seals for your external doors from your local hardware store can also help to make a difference.

All new homes and significant renovations built in Australia are required to meet minimum energy efficiency standards to comply with the Building Code of Australia.  If you are in the design stages of your project you will benefit from using the services of a qualified Building Sustainability Assessor who can conduct an assessment and provide you with details of the potential thermal comfort of your new home. Using a professional to carry out an assessment on your home will assist you in deciding whether you would like to make any further improvements to the thermal properties of the home prior to submitting a development application.

Care should always be taken when installing insulation around light fixtures to avoid ceiling fires. Halogen downlights and heater/fan combination fixtures in bathrooms can heat to very high temperatures (up to 370 degrees C) and if they come into contact with insulation material they can ignite and cause a fire. There are a range of downlight heat guard covers available on the market to help to overcome this issue so that you can continue to install ceiling insulation in your home.

Always use a licenced electrical contractor to carry out all electrical wiring work.  If you have halogen downlights installed in your home and you are unsure if they meet the current standards contact an electrician and arrange an inspection.  Whilst you are looking for ways to reduce the energy consumption in your home, talk to your electrician and consider arranging a home energy audit which will identify other ways to reduce the energy consumption costs in your household.

For more information on home insulation benefits and installation visit www.yourhome.gov.au

The Build Local Team

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August 21, 2013 |

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