Insulation – A Great Green Home Improvement

Insulation is one of the most popular forms of green home improvement – and with good reason.

It has been estimated that the average property that does not have the benefit of home insulation could see owners forking out hundreds of pounds every year to pay for higher heating bills. This is because without wall, floor and loft insulation, adequate draught-proofing and double glazing, a building literally leaks away much of the warm air that is pumped into it by radiators, gas heaters or wood burning stoves.

As a result, people compensate by turning up their heaters higher or leaving them running for longer, resulting in larger bills.

And it is not just the wallet that an un-insulated property is bad for, but also the planet. Households who have to leave their heating running for longer in order to keep warm are consuming more fuel as a result. This, in turn, leads to more emissions being released into the atmosphere – something which can contribute to climate change.

So, to save money and protect the environment, there really has never been a better time to consider insulation.

But what choices are available? Well, there are so many areas of a property that can be insulated you have plenty to choose from! From cavity or solid wall insulation to floor and loft insulation, in addition to insulation for water pipes and tanks, double glazing and draught-proofing, there are many different ways in which you can ensure your property is running more efficiently.

Cavity wall insulation is one way to help keep heat inside where it belongs and net a reduction on energy bills at the same time. Many properties built after the early part of the 20th century typically have an outer shell made up of two walls with a small space between them and it is this cavity which can be filled to help keep warm air inside.

In addition to staying warm, this type of insulation can also help to reduce a build-up of condensation, which, if left untreated, can cause more serious damage to buildings in the future. Furthermore, it can help to reduce the sound that emits from your property.

If your property is older – such as if it was built before the 1920s – it may be that it has solid walls, rather than a cavity, but it may surprise you to learn that this too can be insulated. In cavity walls, the space itself can help to trap heat inside rather than letting it slip out, but the lack of a gap in solid walls means that they are actually less efficient at retaining hot air than their newer counterparts. By choosing either internal or external insulation on the outside or inside of walls, you could soon be enjoying some financial savings and a warmer home.

Once your walls are all as insulated as they can be, you will want to turn your attentions elsewhere in the home. Loft insulation is a good place to start. Just like your head, much of a home’s heat can escape through the top. It is recommended that your loft or attic is insulated to a depth of at least 270mm with mineral wool if you want to make a real difference to your property’s ability to retain heat.

While it does not make such a major impact financially, insulating your floor could still see you saving a small amount on your annual energy bills. And this is a job you could have a go at yourself, by filling any gaps in the floorboards or skirting boards with a sealant. Alternatively, you could arrange for an insulating layer to be installed beneath your current floor.

And it doesn’t end there – modern double glazing is proven to make a real difference to energy bills and the heat retaining capabilities of a property. And when all that is done you can turn to your own DIY skills by searching out any gaps or cracks in the walls and floors of your home and sealing them. Even placing a draught excluder at the base of a door is helping the planet in some way!

Installing wall, loft and floor insulation can be a big job and one that it is worth getting right in order to really feel the benefits. For this reason it may be worthwhile seeking the services of qualified and experienced tradesmen who have previously worked on eco friendly homes, rather than tackling the job yourself.

And with Rated People, you will find that tracking down the best professionals is far more affordable than you realised. Indeed, you could have a greener home and a heavier wallet sooner than you think!

Extreme Green Home Improvements

Many homeowners are trying to go green with their home improvements. Once they have done the fast and simple upgrades and the improvements that can make a big difference without breaking the bank, they are ready to start thinking about extreme green home improvements.

Extreme green home improvements are costly and our research shows that these home improvements only appeal to a specific group of buyers. So before assuming that making costly and extreme green improvements, you should do your research on the return on investment for these upgrades in your region. This research can take some of the risk out of the investment. But it is still a gamble.

Some of the extreme green improvements that you might consider are:

Installing photovoltaic cells to generate electricity. Everyone has heard about the merits of using solar power to generate electricity. The initial cost of installing the cells and the equipment to convert the power to electricity for use in the home can be significant. That cost will, however, be recovered over time.

Installing all new windows with triple glazing and UV reflective coatings. The best windows available at this time for their insulating value are triple-glazed windows with gas between the panes and the highest level UV reflective coatings. Installed throughout a home, this can be a costly upgrade. But their value will be immediately clear in comfort within the home and utility cost savings over time.

Switching to a solar water heating system. The cost of a solar water heating system will be higher than traditional electric or gas models. You can expect to recover the cost in water heating savings over just a few years.

Installing a geothermal heating and cooling system. Geothermal heating and cooling systems are very expensive to install and require a certain amount of ground space for installation. They can, however, be placed either horizontally or vertically in the ground. Because they use the constant temperature of the earth, they result in significantly lower energy bills.

Switch all appliances to the highest-rated energy efficiency models. The technology to build more energy-efficient appliances seems to improve almost every year. Replacing older appliances can result in less energy use and lower operating costs.

Install a high-efficiency metal roof. New metal roofing materials are well-insulated and extremely durable. Although the metal roof might cost a little bit more at installation, it will last far longer than shingles or shakes, and it will provide better insulation for your home.

Each of these extreme green home improvements will be costly. On the other hand, all of these improvements will result in significant savings on utility bills. Although they might not pay for themselves in a year or two, you should be able to expect to recover the cost in lower utility bills over time.

While extreme green home remodeling might not be right for every homeowner, it might be right for you. These upgrades probably will not increase the value of your home significantly in terms of resale, but they will certainly make the home more comfortable for your family and more energy efficient.