Insulation has a huge impact on the comfort on your home, helping to keep it warm in winter and cool in the summer. The Building Code has minimum requirements. Our strong recommendation is to exceed these by as much as is practicable, given that the more insulation you use, the more efﬁcient your heating will be and the lower the cost of heating.
There are plenty of products and brands to choose from. It’s important to realise that the one you use doesn’t have to be pink.
Insulation Options include:
- Wool insulation is natural sheep’s wool (either new or recycled), and may be blended with preservatives and polyester or resin to prevent slumping and to make it pest-, mould- and ﬁre resistant. Regulations stipulate it must be no less than 95% wool.
- Polystyrene can be used under floors or in walls (and is often ‘sandwiched’ within concrete, partly to economise on concrete usage).
- Artiﬁcial wool is usually made from specially treated polyester. It is naturally resistant to ﬁre, moisture, vermin, insects, mould and bacteria, eliminating the need for any chemical additives. It is also environmentally friendly, as it is non-toxic, non-irritating and non-allergenic. A high percentage of the polyester ﬁbre in polyester insulation products is made from recycled PET plastic, including plastic bottles and bags, and it is itself fully recyclable at the end of its life.
- Glass-based insulation is usually made from recycled glass and can itself be recycled. Repeated wetting will reduce efﬁcacy. No chemical treatment is necessary as it is naturally resistant to vermin, insects and mould. Care should be taken with installation to avoid breathing glass ﬁbres and it is prone to slumping over time.
The efﬁciency of insulation is rated in Rs; the higher the R-value, the better.
- Different products require different levels of thickness to meet R-level standards.
- There are minimum levels, but paying a small amount here to increase the R-rating can make a dramatic difference to your comfort levels in the long run.
- New homes in different regions of the country now are required to meet minimum insulation measures as an overall measure of the individual room and house, including glazing, so if you have lots of insulation and small windows, you may not necessarily need to install double glazing (though our recommendation is that you do so).
Your designer will work through this critical design element with you.