In the wake of Insulate Britain protesters, a group calling for the government to fully fund and coordinate the insulation of all social housing by 2025, it raises the question of why insulating buildings is so important. In our quest to reach net zero carbon emissions, a vital component of reaching this target is ensuring that houses and buildings are built in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way. By having proper insulation energy consumption can be reduced by up to 70%. It may appear to be a daunting and expensive task to insulate your house or office space, but the Energy Saving Trust claims that by insulating your home you can save up to 15% on energy bills. To avoid further costs down the line, insulating your building can massively help in mitigating this likelihood. Understanding the benefits of insulating your house will help to explain why insulation is so vital to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050. We will explain the positive impacts that insulation brings about, not just in terms of reduced emissions, but also personal gains that can be achieved.
So, how does insulating your house help reduce carbon emissions? If there is little or no insulation in a building it means that it is easier for heat to escape the building, and not retained. Because of this, more energy is needed to be used in order to maintain heat within the building. More oil, gas or electricity is used, increasing not only carbon emissions, but also how much you are spending on heating your home. If you live somewhere sunny and you’re thinking that insulating your home is only going to make those summer months even hotter, then think again! Insulating your home can also help retain coolness by acting as a barrier from the outside heat. This again means more money saved by needing less air conditioning (if you have it).
Saving money and reducing carbon emissions seems like a no-brainer – why aren’t we all doing it? The upfront costs of insulating your home can appear daunting and not worth the money or the hassle. As the London Energy Transformation Initiative (LETI) say, “There can be a tendency for building design and construction projects to focus on cost rather than value, encouraging decisions to reduce cost, but undermining the project’s ability to meet the agreed performance targets.” In other words, it is tempting to skimp on costs at the beginning, but this could make the end result less eco-friendly and more expensive. Before beginning an insulation project it is useful to lay out the aims of the project to ensure that you don’t end up going for a cheaper option upfront, that will later lead to changes being made.
Not only does insulation reduce your long-term costs and carbon emissions by reducing the amount of energy needed, it also reduces noise pollution. By having double-glazed windows and doors (having two panels of glass millimetres apart instead of a single pane) it massively limits the amount of noise that gets in. If you live in a noisy neighbourhood then this can help massively.
There are different ways you can insulate your house, using different methods and in different parts of the house. For example, you can insulate your roof which will save you from losing a quarter of heat generated. And there are multiple ways of insulating your roof – you can do it by insulating immediately under the roof, or by insulating above the ceiling of the top floor.
However you choose to insulate your home, do it with a long-term view of how cost efficient and environmentally friendly it is. It might seem like one building can’t make a lot of difference in tackling climate change, but when we all work towards the same goal, small actions can become monumental.