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INSULATION

Save Money On Your Heating Bills
Cavity wall insulation and loft insulation are widely recognised as the most effective Energy Efficiency measures you can install. Your heating can be turned on less often and for shorter periods. Installing both measures could save you up to £265 per year! Insulating a loft without insulation can save up to £150 per year and filling cavity walls can save up to £115.

Help Protect The Environment
Burning fossil fuels allows Carbon Dioxide (CO2) to escape into the atmosphere, therefore contributing to global warming. A home that is not adequately insulated allows heat to escape through the walls and roof, so more fossil fuel is burned to compensate for the escaping heat.

Increase The Value Of Your Home
Cavity wall insulation and loft insulation are considered to be a home improvement. Installing insulation is free or very low cost and instantly adds value to your home. By installing both cavity wall insulation and loft insulation you will also make it easier to sell your home, especially with the introduction of the new Home Information Packs (HIPs).

Be More Comfortable
Cavity wall insulation and loft insulation will make your home warmer during the winter months. It is also a little known fact that they keep your home cooler during summer.

Help Prevent Condensation
Condensation occurs when water vapour in the air comes into contact with surfaces that are cooler than the vapour itself. By installing cavity wall insulation and loft insulation you can help to prevent condensation as the interior surface of walls and ceilings will be warmer.

Home Insulation Restrictions
Loft Insulation grants have restrictions on the depth of insulation already in your loft. On the free schemes, if you are 70 or over, this restriction is typically 60mm (2.5 inches) so you may only qualify for a partial grant. If you receive a benefit, the restrictions vary depending on the scheme and your area. An existing depth of up to 100mm (4 inches) is typically allowed on the partial grant schemes. Extra charges may also apply to large properties. If scaffolding or other special access equipment are required, this will also be chargeable.

Insulation to Old Houses
We all know that energy efficient systems and improved thermal performance in old houses will save on running costs, maintain comfort and reduce CO2 emissions —and if you are able to achieve this by using materials that are ecologically friendly, you will be making an additional positive contribution.

However, adding insulation to old houses can often be extremely tricky, particularly where the walls are concerned. Modern materials and techniques can often be incompatible with traditional construction and the use of the wrong insulating materials could well cause serious harm to the building fabric.

Most modern houses are built from hard, strong, impervious materials. To exclude moisture they rely on physical barriers such as damp-proof courses and membranes, cavity walls and cladding. Historic and traditional houses are completely different. Many have solid walls, and most have porous fabric, which both absorbs and readily allows the evaporation of moisture. This is often known as the ability of the building fabric to ‘breathe’. A more technical term for it is vapour permeability.

So if you are planning on a project of this sort, and if the house is listed, you should first check if you are likely to be allowed to do it. Approved Documents L1 and L2 of the Building Regulations treat listed buildings and those in Conservation Areas as special cases which should be considered on their individual merits.

However, if any of the work you propose will affect the character of your house, you will need listed building consent. (Visit www.communities.gov.uk for the latest Building Regulations).

Whatever your plans, a key consideration with old houses, whether or not they are listed, is to try to minimise the amount of intervention to the historic fabric. It is also wise only to undertake work that allows the fabric to revert to its original state.

 

Modern Techniques
This poses particular problems for owners of traditionally built houses, because it is feared that all too often they will not fit into the parameters of the computer program to be used by the Energy Assessors.

Many old cottages would fail a modern airtightness test and organisations such as SPAB fear that sealing up buildings of this sort to make them airtight could lead to high levels of condensation, mould decay, and health problems for the inhabitants.

SPAB also fears that the introduction of Energy Performance Certificates could see a rush to insulate old houses in unsympathetic ways that would produce minimal environmental gain. They instance double glazing as a prime example of this.

The  advice to owners of old cottages and other period properties which gain poor scores in EPC tests is not to panic. “The listed building status that many of these old houses have should give them some legal protection. The best solution is to obtain advice from the experienced contractor who has worked on older properties and understands the problems involved.

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USEFUL INFORMATION

Insulation
posted 03/03/2011

© Yarnell Group Limited: Copyright & all rights reserved. Photographs shown depict actual and similar types of projects undertaken by the company.