Loft Insulation: Saving Energy At Home
Your home could be losing as much as a third of its heat through the roof*. This means that if you're spending £100 on your heating bill, you are effectively throwing £33 of that away every time you're billed*. Fortunately, this can be cheaply and quickly fixed by installing insulation in your loft/attic.
Loft insulation is often the most effective way of lowering your greenhouse gas emissions. Typically, 1 tonne of carbon dioxide can be saved every year by doing this, and you will ultimately save money on your energy bills*.
How Loft Insulation Works
Loft insulation is like a nice warm blanket for your house. It comes in rolls and can be laid on the floor of your loft (or under it if you have installed floorboards), or fixed into the roof itself. More energy is usually saved when it is laid on the floor, first between and then over the joists, as this reduces the amount of heat that escapes from the house into the loft space itself.
When the house heating system is switched on the house will warm up, but the blanket of insulation in the loft will prevent a lot of heat escaping from the top of the house. This saves energy, as the heating system does not have to work as hard to keep the house warm.
Handling Loft Insulation
Loft insulation is often made from materials that can irritate the skin, eyes and throat. Often, fibreglass is used, which can be particularly irritating. Protective clothing should be used when handling these materials.
Some forms of loft insulation are contained within metallic covers, making them look like space age blankets. This makes them much easier and safer to handle, as well as boosting the effectiveness of the insulation. This type of insulation is much more suitable for retracting when required (see 'retractable loft insulation' below).
You may prefer to get your loft insulation professionally installed. Whilst it is certainly within the capabilities of a DIY enthusiast to install loft insulation, a professional loft insulation installer will know how to get the best out of the materials, saving you the most energy possible.
Retractable Loft Insulation
Certain types of loft insulation are easily rolled out and rolled up again. If your house gets too hot in the summer, you could consider rolling it up again when the weather gets too warm, allowing heat to escape quickly. This will help keep your house cool in the summer months.
In the future, loft insulation could be combined with retracting systems using pulleys or motors, in the same way that pulleys are used to draw curtains (when the user pulls the string to open or close them). In itself, this could save energy. With global temperatures expected to rise, the demand for air conditioning is likely to rise too. Retractable insulation could help save energy in summer, as well as winter, as there would be a reduced need for energy-intensive, carbon dioxide-producing air conditioning systems.
Saving Money and Emissions with Loft Insulation
Installing new, or topping up existing, loft insulation could save you a third of the energy you use to heat your home*. Saving a third of the energy means saving a third of the money, and a third of your greenhouse gas emissions from heating*. Installing loft insulation one of the cheapest and easiest ways to do these things.
*Source: The Energy Saving Trust - www.energysavingtrust.org.uk