The Environmental Implications of Poor Insulation

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Insulation is available to all home and business owners. It has many advantages, including creating a healthier home environment and reducing energy bills. A positive side effect of adding insulation to a building is its environmental impact.

Studies have shown that walls and lofts lose heat more than other parts of the home, at 33% and 26% respectively. It is estimated that the correct loft and wall cavity insulations can save 2 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per home annually. Furthermore, simply sealing windows and doors effectively can save 140 kg of carbon dioxide emissions being released annually.

Insulation prevents the release of carbon emissions, a known contributor to global warming, by acting as a barrier between inside and outside the homes. Insulation stops heat from radiating outside the home, keeping the inside at a stable temperature and therefore, reducing the need to use air conditioning or heating to regulate temperature. This means that less energy is needed to keep a comfortable living environment.

However, the benefits of insulation are only maximized if the correct insulation is used. Many companies offer their services to identify the most appropriate type of insulation for the home or business, in order to reap the rewards.

The two main types of insulation are cellulose insulation and reflective insulation. Cellulose insulation is particularly green as up to 80% of the material used is made from recycled newspapers. It can be used for loft or cavity wall insulation and is usually favored by consumers.

On the other hand, reflective insulation, such as rigid foam, is most suitable for humid climates because it can act as a vapor barrier. The reflective insulation reflects the air back into the home and is known to be very easy to install.

There are many more specific types of insulation that can be used in and around the home. These all have pros and cons to their use and therefore must be considered carefully before installation in order to maximize the environmental benefits. The types of insulation include:

  • Blanket insulation which is usually made from glass wool and tends to be the most cost-effective
  • Rock mineral wool insulation which is more expensive but is favorable in large buildings due to its heat and fire resistance
  • Sprayed foam insulation which involves injecting liquid foam into wall cavities. While the effects of adding this type of insulation into wall cavities will impact the environment positively, it should be noted that some of these foams use hydrochlorofluorocarbons which still result in ozone depletion and therefore contribute to global warming.

Floor insulation is also an option for tall buildings or apartments. This prevents loss of heat through the floor and could also be appropriate for older houses where there are gaps between the floorboards. It is inexpensive and usually involves laying compacted mineral wool. It should be noted that when laying this type of insulation, it is important not to block ventilation points.

Overall, building insulation is cost-efficient for the homeowner, saving them up to $500 per year in energy bills while also having a dramatically positive environmental impact. It is important to consult a professional to discuss the right insulation types for your home in order to maximize the advantages.

Bibliography

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