With fluctuating fuel prices, this column has been looking at ways that households can quickly reduce their energy bills. This week, we look at insulation.
What is Insulation? Basically, insulation is material installed that reduces heat loss or heat gain by providing a barrier between the inside of your home and the significantly different temperature outside. The many benefits of a properly insulated home include a reduction in energy bills, improved air quality, heightened comfort and reduced carbon footprint.
The big benefit is cost savings. The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) has produced data which shows how an increase in your BER rating (the legal measurement of energy efficiency) can greatly reduce the running costs of heating your home.
2 Bed Apartment(Area 75m2)
3 Bed Semi-D(Area 100 m2)
Detached Houose(Area 200 m2)
With potential cost savings of almost €4,000, you are literally insulating your home and yourself from future price rises in oil and gas.
There are a number of home insulation types and methods to consider:
- Attic or loft insulation
- Cavity Wall insulation
- External Wall insulation.
A home, on average, loses 20-30% of its heat through the roof, if not properly insulated. Attic/Rafter insulation is generally the most cost effective of any energy efficiency upgrade to your home. Even if you already have insulation in your roof, you may still be losing heat if there is not enough insulation, it is damaged or is not installed correctly.
Typical insulation materials used are semi-rigid insulation boards as well as glass/mineral fibre. The insulation material you choose may depend on the depth of your joists or rafters. The best solution for your specific case should be discussed with your Contractor.
It is important that you look for high quality when choosing your insulation product. The effectiveness of an insulating material is measured using a ‘U-value’.
Correctly installed insulation will have a low U-value, meaning that only small amounts of heat will pass through, thus keeping your home warmer for longer.
It will cost around €1,700 to €2,100 for attic insulation based on the thermal insulation you select.
The SEAI provides generous grants for attic insulation;
Cavity Wall Insulation/Dry-Lining
Cavity wall insulation is when walls are injected with insulating foam product from the outside. The alternative is internal wall insulation, or dry-lining, which involves fixing plasterboard insulation to the internal walls of the home and applying a vapour barrier layer. If your walls are solid and unsuitable for cavity wall insulation, then external or internal wall insulation is you best options.
It is worth noting that internal wall insulation can be disruptive and will reduce your floor area, while external wall insulation can be more expensive, especially if your home has many windows and external fixtures.
Depending on the type of insulation the house needs, prices range from between €90-€120 per sq metre of wall area. Dry lining works out around €40-€60 per square metre.
Cavity Wall Insulation
External Wall Insulation
External wall insulation, or a full house wrap, involves fixing expanded polystyrene insulation to the exterior wall of the home followed by a basecoast, fibreglass mesh and rendered with an acrylic render finish. It is most suitable for cavity wall or solid wall constructions
Typically, prices will range from €6,500-€8,000 for a mid-terrace home to €10,000 -€14,000 for a semi-d.
All above prices are indicative.
James Kelly is CEO of Edenderry based energy solutions company Green Harbour Info@greenharbour.ie.