When it comes to insulation do you ever wonder what your choices are?
The insulation of your home should be a priority for anyone looking to save energy.
From the basement to the roof, heat can dissipate into thin air and your dollars with it if you don't
prevent leaks in the building you call home.
Green choices of material and methods to achieve this are numerous, but by looking at each structural feature in
turn some of these can be seen as more appropriate than others.
The roof of the house can act as a perfect insulation in its own right if the cavity is filled with and lined
The types of mineral wool and fiberglass panels are not green, using large amounts of energy to produce and
having poor disposal and recycling content.
Instead, consider product made from sheep's wool or mineralized recycled paper.
These have the advantage of being available to blow into the smallest corner but will settle over time and need
topping up from time to time.
Hard to access places such as attics often are the worst for air leaks as well, so the effort will repay the
investment in saving on heating energy in 2 or 3 years.
The paper products as well as having the green feature of using recycled paper are not energy demanding during
manufacture, are light to transport and usually a cheaper option.
Wall cavities can also use the same materials especially if you are trying to fill in old double-skinned brick
Fire retardant product must be used to comply with safety codes and some of the chemicals used do have a
downside due to their potential for causing allergies.
Check your family for reaction to a sample before installation as a simple precaution.
Walls can see up to 30% of the home energy bill lost unless insulated, and remember that the windows as part of
the home's skin are a weak point here as well.
Wall paneling fixed on battens may give you a new finish to your interior, and there are some materials made
from natural fibers that are both green and inexpensive to fit.
For windows the green insulation options are double glazing, even retrofitted, and despite the high embedded
energy cost in manufacture, once installed the savings are immediate and permanent.
Poorly fitted, warped windows with catches missing are simply corrected with proper maintenance and if in a
really bad condition, look at recycled frames to replace them.
Wooden frames are better for insulation purposes as metal ones lose heat through conduction.
They do demand higher maintenance and are more likely to warp as well, so choose the material that
best fits the overall look of your home.
Under floor insulation can be achieved with lining papers and foam panels but many of these products can be
energy intensive during manufacture.
A better option may be to fit a carpet of natural material such as wool on top of the floor to improve both the
look of the room and keep it warmer in winter.
Making a real difference to your home's energy saving will come from making sure your water heating system and
the circulation of hot water are insulated.
Foam products and lagging to achieve this are available from natural products and out of recycled material.
Look around for the rating of product before installation but recognize that you can install this with only
limited DIY ability.
The choices you make will depend on your wallet, but insulation can lower your heating bills by 50 per cent if there is a lack at
The really green option is to go for a roof garden, keeping you cool in summer and warm in winter when combined
with a roof turbine to remove damp air from the home.
You may not want to go to this extreme but if building a new home, it is something to consider not just for the
insulation properties but the overall appeal of your home.
You may even turn your neighbors green....with envy!