Insulating your home is the single most effective measure you can take to keep your home warm and to save money on energy bills. A well-insulated home will provide year-round comfort. Installing or even improving your insulation will increase the amount of heat kept inside your home meaning your home heats up quicker and requires less energy to stay warm, saving you money as a result.
An un-insulated home uses up to 30% more energy to heat than one with correctly installed insulation. This makes insulation one of the smartest investments you can make in your home.
Heat always tries to flow from a warmer place to a colder place. Insulation reduces this heat flow by slowing it down.
The unit used to measure resistance to heat flow is the R-value (m2 °C/W). The bigger the number, the better the resistance to heat flow.
When building new you need to demonstrate you can meet the insulation requirements of the New Zealand Building Code (NZBC).
Why is insulation important?
More than 500,000 homes in New Zealand are estimated to have inadequate insulation so they are often cold, damp and expensive to run. Homeowners attempt to fix these problems with heat pumps, dehumidifiers and other devices. The best solution is one that first addresses the fundamental problem of the heat escaping. A well-insulated home is warmer, healthier and more pleasant for you and your family. According to a Wellington School of Medicine survey*Families living in insulated homes had fewer sick days and doctor visits.
An inadequately insulated house can negatively affect your health. Indoor temperatures below 16°C increase the risk of respiratory disease. The World Health Organisation recommends temperatures of at least 18°C and minimum 22°C in homes with young children.
* Howden-Chapman, P. et al. "Effect of insulating existing houses on health inequality: cluster randomised study in the community" British Medical Journal, 2007, p.334:460
The image above illustrates where the most heat loss is from in the average New Zealand home. (image courtesy of BRANZ House Insulation Guide)
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