Insulation appeared as a simplifying solution in sustainability and saving energy and nowadays it is not just about the choice of applying it or not, but about what is the most efficient considering many aspects. Lately, there are some eco friendly solutions that also appeared on the market and they seen to gain a lot of ground at the expense of traditional solutions. On the other hand, there are some easier to apply kinds of insulation that make it faster and they are also good for uneven surfaces or wholes.
Insulations come in different shapes and sizes and besides the ones for house walls, there are also the ones for pipes, water heaters and even windows are the subject of it, as they are the main source of energy loss in buildings. What we do to keep our homes efficient and as sustainable as possible, apart from actual insulation, is the fact that we have some tricks from the past like keeping empty spaces in the roof and maybe also in the floor.
The latest trends in this area are more and more effective and in order to make the best choice and to have the knowledge on how to use it there is the need for specialists that know what fits best for every type of house or building. If the insulation is not well chosen and applied, an important amount of energy will be lost from the inside (either warmth during winter or cold air during summer time).
The most common materials used for insulation
As years past, different kinds and materials suitable for insulation appeared on the market and some still are in the testing period. The most important attributes that it must have are durability, efficiency and the ease of installation. Some kinds are more popular, even though there are some new technologies that do the job better, but that is probably because of the price range that people look for. The insulation materials are also specialised according to the surfaces it has to cover and these are some of the most common ones:
- Batts, boards and blankets are used for both flat or cylindrical surfaces to cover large pipes or hot water containers
- Slabs made of both synthetic or natural materials that can be applied on a large range of surfaces. The hemp made slabs are in the top trends right now
- Felt that can be used around cylindric elements as well, as it is flexible
- For small pipes there is fibrous tape or special rope
- Reflective foil used simple or coated with something else like board or paper. It is used to stop radiant heat or cold and condensation.
- Wired mattresses that are flexible and have to be fixed with wire mesh. To fill the voids in it, granulated materials are used.
- Spray foam is recommended for insulating large areas with regular surfaces in a short amount of time. Spray foam contractors recommend it for cavity walls and roof spaces as well.
- Spray fibre that is one of the most popular insulation methods lately on irregular surfaces or for fireproofing.
- Other bulk insulation types like glass fibre, rock fibre, cellulose and polyester fibre. They basically have the same effect, even if they are different.
Insulation has many implications on homes and it is mostly used to prevent electricity overuse, heat or cold for getting in or out and sounds (usually unpleasant noise) from being heard inside or outside of rooms or buildings. These various solutions we use for our homes help uu save more money on electricity and heat bills, because we need less of them and this makes living more comfortable. Besides the materials used in the structure of walls, floors and roofs, there are also windows that help sustain and keep the energy inside.
Making the best choice in insulation materials really depends on the climate that surrounds the area where you live, but also on the methods used in construction. Some products work better than others and you may be surprised that older ones are more effective, but you have to analyse all the benefits and the way they work.
Eco friendly insulation
For the people that want to help the environment or to have green homes, there are plenty of options for natural or recycled insulation on the market. Many went back in time and started to build adobe homes or using insulation made out of hay. You can even build homes with straw bales and that can be a very good idea if you want to go fully green.
Hemp can be successfully used instead of the usual insulation materials and its qualities are top. It is applicable within dry walls or ceilings. Soy can be used as insulation as well, besides being the first choice in replacing meat for vegetarians and vegans. It can swell up to 100 times it’s size after being sprayed. There is also a new solution consisting of natural sheep wool.
On the recycling part, there were some bold projects of houses build from plastic bottles or glass bottles and the only thing left is to see how effective the constructions were. Until then, you have the possibility to insulate your house with recycled cotton. This material is made of old cotton clothes like jeans and other items. What they do is basically they clean the scrap old clothes and stripe the fabric. After that they spray it with boric acid in order to soften it and make it pliable. This technology makes the material effective and more resistant to mould and insects, but also other small animals that may crawl and it is great for keeping the heat inside the house.