Energy EfficiencyInsulationSaving Energy

Insulating an Attic is Among the Best Green Investments

Insulating your home could save you approximately £200 a year. Loft insulation is the cheapest and easiest way to save energy, and replacing older, thin insulation could save you around 33% of your heating costs – that’s potentially £200 per year. You can also lose 33% of your heat through the walls of your home, so cavity wall insulation could save you another £145**

Upgrading the insulation in an existing home is one of the most effective “green” investments a homeowner can make. Insulation blocks heat transfer to keep a home comfortable all year round. A house should have well insulated walls, floors, windows, and ceilings. In older homes, insulation is often inadequate. Adding attic insulation is usually an inexpensive way to reduce a home’s heating and cooling costs. Tax credits and rebates available to many homeowners make insulation upgrades even more attractive.

Attic Insulation Economics, Rebates and Tax Credits

Insufficiently insulated attics are large sources of lost energy in many homes. Having a poorly insulated attic in an extreme hot or cold climate is the energy equivalent of leaving a window wide open all year round. The cost to properly insulate an attic will pay for itself in just a few years.

Utility rebates and tax credits can make the project even more attractive. Many utility companies offer homeowner rebates for energy efficiency improvements. Homeowners in the United States can take advantage of federal energy efficiency tax credits. The federal tax credit for attic insulation is 30% of the cost of materials, up to $1500.

The Best Attic Insulation

The best insulating material is a vacuum, but creating insulation with vacuum spaces is very expensive. The next best thing is to trap dry air inside porous materials such as fiberglass or cellulose. These “dead air” spaces act as barriers to heat flow. For insulation to be effective, the dead air spaces must not be compressed and must be kept dry. Some insulating materials, such as blown-in cellulose, tend to settle with age, which lessens its effectiveness due to compacting. Fiberglass insulation is less likely to settle than cellulose, but it is a little more expensive.

Spraying Blown Fiberglass Insulation between Attic Trusses

Spraying Blown Fiberglass Insulation between Attic Trusses

Adding attic insulation can be done by blowing loose fill fiberglass, cellulose, or other materials (even shredded denim from worn out blue jeans) onto the attic floor, by laying fiberglass batts across the attic floor joists, or by insulating the attic roof with rigid insulating panels or spray foam attic insulation. For most existing homes, adding insulation to the attic floor is the most cost effective solution. Loose fill attic insulation blown into place is cheaper and less labor intensive than fiberglass batts, which have to be precisely cut and fit around corners and framing members to be most effective.

Do it Yourself Attic Insulation

A homeowner with a basic knowledge of insulation who is handy with tools can save money with a do it yourself attic insulation project. For many homeowners, however, the prospect of spending several hours or days in the cramped confines of a hot or cold attic makes the cost of hiring a professional insulating contractor seem very reasonable. If an existing home has vermiculite or asbestos attic insulation, a professional asbestos removal company has to be called and the homeowner should not attempt to do any of the work himself.

Infrared Thermal Imaging Camera Pointing to Attic Access

Properly insulating a home should be the first “green” project a homeowner undertakes before investing in any other energy saving or renewable energy projects such as photovoltaic solar panels or thermal solar heating systems. Insulating an attic is one of the best ways to invest money in home energy efficiency.

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