Top up loft insulation
If your loft has no insulation you could be losing as much as 15% of your heating costs through your roof and contributing to global warming. Insulating your loft is a simple and effective way to reduce your heating bills, and your carbon footprint.
If you live in one of the 5% of homes with no loft insulation, installing insulation now could save you around ?110 a year on your heating bills and nearly 1 tonne of CO. With grants available for some through the council you’d be a fool not 2
Last week I dragged out my ladder and stuck my head up into my loft space. On the positive side - there was insulation. But, to be honest it was pretty thin stuff – no more than a couple of inches at best and I could feel the heat from the house escaping into the loft and beyond. Something has to be done. Over the years, the recommended thickness of insulation has increased and now stands at 270mm (a tad under 11” in real money). A sizeable cushion. But I’m in good company, most – about 95% - of houses have some insulation, but like me, almost all could do with a substantial top-up.
So, what do we, and the environment, stand to save? The following table, borrowed from the energy savings trust website, gives approximate costs, savings and paybacks for loft insulation:
Loft insulation Loft insulation
(0 - 270mm) (50 - 270mm)
Annual saving per year ?110 ?30
Installed cost Around ?500 Around ?500
Installed payback Around 4 years Around 16 years
DIY cost From ?250 Around ?180
DIY payback From 2 years Around 6 years
CO saving per year Around 1 tonne 250kg 2
If everyone in the UK topped up their loft insulation to 270mm, ?380m would be saved each year. That's enough money to pay the annual fuel bills of over 400,000 families. If everyone in Alton and Holybourne topped up to 270mm the CO2 saving would be around 1,750tonnes. This is equivalent to 1,500 Altonians giving up their car for a year.
These days insulation comes in a wide range of materials – not all of them itchy
and toxic. A good plan is to opt for insulation which has good environmental credentials. Newspaper-based insulation or products using sheep’s wool both use very little energy in their manufacture, are biodegradable and do the job just as well as the standard glass fibre sort. On the other hand these days some of the
glass fibre and plastic foam varieties may also include a recycled component too. Check the packaging before you buy.
Typically, even when made from scratch the energy used to manufacture loft insulation will be saved within one year of installation. This makes roof insulation particularly good for the environment as well as your pocket.
Loft insulation acts as a blanket, trapping heat rising from the house below. A quick peek at the Energy Savings Trust (www.energysavingtrust.org.uk) website suggests that lagging pipes at the same time leads to optimum efficiency. Because when you insulate the loft, the roof space becomes colder and the risk of pipes and tanks freezing in cold weather is therefore increased. The good news is that if your loft insulation is being installed through a grant scheme, this is normally included in the price. Two for the price of one.
Whether you decide to do it yourself or get the professionals in, insulation is simply laid over the floor of the loft, between and then over the joists if they are visible. Protective clothing, gloves and masks should be worn. Walk boards can then be laid over the joists to provide safe access from the loft hatch to any water tanks (if present).
Grants are available locally for loft insulation and other energy saving schemes. Check with EHDC to see if you qualify on 0800 316 2814 or call the Solent Energy Efficiency Advice Centre on 0800 512012 for more independent advice. You can also call the local Energy Saving Trust advice centre on 0800 512 012 for free,
impartial advice on saving energy in your home.