In today’s climate, both natural and financial, the importance of a properly insulated home cannot be overstated.
Ireland experienced record low temperatures for a sustained period in December 2010, while the cost of home heating has increased substantially over the last few years, with further increases likely as the price of oil continues to rise.
Homeowners may have as much control over the price of oil as they do over the weather, but they can take positive action in their own homes to reduce the impact of these factors by making sure their homes are adequately insulated, thus reducing the rate of heat loss through the building fabric.
Average rates of heat loss in homes are as follows:
• Roof 30%
• Walls 25%
• Ventilation 25%
• Windows 15%
• Floors 5%
(Source: NSAI) http://www.nsai.ie/Our-Services/Certification/Agrement-Certification/Article-External-Insulation.aspx
Correctly installed insulation will reduce heat loss through the fabric of the building, increasing the level of comfort for the homeowner in addition to reducing their heating bills.
Work is currently underway on the National Retrofit Programme, which aims to deliver energy efficiency upgrades to one million residential, public and commercial buildings in Ireland over a 10 year period. This programme will incorporate current grant programmes, such as those operated by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI). One such SEAI grant programme is the Home Energy Savings (HES) Scheme which provides grants to homeowners interested in improving the energy efficiency of their home. While most of the HES measures cover insulation practices with a history of use in Ireland, such as attic insulation and internal dry-lining, one of the measures covered by the grant which is relatively new to the Irish market is external insulation.
External insulation, also referred to as ETICS (External Thermal Insulation Composite Systems), consists of insulation boards – usually expanded polystyrene (EPS), mineral wool/rockwool, or phenolic – which are fixed to the existing substrate and then covered with an external render with mesh reinforcement. External insulation has a long history of use throughout Europe, but is still quite new in Ireland although its popularity is starting to grow. According to Martin McCarthy of Insulex.ie, “By wrapping the building in an insulating blanket, heat loss is dramatically reduced and the living environment is significantly improved.”