Aussies are doing it for themselves

Insulating against rising heat - and prices

By Sarah Leal
January 16, 2019

Glasswool batts beat the extreme heat of Birdsville, cutting home temperatures as well as energy bills. 

Summer is in full swing and with it comes the challenge of keeping your house cool and comfortable, while keeping soaring energy bills at bay. 

It might be tempting to crank the air conditioning or plant yourself in front of the fan for the next few months, but first consider if your house might be letting in a lot of heat. 

Insulation is usually the first port of call when it comes to keeping a building warm in winter, but an uninsulated ceiling can be responsible for as much as 35 per cent of your home's heat gain on a hot day. The same goes for uninsulated floors, which can account for up to 20 per cent of heat. So why are so many Australians still living in poorly insulated homes? 

"I think there's a common misconception that insulating a house is this hugely time-consuming and expensive process," says Claire Cunliffe, of Knauf Insulation, a global manufacturer of insulation materials for residential and commercial buildings. 

"In reality, DIY insulation is a weekend job that will save you money all year."

An insulating layer of material in walls, ceiling, floor and roof creates a thermal barrier to moderate the temperature inside a building. By making it easier to keep your house cool in summer and warm in winter, it reduces energy consumption, as well as having an impact on heating and cooling bills. 

Knauf Insulation offers a range of Glasswool batts, the most common material used for home installation. Cunliffe says Earthwool® products are popular among DIY renovators because the material is made using recycled glass, has a high thermal performance, absorbs sound and contains no added formaldehyde. It's soft and easy to handle. 

A couple of years ago, Knauf Insulation put Earthwool® to the ultimate test by insulating buildings in Birdsville, where temperatures have topped 49 degrees. Smarting from a summer of 29 consecutive days of 40 degree-plus heat, Birdsville locals teamed with the company to install Earthwool® in the ceiling and floors of every viable building in town. The following summer was just as scorching, but residents reported relying much less on appliances to keep their homes cool. 

"The installation was a great success, with average energy bills in the renovated buildings falling by more than 20 per cent," Cunliffe says.

Insulation doesn't just make its presence felt in warmer climates. NSW renovator Scott Warner says life in his weatherboard house without insulation was "cold in winter, hot in summer and noise seemed to seep through every crack." After completing a full renovating using Earthwool® insulation, the house maintains an ambient temperature through all seasons and Warner's family is sleeping soundly as the place is quieter, he says. 

When it comes to DIY installations, Cunliffe recommends Knauf Insulation's online library for safety instructions and installation guides. Each video outlines which product is best for roof, ceiling, walls or floor, how to calculate the amount of insulation needed for a specific area and has a step-by-step guide to installation. 

"With the right products and know-how, it's a simple process with huge rewards."

Source: Sydney Morning Herald and The Age - 13th January 2019