Insulation presents the easiest and most economical way to reduce energy consumption required for heating and cooling your home, says Daneel Pretorius, Category Manager of Swartland’s Summit range of insulation and decorative ceiling products: “The better your home is insulated, the more energy you will save when trying to maintain a constant and comfortable indoor temperature.” In fact, the first step you should take is to improve your home’s overall energy consumption. Pretorius elaborates: “A well-insulated home will be exceptionally energy efficient – requiring very little energy to keep the indoor temperature at a constant and comfortable level.”
He adds that making sure your home is well insulated is not just a nice-to-have – according to the SANS 10400-XA building regulations, proper insulation is actually a legal requirement for any new building.
He says that there are different types of insulation, including:
Wall insulation: There are two types of wall insulation – cavity and solid wall insulation. Cavity wall insulation is used to fill cavities between the inner and outer wall sleeves. Solid wall insulation is when there is no cavity to fill inside the wall, and as such, the insulation has to be installed on the inner or outer surfaces of the wall. External solid wall insulation, such as fibreglass or wooden shingles, for example, needs to be weatherproof, and generally covers the entire external façade of the building. Inner solid wall insulation, on the other hand, such as tongue-and-groove XPS insulation board, is installed onto the wall surfaces of interior rooms.
Roof and ceiling insulation: Roof insulation, such as Knauf mineral wool insulation, comprises rolls of soft insulation material that is installed in the roof between the joists and rafters. Ceiling insulation, such as XPS insulation board, comprises rigid polystyrene foam board that is installed onto a room’s ceilings.
Window insulation: As much as 30% of a home’s heat loss can occur through its windows. With the SANS 10400 National Building Regulations, it is also a legal requirement to meet certain energy-saving criteria. Double-glazed windows, such as Swartland’s Cape Culture double-glazed windows, are the ultimate in energy efficiency. A more affordable option are windows with Low E glazing, which comprises glass panes with an ultra-thin coating that ensures less heat passes through.
Floor insulation: Floor insulation creates a barrier between the cold cement foundation and the floor substrate above. In modern homes, there is usually standard insulation between the concrete and the floor substrate; however, in older homes with suspended floors, a product such as XPS insulation board usually needs to be added to the underside of the flooring.
The benefits of home insulation
Energy savings: Did you know that an under-insulated home could use up to 30% more energy in order to keep it at a comfortable temperature?
Reduce your carbon footprint: Pretorius notes that it is essential to look for insulation with good green credentials: “XPS insulation board, for example, is 100% recyclable, and its manufacture does not emit any harmful wastes or by-products. Knauf insulation boasts Ecose Technology, which means that it is manufactured from rapidly renewable natural materials and bonded using a bio-based technology.”
Better indoor air quality: Insulation helps keep irritating allergens and environmental pollutants out of the air circulating around your home.
Prevents noise pollution: Insulation will not act as a complete sound barrier, but it will definitely help reduce the volume of external noise (and sound inside from disturbing your neighbours).
Protection from moisture and mould: Insulation helps to provide a seal against unwanted moisture and humidity.
A fire barrier: Knauf insulation, for example, has been awarded Euro Class A1, and SANS10177 – Part 5 fire certification. XPS insulation board will be classified as B/B1/2/H&V in terms of SANS428, which means that although it is combustible, it poses no flame-spread hazard.