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House Insulation

From Patsy F

Friday, 4 June 2010

I like to see a discussion on this amazing forum about ideas on how we are to insulate our old, stone houses.

We live in an old house which is made with two stone walls, the gap between filled with stone rubble. Many local houses are built like this, or in ways where the walls cannot be filled with something to stop heat loss.

Is house insulation for the likes of local people an impossibility? Please chuck in an idea or two…


From Anne H

Friday, 4 June 2010

Patsy. The ATC have a lot of information about this — " the different materials you can use, costs and the amount saved etc.

I am working with them to produce a display that illustrates the cost savings (in money and CO2) of installing various energy saving measures — from low energy light bulbs to internal insulation to solar photovoltaics. There are so many variables it’s difficult to generalise and it’s probably best to look at each house on its merits. But for the display we will be using EPCs to compare a typical mid-terrace with a detached house, and then seeing what the savings are by adding in the various recommended measures.

Internal insulation (like Kingspan) is expensive and super-thin insulation like Spacetherm is even more expensive. And they both cause disruption to install. It will make a big difference in reducing fuel bills in a big detached house, but might not be worth the investment in a mid terrace. But like I say, you’d have to weigh up the options for your particular house — in a mid-terrace it might be best to put your efforts into other things like upgrading your boiler and heating controls, and perhaps microgeneration.

One thing that does make a big difference in any house is insulating the loft or, in most cases locally, insulating the attic rooms.

Calderdale are currently trialling cavity insulation for stone cavities, though not if it’s filled with rubble. This is part of their difficult to treat homes pilot — they are looking at a combination of several different measures. It is only a pilot and it is early days but at least they recognise the problem.

Some people are saying, lets forget insulation and turn to solar panels, wind turbines or heat pumps to generate our own energy. The Renewable Heat Incentives that will come in next year make this idea more appealing (you’ll get paid for generating your own electricity), but it seems likely that they will tie in the RHI with some kind of proof that you’re not wasting the energy you create — i.e. that you’ve already insulated your home to a reasonable standard — easy if you have cavity walls and a loft but not if it’s a ‘difficult to treat’ home. It might not apply to ‘difficult to treat homes’ the DECC just haven’t decided that yet.

From Lesley M

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Living in an old house (1830) I’ve used Semptatap, obtained for me through the Alternative Technology Centre, to insulate my external walls and ceilings. It appears to be very effective, affecting the acoustics in each room, reducing condensation as well as reducing heat loss. Its not cheap but I think it is worth it in terms of comfort and less worry about keeping the house warm and drier.