By choosing to make additional thermal insulation of your home you are also getting lower energy costs as a bonus. Every building is different and it is important that Thermal insulation is put up where it is needed. This is why to maximize the savings you naturally get by insolating, an audit of how heat flows through the building and where eventual heat losses occur should be made. More information about thermal insulation can be found here.
Thermal insulation – what’s the point?
By improving the shell of a building, heat losses can be reduced so that less heat energy is required in total to keep the house at a desired temperature. The main sources of heat loss in a house are transmission and ventilation heat losses.
Transmission heat loss
Transmission heat loss occurs when a hot area is put in direct contact with another colder area. The temperature will strive towards evening itself out, heating the cold side and cooling the hot side. This happens everywhere in our homes where there is an adjacency to the outside air or unheated rooms walls. Examples of these areas are the roof, the walls, the basement and the windows. These places all are subjected to transmission heat loss.
Ventilation heat loss
The next big crook in the energy loss game is the ventilation heat loss, where warm air is allowed to escape into the open thus being replaced by cold air. Into this category things like leaking window joints and air-permeable roofs are adhered. And then there is the manual heat release we create ourselves by opening windows and doors. To avoid uncontrolled ventilation heat losses, the EnEV 2009 ordinates that heat-transferring surfaces, are sealed airtight in accordance with the recognized rules of technology. This applies to both new construction and the renovation of existing buildings.
How to measure heat losses in a home?
Via a so-called blower door test, the air tightness of a building is checked. It is done by putting a huge fan at the front door. When the fan is running the air inside the house will be sucked out resulting in a low pressure indoors. This will force the outside air to flow in through all the existing leakage spots of the house. The drafts can then be found by the help of a smoke pen and an airflow manometer.
Heat Transmission in windows, roof, facade, etc. is not measured by the blower door test though. For that there are other methods that are a part of a complete energy audit. Basically what is done is that the amount of heat which flows through a single component is measured and assigned a so called U-value. The lower the U-value, the smaller is the heat loss of the component in question.
In terms of insulation, there are certain standards that has ben set by the Energy Saving Ordinance. These apply for new buildings and refurbishments. Simplified this means that to be approved a components U-value may not exceed a certain number.
We have confirmed heat losses what now?
After that thermal heat losses have been confirmed, and tests have shown exactly where the heat is going, one may want to stop it in its tracks. This is always best done with thermal insulation. The insulation methods differ primarily based on what and where to insolate. The process generally implies putting up an extra layer of some sort of fluffy insulation material as shield, and sealing eventual air drafts. Examples of such insulations materials would be glass wool, urethane foam and polystyrene. Much like a windproof protective jacket keeps you warm during winter a protective thermal insulation can do the same for a building. And don’t forget that with proper thermal insulation savings of 25-30% are quite possible.
Insulation brings many benefits
Reducing energy demand
By reducing the demand of energy, the homeowner makes himself more independent and don’t need to pay as much attention to the future energy prices (gas, oil, electricity, pellets, etc.).
Due to the reduced energy consumption money can be saved.
When selling or leasing the building a low energy consumption delivers value and could lead to a higher price.
Comfort and indoor climate
The temperature of the room air and the inner surface temperature of the outside walls are kept at an even nice temperature so the comfort is increased inside the house.
An improved building insulation prevents moisture from entering and accumulating in the house. Moist environments otherwise are great growing grounds for Harmful fungi, their spores cause allergies or infections.
With an improved thermal insulation follows the reduction of ones CO2 emissions. This is because you will need much less energy when heating or cooling down your house if it’s isolated. Thus, you are actively contributing to climate protection and the conservation of Earths resources.