A question that is asked by many homeowners and business owners all over the world and increasingly more here in South Africa. Is roofing insulation effective? The very short answer to the question is “yes”
To really get the answer to the question one merely has to start looking at some numbers. With an estimated 44% of the energy used in South African households being diverted to heating and cooling. One soon realizes that any way to save energy is worthwhile.
The next question to ask is “is roofing insulation worthwhile?” And again the answer is “yes”. Insulation in any home, not just roofing insulation has been proven to save a lot of energy. By saving a lot of energy bills come down from 10% to 50%. And that saving alone makes insulation more than worthwhile. Roof insulation, of course, plays a part in reducing energy consumption. Roofing insulation is effective as part of an overall insulation plan.
But How Does Roofing Insulation Work?
Roofing Insulation is natural; it is not a device you switch on or switch off. However, insulation is a way to control the natural tendency for warm air to go looking for cooler air. Insulation is a barrier between hot and cold air that works in two ways. Firstly Roofing insulation works in winter where cold outside air is prevented from entering a room or building. Secondly, in the warmer summer month’s Ceiling insulation stops warm air from entering thus keeping ambient temperatures lower.
Basically, insulation keeps air temperature stable in the home at more comfortable levels. Making a home more comfortable in winter and in summer. The controlled temperature reduces the need for heaters to be switched on to full blast in winter and reversed in summer. With air conditioning units. Insulation once installed correctly sits where it does, costing nothing and saving homeowners money.
What Types of Roofing Insulation Are There?
In broad terms, there are 2 types of insulation: Solar film or bulk insulation. Both are different and both can be used together to provide effective insulation of a room, house or an entire office block.
What is Bulk insulation?
Bulk Insulation is what many people are thinking of when they ask “is roofing insulation effective?” in South Africa. Bulk insulation is not just used in roof spaces and is a vastly more versatile insulation product. Generally manufactured using fiberglass mineral wool – Rockwool for example – other synthetic fibers or real sheep wool. Bulk insulation is available in a variety of formats. Insulation Blankets are common and the insulation material comes in long rolls that can be trimmed or cut to size. Bulk insulation is also available in balls that can again be cut to size.
Bulk insulation works because of its high R-Value. Often thick and very dense, bulk insulation is a poor conductor of heat as measured by the R-value. The higher the R Value of an insulation product the better at trapping heat. Not allowing it to pass through the material it is. With a higher R-Value better insulation should be possible; however, some materials are more suited to certain conditions than others because they are easier to install for example.
Bulk insulation traps air particles and the better at doing this a particular product is the better its thermal resistance is. This means that different products have different capabilities and thus have higher or lower R values.
Many homes use a variety of bulk insulation products and therefore have a combination of R values. It needs to be said that R-values are cumulative and some areas, of course, will be warmer or cooler due to a number of reasons. The total R-Value for your home will be determined by the number of and types of insulation you have chosen to install. All roof insulation must be SANS compliant in South Africa.
In South Africa, solar film can be tremendously good insulation material. Differing from bulk insulation solar film reflects the harsh rays of the sun away from windows and prevents the heat from entering. The use of solar film as an insulation material needs careful consideration as in winter the highly effective cooling can be reversed as much needed the sunshine is prevented from warming a home or building. The solar film also has an added benefit of improving security, firstly it is difficult to see through the reflective foil and secondly, the foil does add some strength to the windows.
What Will Insulation Work For You?
Every home is different and this means choosing the appropriate roofing insulation material is important. The R value of the product or variety of Roofing insulation products most suited to your property are influenced by a variety of factors:
Climate – if you live in a cooler area you will need a higher R factor, lower if you live in a warmer area
Your home type – single storey, double storey and those with more stories all have different attributes that influence the product and the R value required
Ceiling height – high ceilings and low ceilings impact airflow and will also determine the R value needed
Basement or slab – the foundations of a property influence the type of insulation that can be used
Roof type – “is roof insulation effective?” – to fully determine the effectiveness of insulation the type of roof your home has makes a big difference. Flat roofs, tiled roofs, corrugated metal roofs, thatch and even the angle of the slope on your roof all play a part in the insulation properties of your home.
Install Roofing Insulation With The Correct R value
Installing insulation is not just about putting any insulation in and hoping for a good result. Yes, some insulation is better than none but the wrong R value can make a house warm and cozy in winter but leave it like an oven in summer. Getting insulation right is important.
The intention of insulation is to bring long-term savings and this saving comes from reducing energy used in the home. A simple energy audit makes a difference to how and where to insulate. Checking all the potential energy loss areas can start with just a walkthrough of your home, some things will stand out. But for those taking insulation seriously, it is worthwhile having a professional energy audit and inspection done. The professional audit will pay off, not only will it allow issues to be fixed or old, energy draining appliances to be replaced, it will provide the information needed to optimally insulate and make the biggest savings.
With the right information at hand, the right decisions around insulation can be made. Your appliances will run more efficiently, your home will be more comfortable and your energy bills will drop. Better insulation also means you are playing your part to help the environment but you can go one step further.
Insulate And Go Greener With Eco-Friendly Roofing Insulation
By using less energy in your insulated home you are now environmentally more friendly and there is a way to take this even further. There are now a variety of eco-friendly insulation products that use natural or recycled materials. Insulation products made from flax, hemp, cellulose, sheep’s wool and now recycled plastic bottles go a long way in protecting the planet. ISOTHERM is one of the best examples of eco-friendly insulation made from recycled plastic bottles. ISOTHERM also promotes passive temperature control by insulating a wide variety of places in your home. Going green as has never been easier and insulating your home with ISOTHERM will also bring those long-term cash savings everyone is looking for. Make sure to check the insulation specifications to get the correct thickness of insulation.
The Think Pink Aerolite is also regarded as an eco-friendly roofing insulation. Aerolite is manufactured from recycled glass bottles. The 135mm Aerolite is the flagship of the Aerolite brand. For more info and to make sure you select the correct insulation specifications.