Learn more about being cooler in summer and warmer in winter
Lighter Footprints members were delighted to welcome two experienced industry speakers talking about increasing home comfort (and lowering energy bills) through draught proofing and insulation. A big thanks to David Strang and team from the Energy Transition Group for organising this packed out evening at the Kew Library.
- Charlie Philips, Operations Manager, Earthworker Smart Energy Cooperative ‘ESEC’
- Maurice Beinat, Co-founder, EcoMaster
The summary below has blue links in bold to the full video presentation chapter points.
You can also:
- Download Charlie Phillips slide set here
- Download Maurice Beinat’s slide set here
- Check out EcoMaster’s very comprehensive set of instructive how-to videos here.
Charlie Phillips on draught proofing
David Strang, Convenor of Lighter Footprints Energy Transition GroupCharlie Phillips, from Earthworker Smart Energy Cooperative.
CharlieEarthwork Smart Energy Cooperative and starts the talk by referring to priorities to make your home more energy efficient: “you’ve got the low-hanging fruit, you’ve got the really low-hanging fruit” – draught-proofing is one of the really low-hanging fruit things to do, relatively low cost and able to make a major impact on comfort.
“We do a lot of contracting, we do homes, we do a lot of work for Merri-bek Council”. Earthworker SEC have a lot of experience to be able to draught-proof your home.
Why fix draughts?
Why should we insulate? Well the first three reasons are comfort, comfort, and comfort!
You can watch the full video presentation for more detail at chapter point links like these:
We know that in winter, if you have a lot of leaks, the cold air is coming in and your heater is running hot air so you are feeling this cold air and warm air – which doesn’t feel comfortable in a ‘leaky house’. Conversely in summer, you have the cold air form the air conditioner circulating, but warm or hot air is entering, which doesn’t feel so comfortable. However, when you have draught-proofed your home, air temperature is much more stable from floor to ceiling, and this makes us feel more comfortable.
As well as the massive improvement in comfort, we get other benefits – saves money, less dust and mites, quieter (reduces outside noise) ………..and reduces your carbon footprint.
How to prevent draughts
- Seal cracks, gaps and wall vents
- Install seals on bottom of doors
- Install perimeter seals around doors and windows
- ‘Zone out’ rooms e.g. bathroom and laundry
Gas heaters inside your home – a word of warning
A quick warning! – if you have a gas space-heater inside, for your own safety, Charlie‘Unflued and open-flued gas heaters require a fresh air supply to prevent build-up on carbon monoxide’. (Unsure? ask a professional)
Mould inside your home
If you have a, stop everything…………. make sure that problem is solved before you draught-proof your home. Seek professional advice if you need to (could be a leak from above, or problems with external cladding, or rising damp, or condensation from inside)
Sealing gaps and windows
There are a lot of products and fittings available todraughty doors and windows. Use good quality seals – avoid the stick-on products from major retailers – cheap stick-on seals crush, fall-off, get trapped and stop doors and windows closing.
Avoiding bad installs
It’s importantshoddy workmanship, or fix it! Any home can have big gaps, common on doors, sash windows, french-doors, etc. But it is not only old homes – often new homes or major extensions have big gaps on doors from poor installs.
Door knockers offering free, government-funded draught-stopping solution and installations are poorly trained or under sever time-pressure to ‘get in and get out’. Get a card and check there credentials before you allow them to start, ask them questions about what they propose to do, and what products they intend using. A cheap job could be a waste of time – yours and theirs.
Draught-proofing is the low hanging fruit!
It’s generally one of the most effective things you can do. Its cost-effective, permanent (it’s not going to need maintenance), it’s passive (not prone to wear out and break down).
There are many co-benefits: comfort, health, noise, dust and smoke reduction.
Maurice Beinat on ceiling, floor and wall insulations
Maurice talked about EcoMaster’s twenty year history including 17 years in ‘done for you’ retrofits, and 3 years in DIY with products in Ecomaster store.
Ecomaster have researched and developed their own products where necessary – draught dodgers, chimney draught-stops, good-bye heating vents (de-commissioned ducted heating vents), invisible pelmets, eco-glaze (secondary glazing).
Introducing Thermal Efficiency
What isand why is it important?
The best energy is the energy you don’t use in the first place – that’s thermal efficiency. So while it is good to have an efficient air-conditioner, its even better to have a thermally efficient home that needs much less or very little heating or cooling.
Thermal efficiency focuses on walls, ceiling, floors, windows, doors. Buidling envelope efficiency means stopping leakage (draught-proofing), and thermal resistance ( insulation or materials that limit the movement of heat via home structure in winter, and heat into the home in summer).
The most important you can do is insulation – next thing after draught-proofing. You can’t possibly be warm in winter without ceiling insulation. Up to 45% of your heat can leave via your ceiling.
- People friendly – non-toxic, non-itchy
- Planet friendly – recycled material, recyclable
- Rodent resistant
- Not damaged by water
- Easy to install
Polyester batts and rolls are amazingly people friendly! Ecomaster product is 85% old milk bottles so also friendly in terms of using recycled material.
Anis a scoring system that describes the insulation value of a particular type and depth of insulation when installed properly.
Mauricethe three main types of ceiling insulation and their advantages and disadvantages, including blow in ceiling insulation, ceiling batts, particularly
But, get up in the ceiling and verify the following first (Note: you might want to isolate your electricity if in doubt about the electrics): What insulation is already in your ceiling? Check your lighting – if you have downlights, it is recommended you convert them to (you can then put insulation over them), establish what work needs to be done, determine what level of R0-value (not much insulation) you have and what level of R-value you want, DIY or pay to get it done ? (up to you).
It’s important to check out what is there in your ceiling!
Mauricea variety of examples of insulation problems and what to do with them.
5% gaps in ceiling insulation coverage equate to 50% performance reduction in insulation.
If DIY, measure between joists, to determine width of batts – typically either 430mm or 580mm.
Ceiling is easiest job to DIY out of the three areas – ceiling, under floor, in-wall.
Underfloor and wall insulation
The rule is “If its beautiful its right!”stops a floor being at the outside ambient temperature – very helpful in winter, especially with timber floors.
Maurice showed a variety ofof poor underfloor insulation installation.
Don’t use rigid board under floors, don’t use fibre-glass under floors.
You need to do it right – doing it wrong is a waste of time and effort and money. Can be OK to do DIY if you can fit and are keen enough.
The third type of installation is– if it is possible it is worth getting some insulation in your walls. However this is usually a job for professionals.
Potential methods: remove weatherboards outside; remove plasterboard inside; pumped in insulation by specialists.