There’s certainly a general understanding of the benefits quality insulation can offer in cooler months, but less understood is the role of insulation in making a home more comfortable in warmer summer conditions.
All buildings heat up through ‘external gains’ primarily a result of the radiant energy in sunlight being absorbed by the building through glazing in most domestic environments directly on the external surfaces.
Minimising these gains is the starting point for keeping cool and external gains can be limited through effective shading and use of blinds or curtains as the sun moves around the house. Purging heat through ventilation also helps although that’s easier said than done particularly in an urban setting.
As an insulation manufacturer with a strong commitment to making buildings more comfortable for occupants, our advice is insulate your building’s loft and external walls, because insulation is very good at controlling the transfer of heat, so a well-insulated house means you stay warm in winter, and, because it takes longer to gain heat effects of the sun on walls and roofs, you stay cooler in the summer.
Because your interior stays cooler for longer you don’t need to drive your air-conditioning as long and as hard so you save money on your energy bills too…yes, insulation actually pays for itself many times over!
Conversely, it also means it can take longer to the day’s heat gain to dissipate during the summer evenings. Because the heat controlling characteristics of insulation have a particularly important role to play in managing the transfer of heat from lofts into the bedrooms below you’ll get a more comfortable night’s sleep.
Lofts can get very hot in the summer as the sun shines directly onto the roof’s dark surfaces throughout the long days causing the absorbed heat to radiate into the roof space. Without adequate insulation, this residual heat quickly transfers into any rooms and bedrooms below.
While not the complete solution to an overheated home, adequate and properly installed insulation plays an important supporting role to ventilation and air conditioning in the fight against hot, uncomfortable living space and significantly reduces energy costs. When EPCs (Energy Performance Certificates) make an impact in South Africa as they have in UK, the benefit of insulation solutions and their payback should become readily accepted.
At Knauf Insulation, we offer a wide range of tried and tested roof and external wall insulation products for both new build and retrofit to residential and commercial buildings.
Stephen Wise, Programme and Product Development Manager - Knauf Insulation