Who Needs Thermal Insulation?

Thermal insulation isn’t just used in buildings – cars, clothing, mechanical systems and of course birds and animals all use and benefit from thermal insulation to restrict or control the transfer of heat and cold. As technology has developed and energy costs have risen, the public awareness of the need for thermal insulation has increased to the extent where in the developed world it would be almost unthinkable to design or build a house without some consideration being taken to the thermal efficiency of the building. To understand the necessity and usefulness of energy efficient design, combined with thermal insulation, it can be interesting to take a look at what the least energy efficient house might look like.

As thermally in-efficient as it gets (or almost):

Single brick walls, tiled or metal roof. The inside walls lined with a thin cheap plasterboard. No shutters on the windows, no shade from trees, with unrestricted exposure to the sun in the warmest months of the year from morning to evening. And no thermal insulation in the walls, ceiling or underneath the floor. Strange as it might sound, untold houses in Australia have been built to this standard, and no doubt many still remain in their original state. These houses typically become unbearably hot in summer and freezing cold in winter. Summer air-conditioners and winter wood or gas heaters serve only as a kind of partial relief, a sometimes futile attempt to maintain some level of indoor comfort. There are of course a number of ‘remedial options’ available to the home owner or tenant of the poorly designed home. Shutters on the outside of the windows can be a good start. Fly-screens on all the windows and leaving windows open on all sides of the house will at least permit any welcome breeze to pass through the house. Planting a row of shade trees where the glaring sun tends to rest during the afternoon… All of these options will make some difference. But there’s still one big elephant in the room, and that’s the roof!

A roof without thermal insulation.

That’s right – the roof over your head is in all likelihood the largest, hardest, most heat conducting and most exposed surface of the entire building, relentlessly absorbing the heat from the sun, hour after hour, and literally radiating this heat downward and into the ceiling area below. By 10am in the morning, the ceiling space may easily have overheated to over 40 degrees Celsius, and within another hour the entire un-insulated ceiling of the house is now warm to touch, from the inside. From there on the battle is as good as lost, and the mercury doggedly continues to rise. It isn’t difficult to understand that neither window shutters nor shady bushes can in any material way offset the glaring inefficiency of an un-insulated house. What’s needed is a thermal insulating barrier, or more specifically thermal insulation – a thick, dense material like glasswool or polyester riddled with miniscule air-pockets – to arrest the heat in its tracks. Thermal insulation benefits the building occupants all year round – during the chilly winter months, it hinders the pleasant indoor warmth from constantly escaping up and out through the ceiling
The great thing about thermal ceiling insulation, is that it can usually be installed at any time during the life of the home, whereas thermal wall insulation must realistically be installed before walls are lined, either during the building phase, or during a subsequent renovation project.

Pricewise Insulation- the Thermal Insulation Experts