Loft Insulation Performance Reduced By Storage

28 January 2013

The vast majority of UK households are failing to benefit from Loft Insulation even after installation, a recent study found.

Research carried out by the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) found that some 82% of households actively use a loft for storage, thus hindering the performance of existing Loft Insulation.

Guidelines recommend that the fibre wool used to insulate a loft should be 270mm deep. Although many households are fitted with this level of insulation, the majority place boxes and other stored items on top of the insulation, causing it to compact. When compacted, the effectiveness of the material is limited, sometimes restricting it to an efficiency level of just 50%.

It has been established that up to 25% of energy lost passes through the roof. By limiting the effectiveness of insulation in the loft, householders run the risk of increased energy bills and further financial hardship.

Under its flagship energy efficiency programme, the Green Deal, the Government is aiming to help millions of householders to avoid, or climb out of, fuel poverty.

Loft Insulation is one of the measures being championed under the Green Deal scheme. In some ways this latest news will come as a blow to the scheme. However, it also offers the opportunity to better advertise the benefits of Loft Insulation when installed and utilised correctly.

For those wishing, or more to the point, needing to use the loft for storage purposes, all is not lost. A number of methods exists which can return your loft or attic to its former storage glory.

Wooden blocks and boarding can be fitted to loft joists in order to provide the 270mm needed to give fibre wool enough ‘breathing’ room. Boxes and other storage materials can then be placed upon these raised boards.

In addition, specialist raised floor systems are available that allow for the necessary depth to be attained. After the joists have been raised, floorboards can be fitted that still allow the insulation wool to maintain 100% effectiveness. Many of these systems can be tailored to an individual property, better maximising insulation as a whole.

Householders can apply for financial assistance under the Green Deal to make improvements such as Loft Insulation, with grants and loans available. The scheme also offers a £100 cashback incentive for those taking out a Green deal loan and making improvements to the insulation of their loft.

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