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7 reasons why you shouldn't skimp on thermal insulation

When you're trying to build or refurbish a home on a budget, there are numerous opportunities to cut costs. For example, you could select cheaper floor coverings and avoid the premium paints. But one place where you shouldn't skimp is on the thermal insulation.

The Energy Saving Trust recommends thermal wall insulation, as well as at least 270mm (or equivalent) of roof or loft insulation. Part L of the Building Regulations also provides guidance for thermal insulation when carrying out new-build or refurbishment work.

Although thermal insulation can be fairly expensive - especially for older homes with solid walls - this is one instance where it's not a good idea to cut costs. Spending a bit more money now will provide benefits for years to come. Here are seven reasons why you shouldn't skimp on thermal insulation:

  1. It's one of the most effective ways to cut energy costs - There are plenty of ways to reduce energy use, from upgrading boilers to installing solar panels. But thermal wall insulation is one of the most cost-effective options available and once it's installed, you don't need to think about it again.
  2. It can make a home more comfortable - It's estimated that fuel poverty affects some 2.38 million households in England. People living cold homes often have higher levels of respiratory illness and it can also affect well-being in other ways.
  3. It's better for the environment - Improving insulation levels means that a property uses less energy and therefore has a lower carbon footprint.
  4. It can make the property more attractive to tenants and buyers - More and more people are becoming aware of the importance of energy efficiency and how a well-insulated property can save money and improve living conditions. Buyers and tenants are likely to take energy costs into consideration when choosing a new home - and good insulation could mean the difference between a flat being rented out quickly and it sitting unoccupied for a few months.
  5. It can improve the property's EPC rating - New regulations coming into effect in 2018 will make it illegal to rent out a property if it has an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of F or G. Improving the property's thermal insulation levels can contribute to a better efficiency rating.
  6. It doesn't take long to provide return on investment - Thermal insulation is one of the most effective ways to cut energy use, meaning that the cost of materials and installation can be recovered within a few years. According to Which? The payback time for loft insulation is just one to two years.
  7. It offers long-term savings - Energy prices will probably continue to rise in the future, but by installing thermal insulation now, you can reduce fuel usages, and therefore energy bills, now and in the future. Since cavity wall insulation is made primarily from polystyrene, it doesn't break down over time, meaning it will last the lifetime of the property. Most types of solid wall insulation have a life span of 30 years or more, depending on what they're made from and the conditions they're subjected to over time.