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What is a Home Energy Survey?

A home energy survey is the first step in making your home more efficient, one reason for high energy bills is the increase in the price of electricity or heating fuel. However, it is common to trace high energy bills to an in-efficient component of your home, such as (windows, heating systems and insulation) or a failure of one of these components to perform as intended. It is not always easy to pin-point the problem, but fixing it can make your home more energy-efficient and comfortable. A survey will assess how much energy your home looses and evaluate what measures you can take to improve its efficiency. We use a variety of techniques and equipment to determine the energy efficiency of your home, such as blower doors,which measure the extent of leaks in the building envelope, and infrared cameras, which reveal hard-to-detect areas of air infiltration and missing insulation. But remember, surveys alone don't save energy. Smartheat provides a full report with every survey, which when the recommendations are implemented will enhance your homes energy efficiency, lower fuel bills, and increase your comfort.


Thermal imaging inspection
of building fabric.
 

Why use Insulation?
Heat will always flow from a warm area to a cold one. In winter, the colder it is outside, the faster heat from your home will escape into the surrounding air. It is therefore vital that as much as possible is done to prevent this. Insulation makes it much more difficult for heat to pass through your house exterior by filling up the exterior walls, roof and ground floor with a good insulation material this will greatly reduce what is known as your walls' U value. The lower the U value, the slower heat is lost - and the less energy you need to keep your home warm. It is therefore imperative that considerable time is devoted to ensuring your building is insulated to the highest possible standard. 

What is a U value?
The U value measures the transfer of heat through a material or a building element (thermal transmittance). U values are often used in technical literature, especially to calculate heat losses and gains.

Insulation Types
Insulation is generally categorised into two types, bulk insulation and reflective insulation.

Types of Bulk Insulation

Bulk insulation traps millions of tiny pockets of still air or other gases within its structure. These air pockets provide the resistance to heat flow. Bulk insulation reduces radiant, convective and conducted heat flow.
  • Blanket Insulation is generally the most common and widely available type of insulation available and comes in the form of batts or rolls. It consists of flexible fibres,most commonly fibreglass. It is made from mineral wool, plastic fibres, and natural fibres, such as cotton and sheep's wool.
  • Loose-fill insulation consists of small particles of fibre, foam, or other materials. These small particles form an insulation material that can conform to any space without disturbing any structures or finishes. The most common types of materials used for loose-fill insulation include cellulose, fibre glass, and mineral wool. All of these materials usually produced from 75% post-industrial recycled content. are produced using recycled waste materials. Most fibre glass contains 20%–30% recycled glass. Mineral wool is usually produced from 75% post-industrial recycled content.
  • Liquid foam insulation materials can be sprayed, foamed-in-place, injected, or poured. Their ability to fill even the smallest cavities gives them a considerably better U-value than traditional batt insulation. Most foam insulation consists of materials similar to those found in pillows and mattresses and can now be used with foaming agents that don't use chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) or hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), which are harmful to the earth's ozone layer. Some types of available liquid foam insulation materials include these cementitious, phenolic, polyisocyanurate and polyurethane.
Types of  Reflective Insulation

Reflective insulation systems are fabricated from aluminium foils with a variety of backings, such as kraft paper, plastic film, polyethylene bubbles, or cardboard. The resistance to heat flow depends on the heat flow direction. Reflective insulation is most effective at reducing downward heat flow.
  • Foil Foam Foil consists of two layers of polyethylene backed foil with a centre layer of polyethylene foam. Foil Foam Foil has a greater insulation value than 100 mm of common mass insulation. It has become very popular in Ireland as a method of achieving the recommended U-values without increasing the cavity depth.
  • Foil Bubble Foil consists of two layers of polyethylene backed foil with a polyethylene bubble layer in between. Both Foil Foam Foil and Foil Bubble Foil reflect radiant heat, act as a barrier to convective and conductive heat transfer, are vapour-proof, and are unaffected by humidity. They are used in roofs, attics, ceilings, walls, floors and metal buildings.
  • Foil Foil consists of two layers of aluminium foil backed by woven polyolefin. It is used to reflect radiant energy as a house wrap, under the roof, in the attic, and with under floor heating.
Sustainable Insulation

There are a number of sustainable solutions to insulation available on the market, although generally more expensive they tend to perform as good as or even better thantheir counterparts.
  • Sheep’s wool is a superb insulator, having a slightly better U value than standard fibreglass. One of wool’s greatest benefits is that it insulates when wet. Wool is naturally flame resistant too. Although wool can be damaged by moths, it contains lanolin, a naturally occurring oil that protects it from insects. From an environmental standpoint, sheep’s wool is a sustainable product.
  • Cellulose is composed of recycled newspaper and small quantities of shredded cardboard. This is a loose material that is installed with professional air blowers through injection holes - usually into walls or attic from the building exterior.

Home Energy Saving scheme grants 

The SEAI Home Energy Saving (HES) scheme provides assistance to homeowners who are interested in improving the energy efficiency of their home in order to reduce energy use and costs and greenhouse gas emissions. It is a national scheme
and thus open to all owners of existing houses.
 

Comparison between Incandescent lighting and CFL's.


INCANDESCENT
LIGHT BULBS

 
MINIMUM
   LIGHT OUTPUT
  CFL
   LAMPS
Saving over 70 Hours
Watts Lumens Watts
1 K/Watt = 1 Unit of Electricty
40

 450

9 - 13

1 . 890 Kw

60

800

13 - 15

3 . 150 Kw

75

1,100

18 - 25

3 . 500 Kw

100

1,600

23 - 30

4 . 900 Kw

150

2,600

30 - 52

6 . 860 Kw


Check our pages on Air Tightness Testing and Thermal Imaging
Phone Smartheat @ 04366 72034 / 087 2538059
Email Smartheat  @  info@smartheat.ie
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