Research shows under floor insulation can reduce heat loss in older homes by 92%
Adding insulation to suspended timber ground floors commonly found in homes in the UK built before the Second World War can reduce heat loss by up to 92%.
Research from the University of Sheffield and University College London has found that this simple job for the DIY enthusiast has the potential to dramatically reduce heating bills and contribute to the UK’s CO2 emissions reduction targets.
The study undertaken and funded by the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Energy Demand (Lolo), Dr Sofie Pelsmakers, a lecturer in environmental design at the University of Sheffield and Dr Cliff Elwell of the UCL Energy Institute, tested two different types of insulation in a Victorian house.
In one room, EPS beads were injected into the floor gap, entirely filling it. In another, the floorboards were pulled up and insulation laid between the joists. Results were monitored in 27 locations in the floor.
‘When we analysed the results of the tests, it showed a 65% reduction in heat loss for the wood fibre insulation and a 92% reduction for bead insulation. Our research suggests that there could be massive potential for cost savings in the average property,’ said Pelsmakers.
While modern homes are built with solid concrete floors, homes built before the Second World War typically have suspended wooden timber floors with a small area underneath for air to circulate. Dr Pelsmakers estimates there could be 10 million such houses, which could all potentially benefit from some form of ground floor insulation.
The study, the first of its type conducted in the UK, estimates that installation costs could be as little as £200 per room for the competent DIY home owner. Using the most optimistic models, payback could be achieved within two years, and certainly within five from DIY installation.