Insulation best practice for new-build homes

There is a lot of discussion about energy efficiency in the homebuilding industry at the moment, and with good reason.
The Government’s new regulations for new-build homes come into force on 15 June 2022, and this has put insulation front and centre of the conversation.
In this blog post, we will discuss industry standards for insulation and what the rules are for new-build homes.

Why insulation is important for new-build homes

New-build homes in England have to produce significantly less CO2 (around 30% less than previous requirements) under new rules announced by the government last year.

This means there will be more new homes with low carbon technology, such as solar panels and heat pumps. In order to meet the CO2 reductions under the new regulations, we expect to see an emphasis on insulation measures. As these measures stop heat from escaping the home, they will not only ensure that builders are meeting new rules, but that homeowners will have much lower energy bills when they move into their new home.

The new building regulations will come into effect from June 2022. The new rules raise standards and start the move towards the ‘Future Homes and Buildings Standard’ in 2025 (when all new-build homes will be net zero and will not need retrofitting).

The different types of insulation and their benefits

Insulation is generally put in to prevent heat loss and reduce the amount of energy needed to heat the home. It can be installed in roofs, walls (internal or external), floors and lofts.

The type of insulation you need will depend on the materials that were used to build your new home. For example, if it was built with cavity walls there are different considerations than those built with solid walls.

There are a range of insulation materials on the market made from natural or synthetic products:

  • Glass wool (fibreglass): This is made of tiny glass fibres and is one of the most common types of insulation. It’s effective at preventing heat loss and comes in rolls or batts.
  • Mineral wool: This type also contains small glass fibres, but is also made with a mineral oil and other raw materials. It doesn’t itch like glass wool and can be used in damp areas such as lofts.
  • Polystyrene: This is an affordable option that comes in blocks, sheets or beads, and is effective at stopping heat transfer (both out and in).

When choosing an insulation material, it’s important to consider the type of property you live in. Depending on the building construction process, your home may have different thermal properties that make them more or less suited to certain types of insulation. All insulation materials need to meet industry standards which set out minimum requirements for performance, safety and durability.

Tips when installing insulation in a new-build home

There are a few things to think about when installing insulation in a new-build home.

  • Do you need to insulate the floor? There are different types of floor insulation available, including underfloor or solid floor insulation. The suitability of each will depend on the floor type. For example, if the property has a timber or suspended floor, underfloor insulation should be considered. Alternatively, if the floor is solid or concrete, then solid floor insulation will be better suited.
  • All new-build homes with a loft will need loft insulation. This is now standard across the UK, and while the recommended thickness varies depending on where you live, it should be at least 270mm thick if it’s made from glass fibre or mineral wool.
  • If your new home has cavity walls, they will need to be filled with insulation. This will help reduce heat loss and will save you money on your energy bills. Solid wall insulation is also widely available, but new-build homes are more likely to have cavity walls.
  • Windows are also a major source of heat loss so it’s important to choose the right type of window for the property. Double or triple glazed windows are the best option, but if these aren’t affordable then there are other measures you can take such as installing secondary glazing or draught stripping.
  • And finally, one of the biggest considerations is choosing the right installer! Whether you are a builder or new homeowner, make sure you choose an accredited installer with lots of experience like Eco Providers.

Maintaining your insulation and getting the most out of it:

  • Check what maintenance is recommended with the insulation. For example, if you have loft insulation which has a lifetime guarantee it will need to be inspected around every 25 years.
  • Consider getting an energy performance certificate (EPC) for your home to see how much of your money is being spent on heating (and what you could save with insulation).
  • Make sure you have the correct ventilation installed – this is vital for the longevity of your insulation.
  • If you’re going to be doing any building work, make sure you contact your insulation supplier first to find out if there are any insulation considerations before starting. There may not be, but it’s best to check!

Eco Providers are experts in all things insulation, so if you have any questions or would like some more advice, please get in touch. We offer free surveys and quotations so that builders and new homeowners can find the best solution for the home. We work with homeowners and also builders large and small throughout England and Wales.

Frequently asked questions

What does insulation do?

Insulation prevents the escape of heat in winter and the entry of heat in summer. It saves energy, improves comfort, and helps to protect the environment by reducing emissions from heating and cooling solutions.

How much insulation do I need?

This depends on a number of factors such as your location, type of property, age of building etc. Your insulation supplier will be able to advise you on the best insulation options for your home.

Why do we need insulation?

Insulation is essential in any climate, but especially in regions with cold winters and hot summers. By keeping the heat inside your home in winter and out in summer, you’ll save energy, money, and be more comfortable all year round.

What are the benefits of insulation?

Insulation can save you money on your energy bills. With energy prices continuing to rise, installing insulation can help to counteract price increases.

How do you choose which insulation to install?

There are many different types of insulation available on the market, and the most appropriate type will depend on a number of factors, including:

  • The type of property
  • The age of the building
  • Whether you’re insulating a new build or an existing home.

Your installer will be able to advise you on the best options.

How long does installation take?

Installation of insulation generally takes a day or two, but this will depend on the size and type of property.

How much heat is lost without insulation?

The Energy Saving Trust and Simple Energy Advice website have some helpful tools that can estimate heat loss in your home. The Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) register shows savings specific to the property, providing there is an EPC entry for the property.

Why is the Cavity Insulation Guarantee Agency (CIGA) introducing a new build guarantee?

The CIGA new build guarantee is a warranty provided by the builder or developer and covers any defects in the property for a period of time after completion (10-25 years). The guarantee should be in addition to any statutory warranties to ensure homeowners are protected against any issues in the future.

Insulation is an important part of any home, but it’s especially crucial in new-build homes. The right type of insulation will keep your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer, saving you money on your energy bills in the long run. If you’re building a new home or renovating an existing one, be sure to install quality insulation for optimal comfort and efficiency. And don’t forget to check your insulation guarantees – that way, you can get the most out of it for years to come! If you have any questions about insulation, or want help installing it in your home, contact us.

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