The case for home insulating to reduce energy and other ways to keep warm

I created this topic because I know insulation prevents heatloss and can save energy when utilised , yet this morning I read here in the Guardian how householders aren’t improving energy efficiency after insulating.
This is the article here.
[“‘Rebound effect’ cancels out home insulation’s impact on gas use – study | Energy efficiency | The Guardian” ‘Rebound effect’ cancels out home insulation’s impact on gas use – study | Energy efficiency | The Guardian](“‘Rebound effect’ cancels out home insulation’s impact on gas use – study | Energy efficiency | The Guardian” ‘Rebound effect’ cancels out home insulation’s impact on gas use – study | Energy efficiency | The Guardian)

Reading it prompted me to think about our experience with insulation and where we’ve noticed the benefits and struggled with the complexities of insulating - mostly around installation and things we didn’t understand, such as moisture and damp - all of which we experienced and learned about when installing insulation in our cold loft - an experience we documented here in the forum.

Having lived in a large draughty house over a few winters now , we know where our efforts are best focused and fully understand the term ‘thermal envelope’ and how achieving this in a room will prevent heatloss and pentrating cold. We also understand which rooms in our home are the most temperate and naturally sheltered through the seasons - these are rooms nestled between other rooms, with smaller windows and less external wall space - we utilise these rooms the most.

We’ve experimented effectively with draughtproofing and various ways of heating - using whole house heating v one room, gas central heating v one electric radiator, as well as how to heat the person not the space.

Watching the smart meter has certainly been a good guide to what is cost effective. Initially determined to help our planet by reducing our carbon footprint, it is now the need to save money, which is driving us harder still to look more closely at how we keep warm and remain energy efficient

Currently, we don’t use the whole house gas central heating - we can’t afford it. Opting instead to heat the room we’re sitting in via an electric heater; it’s much cheaper than the gas and we’re still comfortable.
Recently, we learned about the science of layering clothes and have invested in merino wool base layers -these are a revelation - successfully keeping us warm without any heating on.
Being a keen hiker and lover of the outdoors, it was this article, which resonated with me and prompted me to invest in insulating our bodies as a more cost effective means to keeping warm . This investment has proved most liberating from the shackles of the energy companies.

The previius article about’ insulation not reducing energy use’ I think is about people with no interest in it. Likely they take energy use and comfort for granted in some way.
Meanwhile, for those who are interested, I thought I’d share my experience here.

To sum up our journey so far, we will be insulating one of our bedrooms located on two exterior walls as soon as financially possible. Costs for this will include solving the penetrating damp problem, before we insulate. Meanwhile and most importantly, we are cost effectively comfortable and warm and have dramatically reduced our carbon footprints as well as our bills in the process too.

Best wishes everyone. Here’s to energy saving, keeping warm, liberation and helping our beautiful planet all at the same time.

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The newspapers often lag behind the science and this is true of the rebound effect. For years retrofit designers have allowed for a two or more degree increase in set temperature as people find that they can warm the house more without increasing their bills (usage). Those in fuel poverty who are lucky enough to find themselves in a retrofitted property are likely to increase their room temperature substantially.

It isn’t until you insulate beyond the rebound that you see real energy savings.

As you approach Passivhaus standards other factors improve thermal comfort and thermostats may be set lower without loss of comfort.


I am going to agree with Tim – newspapers try to grab the attention of the reader and sensationalise headlines. When you insulate and the temperature rises internally, draughts become important due to the larger temperature difference = airtightness becomes an issue. I must confess that as we have improved insulation, we have not turned down the thermostat. The house gets warm and stays warmer for longer using less energy. We have even found that higher occupancy raised the house temperature. Progressively insulating the house room by room will bring additional benefits once you get past a threshold point of dealing with most of the significant heat loss sources / issue. Keep going.

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The article is mostly about people putting in extensions and consevartories after the insulation work, and also changing their habits to be less careful. This then increases the U value for the house, unless the extension is built to latest standards and has building control involved. The other replys are of course correct in that the benefits of insulation are higher than trying to keep heating.

Anyone can change their habits to be less careful and it can even be a conscious effort if they think they are saving elsewhere due to their insulation.

Adding a conservatory is, I suppose, relatively cheap and most people won’t understand the implications on their energy use.

But an extension? Blame the designer, architect and contractors as much as the client. All those people have a duty to build to latest building regulations as a minimum and to work in the client’s best interests.

This is not really news. I thing most informed people already knew.

At last, a step in the right direction by the government.

Lets hope the government have enough experience now, to spend this funding wisely to achieve energy efficiency and cut carbon.

I am sure they have the experience but unfortunately I doubt that they have the wisdom.

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This report is from January but I have only just become aware of it.

I see that most people have never heard of the boiler upgrade scheme (BUS) but that is probably part of the government’s secret plan, as there isn’t enough money in the pot for those that have heard of it let alone everyone.

This article puts numbers to something I think members of this forum knew anyway.

I’m not allowed another consecutive post, so I’m adding an update to this one.

Here is a US press release about the advantages for occupier, developer, nation and world of building properly.

The UK government isn’t bothering to catch up on US incentives so the same doesn’t quite apply here (yet?)