Are we over-insulating?
In the last ten years great strides have been made in the insulation of new homes. Indeed the same goes for older properties where grants were even available for retro-fitting insulation. We have been educated that super-insulation is good, because it cuts down on the precious energy needed to heat our homes. And less energy means fewer CO2 emissions.
However, in recent years – and at the same time as this push for improved insulation occurred - we have seen new record high temperatures set and broken, with climate change experts, meteorologists and scientists warning us to become used to rising temperatures.
Hundreds of years ago, homes were specifically designed to breathe. The walls were thick, but often made of cob and lime, to retain a relatively consistent temperature inside, regardless of the extremes of temperature outside. Not only are modern houses super-insulated compared to those even two decades ago, but they also often have larger expanses of glazing, which absorbs heat.
So if we are to see rising temperatures in the long term how will we cool these super-insulated houses down. It won’t always be a case of opening windows, as with heat comes strong (and often very warm) winds. If we aren’t careful, we will need to add fans and air-conditioning systems to combat the insulation, which will of course push back up the energy used and the resulting CO2 emissions?!