Decarbonising our energy supply is a worldwide policy issue that urgently needs to change. With the built environment in the UK contributing to 40% of the country’s carbon footprint, the architectural and construction industries need to secure higher standards of sustainability in buildings by increasing energy efficiency and using recyclable, low carbon building materials.
Improving energy efficiency in buildings is a cost-effective way of reducing energy usage and carbon dioxide emissions. The use of solar panels, low-carbon materials, modular construction strategy all contributes to a more energy efficient environment. Heating results in 10% of the UK’s carbon footprint; 35% of building’s heat are lost throughout the walls, 25% via the roof of a building, and windows and doors loose approximately 20%. A sustainable solution to this issue (which can be implemented instantly), is the incorporation of insulation into buildings via lofts, doors, flooring and windows.
The Energy Saving Trust estimates that a three-bedroom house can save up to £300 on energy bills throughout a year by the installation of effective insulation. Well-insulated buildings result in less energy generated to keep occupants’ warm in the winter, while the insulation also allows the building to remain cool in the summer. As less heat is generated and less carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere, effectively insulating a property reduces the effects of global warming by substantially reducing energy consumption.
Installing insulation into a building can significantly improve a building’s energy performance. Insulation (such as mineral wool, hemp, or seaweed) can be introduced into roofs which helps minimise heat loss and mitigate acoustic issues. Insulation can be added inside and outside the walls, and floors can be insulated by layering insulation between joists underneath the floorboards. Natural insulation such as stone wool insulation also helps ventilate the building, combating bacteria and preventing the construction from rotting.
To learn what makes a 'Zero energy house' click here.