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Revealed: The not so secret, secret about insulation…

Updated: Nov 1, 2022

When you think about insulation, I’ll bet that you only think of it in terms of keeping the heat in, keeping your home cosy and your heating bills down, don’t you?

In light of the glorious weather the UK has had recently, I thought it would be a good idea to clue you in on a not so well-known fact about insulation.

I’m going to let you in on the secret about insulation…which isn’t really a secret at all! People just tend to overlook it.

Insulation isn’t just for keeping the hot air in, it keeps your home cool in the summer too.

There it is, the worst kept secret about insulation that nobody seems to know about…

More and more air conditioning units are being brought into the UK and the running of these is a great waste of electricity. If a house is well insulated and you can use some sun shading techniques to stop the fierce summer sun hitting your windows, then in most cases air conditioning would not be needed. The other useful technique used in hot climates is using what is called “stack effect” to drive air up and through your house.

Stack ventilation techniques have been used for centuries to make sure that the building has a comfortable indoor environment. The need for deep-plan buildings seems to be becoming more and more inevitable, and with this, stack ventilation is becoming more important.  Although this strategy is dependent on indoor-outdoor temperature differences, many elements and devices based upon this ventilation concept have been developed to bypass these weaknesses, especially in terms of reliability and applicability in a modern building.

Historically, it’s been reported that people of the Minoan period used wind towers and building height for vertical air movement. During the times of the Roman Empire, they had flat roofs above living quarters, these had vent holes to allow smoke out from the interiors. This approach is similar to the stack ventilation strategy incorporated in the Indian Teepee which has a hole at the top to let stale air out and fresh air in.

Of course in these primitive societies, they did not use an architect but architects are now studying just how these techniques can be adapted.

Written by Jade Turney – Building Tectonics Ltd.

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