[First filed: Nov 3, 2010 @ 11:00]
Despite being subject to drastically varying temperatures throughout the year, Canberra homes like most of Australia, are typically under insulated. It’s easy to establish an argument that poor building and energy efficiency standards in the past have resulted in the poorly insulated housing stock we have today. However, identifying the barriers that home owners face in upgrading their home’s insulation is a slightly more challenging task.
Surely it isn’t education – you’d be hard pressed to find a person on the street that wasn’t aware that insulation can make your home more comfortable and energy efficient. So perhaps the barrier is cost?… Peter Garrett and the Labour Government certainly thought so; however they tragically overlooked a major detail when they rolled out their insulation rebate program.
The failed federal insulation rebate highlighted, in the most tragic of circumstances, the lack of insulation retrofitting expertise in the Australian labour force. Retrofitting insulation (installing new insulation in an existing building) involves a completely different skill set and risk profile compared to installation of insulation in new homes. Unlike in new home installations where the insulation installer is all done before plaster linings are installed, insulation retrofitters have to work in a completely finished environment, with all the building’s services connected and running through their workspace and quite possibly an environment subject to excessive heat along with decades of dust, debris and pest build up.
A lack of formal scrutiny in the past has allowed a culture to develop of insulation installation being a task for a labourer rather than a professional. Whilst this may be a suitable culture for the new home market to have, it isn’t welcome in the more complex retrofitting market.
Aside from the obvious safety concerns, incorrectly installed insulation simply doesn’t work. Gaps of merely 5% in a cover of ceiling insulation can result in almost a 50% reduction in efficiency. Choosing a professional insulation retrofitter is far more important than choosing pink over yellow batts and vice versa.
The good news is there is an insulation company in Canberra that specialises in retrofitting insulation and the ACT government continue to offer their $500 EnergyWise rebate through the Home Energy Advice Team.
At Vac to the Future we specialise in removing and replacing insulation in existing homes. We can install ceiling, wall and floor insulation along with draft sealing and ventilation solutions. To find out more about insulation retrofitting, the $500 ACT EnergyWise rebate and how Vac to the Future can help make your home comfortable, safe and energy efficient, call 02 6254 5715 or visit www.vactothefuture.com