Updated 12 June 2013

Green ceilings

Insulating the ceiling in your home is an economical way to make it cosier in winter and cooler in summer.

Installing insulation in your ceiling lowers your energy bills, and you can choose to use mostly recycled materials too.

You will quickly recoup the cost of installing thermal insulation with the electricity you save on space heating: lack of ceiling insulation is responsible for up to 50% of total domestic heat loss, according to Eskom. Floors between storeys can often also be insulated as well.

Another advantage of insulation is it helps to muffle neighbourhood noise – including your own.

There are different types of insulation available in South Africa, including fibreglass (glass wool), a cellulose mixture that is blown into the ceiling, and polyester insulation.

These are all pretty effective, and all involve the use of recycled materials. Polyester insulation is made from recycled plastic (PET) bottles, while cellulose insulation is largely made of recycled paper. Fibreglass also includes recycled glass; according to the company Aerolite, which installs this kind of insulation, up to 80% of their product is made from recycled materials.

Furthermore these products have all been given the all-clear health-wise. There is a small risk that fibreglass fibres can cause skin, eye and respiratory irritation when insulation is being installed or removed, but this can be easily avoided if correct health and safety procedures are followed. Fibreglass has not been linked to serious long-term health problems.

Companies that install cellulose insulation include Thermguard and Eco-insulation. Companies that install polyester insulation include Home Comfort and Insuthem.

Image: Shutterstock

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