Rosie’s Ceiling Insulation Journey

Rosie didn’t know much about ceiling insulation when she first built her home in 1999.

She had too many other decisions to make and didn’t prioritise this one. As a result, the ceiling was filled with a loose-fill fibreglass product.

When educated by the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority years later, Rosie took a look at her insulation. She discovered that the loose fluff had dispersed and blown to the corners in many sections and settled. Settling occurs when insulation gets old, loses its loft and reduces in height.

Rosie said “In deciding to upgrade my insulation I chose to install more than the minimum required under the building code. I’d learnt my lesson and wanted to be warm in winter.”

Even though a minimum of R2.9 insulation was required in Rosie’s home, she had R3.6 Mammoth ceiling blanket installed – the amount usually installed in the South Island. 

To Rosie’s surprise, she finds her home a comfortable temperature in winter, and in the height of summer while working at home during Covid 19. 

Rosie explains how she keeps the additional heat out during the mid-afternoon when the sun streams into her north-west facing windows. “I just pull the thermal curtains to keep the direct sunlight out. It’s great to have a cool refuge inside especially while I’m working.”

Adapted from Brightr, (January 3rd 2022). Summer Insulation Case Study.

Keep Cool with Green Dog this Summer for as little as 10c

Keep cool with Green Dog: Tips and tricks to keep cool this summer for as little as 10c

Tired of battling the heat to get a good night’s sleep? Try House Doctor Nelson Lebo’s tricks to cool down your home at the end of a hot summer’s day. 

Turn your fan around!

At night, take advantage of the cooler outside temperatures and swap out the warm air inside your home with cool outside air.

As soon as the afternoon temperature outside begins to drop after sunset, point your fan out the window to blow the hot air out. Open a window on the shady side of the house to draw the cool air in. 

Lebo says the fan trick is the best low-cost highly effective technique to keep a home cool because fans use almost no power. 

Most people are using the fan in a way that’s not the best for cooling down their house. Instead, they are blowing the hot air around their house. A fan will circulate warm air giving the illusion of cooling the skin while not doing anything for the temperature.

For a good night’s sleep…

Instead of having the fan pointed at your bed, open a single window in your bedroom and point the fan out the window in another room to create a cooling draft. This technique will replace the warm air in the room with cooler air, reducing the temperature.

John Hornblow from Palmerston North said the House Doctor’s solution meant he and his wife Jenny could sleep comfortably in a cool room, for about 10c.

“It’s brilliant, it dropped the temperature in our room significantly.” 

The volume of air that comes in matches the volume of air that goes out, creating a cooling breeze. Lebo believes you could be pushing out 26-degree air, and drawing in 16-18 degree air.

Alternatively, you could close all windows except for one in your bedroom and turn on the bathroom extractor fan for the “best night’s sleep ever.” 

Like using the kitchen extractor to remove cooking and heat smells, or the bathroom fan to take remove steamy air the theory remains the same – hot air out, cool air in.

Cross ventilation can also be achieved in any room that has two windows.

Treat your home like a chilly bin

In winter we use curtains to keep the warm air in at night. Curtains, especially floor length can be used in Summer to keep the heat out during the day. 

After bringing the cool air in overnight try to keep it there by keeping doors and windows closed and curtains drawn. This will delay your house from heating up on a hot morning and prevent hot air from entering. 

In winter we use curtains to keep the warm air in at night. Curtains, especially floor-length, can be used in Summer to keep the heat out during the day. 

Keeping curtains drawn on the east-facing windows in the morning will keep the sun out, and against the west-facing windows as the sun moves around.

Curtains not needed for privacy can also be left open at night allowing hot air to escape. 

Adapted from Janine Rankin (2016), Can’t sleep because of the heat? Try this clever fan trick, Stuff.

Wool insulation more desirable due to its health benefits

Southland insulation business owner was instantly converted to wool after researching to develop his company. 

James Carter had been insulating homes for 30 years before he made the switch to wool. He is also seeing others attitudes shift towards wool as people value health and sustainability. 

Carter says that fitting fibreglass batts on hot days is what stopped him from using them. “When the sunlight’s coming through the window, you can actually see the glass floating in the air.” 

Carter thinks that a lot more people are starting to realise the health benefits of wool and are willing to pay a bit more for an overall better result for their bodies. 

On average, wool insulation is about 25 to 50 per cent more expensive than fibreglass alternatives. However, wool’s sustainable fibres can retain 33 per cent of its weight in moisture and regulate temperatures – making its insulation much better.

Fibres from wool are biodegradable, renewable and do not affect waterways, unlike fibreglass insulation. Wool’s ability to absorb common chemicals and pollutants, such as formaldehyde, means wool insulation also improves air quality.

Carter’s wool is grown and produced in the South Island meaning his supply chains are not affected like traditional fibreglass insulation being transported from Auckland. 

He believes it should be endorsed more by the Government through its Healthy Homes initiative. 

“I certainly think it’s a growing industry, it just needs a push to make the public more aware of the benefits”, he said.

John Greene CEO of Canterbury’s Green Dog Insulation comments “at Green Dog, we always offer woollen insulation as a premium environmental option to those interested in green alternatives.’ 

Campaign for Wool NZ chairman Tom O’Sullivan believes educating consumers about the natural sustainable properties of wool whilst expanding wool-based products could help the current crisis within the shearing industry.

Adapted from Laura Hooper (Jan 23rd 2022), Wool gaining traction as sustainable insulation alternative. Stuff.


Insulation prevents power outages?

New Zealand experienced its highest ever peak in demand for electricity on Monday August 9th, resulting in a widespread power outage.

Insulation Heat Loss Diagram

Up to 20,000 North Island households were left in the dark and cold on one of the coldest nights of the year. Medically dependent customers were advised by Transpower to make back up plans or travel to Waikato Hospital if required, as they did not have enough generation to maintain demand. 

Energy analyst Molly Melhuish has warned that electricity demand surges are only going to become more common. An insulated home will not only provide warmth in the event of a power outage, but will also reduce the chances of outages from happening. 

Heating an uninsulated home wastes money and electricity as the heat escapes directly out of the walls. Insulation has a small cost to install yet offers its benefits cost-free for decades, quickly paying off the investment.

According to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment their new proposed insulation standards could save 46-68% on household energy use (geographically dependent), which is thousands of dollars per family a year.

Additional health benefits improve your quality of life, medical bills and reduce costs to the health system by $5 for every dollar spent on insulation, according to Stuff. With climate change pressure and demand for electricity increasing, it is no longer something we can afford to waste. Building new electricity generation and transmission to keep up with demand will cost Aotearoa billions of dollars. If every household consciously does their bit to reduce their energy consumption, we will all benefit from extra availabile electricity and money to invest into new renewable energy generation.

New Zealand is making progress in implementing sustainable efforts and regulations such as Healthy Homes requirements for rentals, Warmer Kiwi Homes, Energy Performance Certificates and Building for Climate Change. Whilst these standards are a good start for the country, educating kiwis and encouraging lower energy lifestyles and mindsets are needed to follow them through.

In addition to insulation, we can prevent future outages by simply turning off lights we don’t need and switching to LED bulbs, using cold, shorter wash cycles, utilising public transport, walking short distances, shopping locally, reducing our dairy and meat consumption, reducing fossil fuel usage, considering solar power and planting trees!

Together, small steps create massive change. Being mindful of your own carbon footprint is a great place to start. Start minimising your costs and maximising your comfort with Green Dog Insulation today.  

Adapted from Manthel, G. (2021). Time to up home insulation to avoid more blackouts. Stuff.  

Got questions? Call us on 03 384 9001 or Request a FREE Consultation

Many renters live in cold and mouldy houses

Mould in Christchurch Home

Chloe Swarbick, Green Party MP petitions for a rental ‘Warrant of Fitness’ as well as Healthy Homes Regulations in response to finding damp and visible mould in 28,000 New Zealand homes, December 2020.

The warrant of fitness would cover the standards set in the Healthy Homes Regulations for insulation, ventilation and heating. Additionally it would cover basic necessities like smoke alarms, secure locks on doors and windows, and safe electrical wiring to “ensure all rentals are up to standard without a stressful and expensive fight,” Swarbrick. 

Swarbrick also said in response to some landlords that while the Healthy Homes standards were an important step, they were not very enforceable.

However Sharon Cullwick, Property Investors Federation executive officer said that along with their code of compliance certificate, all houses meeting Healthy Homes criteria should have covered the same grounds as the Warrant of Fitness. 

Got questions? Call us on 03 384 9001 or Request a FREE Consultation

Adapted from Stuff, (2021). Do we need a rental property warrent of fitness? 

MBIE Asks For Feedback On Insulation Requirements – Scoop Business

MBIE is asking for feedback on whether New Zealanders think the Building Code should be updated to require more insulation in new homes and buildings. The proposals also suggest adopting new climate zones to better reflect the New Zealand environment.

The request for feedback is part of the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment (MBIE)’s annual consultation on the Building Code.

“In previous consultation processes, we received strong feedback that changes should be made to the Building Code to ensure New Zealand’s homes and buildings are warmer, drier, healthier, and more energy-efficient,” says Building Performance and Engineering Manager Dave Robson.

“We’ve listened, and we want to make changes to the Building Code that work for New Zealanders,” says Dave.

“We are considering options for New Zealanders to bring our insulation requirements in line with other parts of the world.”

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“Before we make any changes, we want to hear what people think of the proposals – if New Zealanders think insulation requirements should change, and if so, how fast the changes should be made, how far the changes should go, and how we might progressively phase in any changes.”

“We’re also looking into additional climate zones in the Building Code to better reflect the New Zealand environment, so insulation requirements would vary based on where a building is located – for example, Queenstown will no longer be in the same climate zone as Nelson, as clearly the weather these areas experience is very different.”

“We’re also proposing changes that support the increasing demand for higher-density housing. This includes new requirements that will ensure people living in apartments and high-rise buildings have enough natural light,” says Dave.

Other proposed changes include a new verification method to ensure heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems in commercial buildings are designed and installed to reduce the load on the national grid, and minor changes to weather tightness testing methods for cladding on mid-rise buildings, and geotechnical requirements.

“In addition to the Building Code consultation, we’re also consulting on a new approach to how we ensure the set of standards that are referenced in the Building Code system remain up-to-date and fit-for-purpose.”

“These are important changes, so I encourage everyone interested to take the time to read through the proposals and let us know what you think,” Dave says.

The consultation runs from 6 April to 28 May 2021.

Got questions? Call us on 03 384 9001 or Request a FREE Consultation