Australian summers are hot. In some parts of the country, regular temperatures above 40degC is common during the hot months of the year. During winter, in cooler parts of the country, temperatures below 0degC are common especially at night.
Insulation is absolutely essential for any Australian home. It creates a temperature barrier by absorbing heat and improves the energy efficiency of any heating or cooling appliances being used, therefore saving the environment any extra nasty greenhouse gasses.
Types of insulation
There are two main types of insulation. Bulk insulation, and reflective insulation. Sometimes a combination of both is necessary to achieve the desired environment. Bulk insualation is usually made of fiberglass mineral wool or rockwool, synthetic fibre or sheep's wool. These come in pre-cut batts or a roll to cut to size. Insulation batts are the most popular form of insulation used especially if the space to be insulated is easily accessible.
Another form is loose fill insulation. It is made of cellulose fibre or mineral wool This is pumped into the roof/wall space and is made of recycled and treated paper waste. Rigid insulation are pre-cut boards to insulate roof/wall/floor spaces where rigid insulation is the only option such as in cathedral ceilings etc. Reflective foil insulation does just that. It reflects heat. Often double bonded with batts or material so that it works in both directions.
R-value is a measure of thermal heat transfer resistance. R-values usually range from 0.5 - 5. The higher the R-value, the greater thermal resistance (or insulative) quality the material has. All new buildings must meet specific minimum R-value requirements for the building's roof, walls and flooring systems. This is set out in the National Construction Code of Australia. These requirements are mandatory, but are minimumratings for your specific environment.
Insulation is important consideration for any new or renovated home. Make sure you are well informed. If you can go above and beyond minimum requirements this is highly recommended. The better resistance to heat transfer, the more controllable and comfortable your internal environment will be year round!
For more information visit http://yourhome.gov.au/technical/fs47.html