Insulation Pays!

CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
A while back I was mentioning how high the electric bills were getting in my all-electric house and looking for relief - including the possible addition of solar. But kW/hrs are cheap here - 7¢ - which makes capital investment in solar equipment a bad proposition. Instead I went ahead and improved some of the insulation, concentrating on obvious week points.

The results are in: the last electric bill was actually lower than same time last year, despite the fact this has been a much, much colder winter and the rates have gone up.

As long as solar costs remain at the $1 per kW/hr and above it won't find much market in an area where grid rates are less than 10¢! But it is coming down, due in part to the number of brave souls who are investing in the technology out of principal rather than pure economics. (Unlike at the cabin where there is no electric grid for miles so solar becomes the only practical solution.)

Just further proof that conservation pays, and should be your first consideration.
But I'd still add solar to this place if I could, on principal. :D


  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,313 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Insulation Pays!



    Good for you,

  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,311 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Insulation Pays!

    we had no doubt that's the way to go. what was your insulation improvement that you made? that is: from r? to r? and where?
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Insulation Pays!


    In this case it was more a matter of proper installation rather than an actual increase in R value. They had left gaps and voids which have enormous consequences. One problem was that the insulation had no 'wind block' on the back side: exposed to air currents under the eaves of a Tudor-style house. As you know, it's trapped 'dead' air that does the job. A lack of 'blocking' on the floor joists was the other, and probably biggest, flaw.

    But there's more to go! If only it weren't still below freezing, and I didn't have all this other (income) work to do. :D
  • nigtomdawnigtomdaw Solar Expert Posts: 705 ✭✭
    Re: Insulation Pays!

    Ive just done the same with my house, it was made from single 6 inch concrete blocks rendered with a tin roof, (I didnt pay a lot for it it was originally a barn) hot in summer cold in winter and lots of condesation from the tin roof. Ive added a complete outer skin of honey comb thermal terrocota blocks, walls are over 15 inches thick now with multiple air pockets and a new concrete roof with sprayed foam insulation and traditional under over Spanish tiles and new double glazed windows .

    Picture 1 shows original house with new thermal block bay where original tractor door was
    Picture 2 shows thermal blocks and new windows going up
    Picture 3 shows (just) yellow coloured spray foam insulation on roof b4 tiles are fitted
    Picture 4 with waterproof coloured top coat applied.
    Picture 5 Well this is solar forum one piccy with the solar shed

    No more condensation from the roof and a lot warmer wish Id insulated the concrete floor b4 laying tiles they are cold summer and winter .

    On to SHW soon.

    Nigel, now u know why I havent been around lately still loads 2 do:cry:
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,637 admin
    Re: Insulation Pays!

    Starting to look really nice!

    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • nigtomdawnigtomdaw Solar Expert Posts: 705 ✭✭
    Re: Insulation Pays!

    Cheers Bill, I| like photos as well as words, a photo speaks a thousand words IMHO
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,311 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Insulation Pays!

    hey, i like what all you're doing. wish i was there to just see some of this implemented.
    what type windows did you put in out of curiosity?
    i guess you may be stuck with putting down some rugs for now, even if only throw rugs, to take the chill out of your feet.
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Insulation Pays!


    How are the door thresholds on that place? If you could get even 1/2" of foam down it would make a gigantic difference for the floors! Of course if you're using them for solar mass the trick is to insulate the slab around the outside of the building. My house has the same problem, but there's just no practical way to fix it. I hate buildings on slabs!

    And I'm very glad it's you lifting all those blocks into place and not me! :p
  • nigtomdawnigtomdaw Solar Expert Posts: 705 ✭✭
    Re: Insulation Pays!

    Niel, Most of the windows are alluminium framed sliding windows with double glazed glass only a 10mm air gap. With a external roller PVC shutter to keep heat out in summer and in during winter nights. The shutters make more difference than the double glazed window for heat retention IMHO. These sliding windows also have an internal sliding fly screen as the windows are usually open between may and september 24/7 . The shutters have a venting systems if not fully closed to let air in and out whilst still reflecting the summer sun.

    The front door is a ex demo model from a double glazing firm in UPVC with a 1 inch air gap sourced in UK and brought over by me along with 2 other secondhand UPVC doors from UK as size doesnt matter when you have to build the door way anyhow.

    The upstair bathroom windows are tilt and open inwards in Aluminium with PVC external shutters because we need a fire escape route sliding windows aren't big enough.

    UPVC plastic windows are only finding favor recently in Spain.

    Cariboocoot nearly all the windows and doors were fitted using a special type of expanding foam (sticky type which was used to fix the tiles to the roof, this means they are sealed and more importantly insulated from the main building. The only two windows which were mortared in directly were the northside bathroom windows and Im getting condensation on these alluminium framed units and not the foamed in ones. If you look at Picture 2 you will see what I mean The windows on the outside are sealed in again using the coloured waterproof monocap hiding the foam fixing.

    The thermal blocks werent too bad it was the 2600 roof tiles that were the pain we had a electric winch and 1 barrow but even they where a pleasure compared to 8 tone of concrete we hauled up over 2 days for the concrete roof slab, which my builder cleverly used the existing corragated roof as the shuttering just removed the edges. Internal supports lots of mesh and caged steel frame,five weeks of curing and job done.;)
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