JUST one in ten of UK homes is benefitting fully from loft insulation, and saving the money they think, according to new research.
Although many households have the required level of loft insulation installed, the research reveals that 82% of them use their loft for storage without realising that compressing insulation, either by boarding or simply by placing items on top of it, significantly reduces its effectiveness.
Of the 23.3 million homes in the UK, 14.1 million have been insulated, and of those, around 11.5 million homes, also use the loft for storage, meaning only 2.6 million homes, around just one in ten, is fully benefiting from their loft insulation.
Loft insulation is often squashed by items stored in the attic Photo:Grayskullduggery
The remaining 9.2 million homes have not been insulated adequately, which means they do not have the 270mm of insulation currently recommended.
The research was commissioned by LoftZone, a UK start-up company supported by The Carbon Trust, which develops innovative products to improve the use of lofts, and was conducted by Conduit Partners, a specialist technology start-up business consultancy.
“The research highlights the practicality issues with lofts in the UK,” said Dave Raval, head of entrepreneurs fast track at The Carbon Trust.
“Lofts should be insulated to the recommended 270mm, but homeowners also need the loft for storage. To board-out a loft the insulation is reduced to the height of the joists, which is either 75mm or 100mm, or the insulation is compressed below 270mm by placing items on it – both of these reduce thermal capabilities of the insulation and undermine its effectiveness.
“Another issue is that insulating to 270mm covers the joists, making loft access quite dangerous because it is hard to see where to walk. Often, insulation will be moved to allow access for storage and for maintenance, and it is rarely replaced, further exacerbating the situation.”
LoftZone is using the research to highlight its new StoreFloor product launch at EcoBuild. StoreFloor is an innovative raised loft floor which both protects the insulation and provides a safe storage platform.
“There is certainly a market for this product,” says David Lennan, chairman of LoftZone, “not only to protect the loft insulation but also very much as a home improvement providing safe storage space: 65 per cent of people said they would consider having a raised floor system, far higher than those who would consider having loft insulation.
“StoreFloor could provide one of the biggest ever incentives to improve the uptake of loft insulation, at only a small additional cost.
“With nine million homes not adequately insulated, and a further 11 million reducing the effectiveness of the insulation through storage, together with the launch of the Green Deal, LoftZone is predicting StoreFloor will become very popular.”