Can home insulation pay for itself? It’s one thing to budget for up-front installation costs, but how do you make sure the money you spend insulating your home gives you the most long-term ‘bang for your buck’?
Insulation as an Investment
While staying warm in Winter and cool in Summer is the obvious reason for insulating , you will also reap economic benefits over the long term. With this in mind, insulation should be considered an investment rather than an outright expense. Like other investments, it’s possible to assess whether insulation provides a good Return on Investment (ROI).
It makes sense to measure the ROI in terms of cost savings. Since heating and cooling can account for more than 40% of a building’s annual energy consumption,* insulation can significantly reduce your power bills. Whether you install basic ceiling insulation, or take further steps to extensively insulate floors and walls as well, you’ll see lower power bills.
How Insulation Saves You Money
When properly installed, insulation maintains a comfortable ambient temperature. In turn, this reduces your dependence on heaters and air-conditioners, reducing your utility bills and saving you money.
What’s more, insulation also has the potential to increase the efficiency of your heating and cooling appliances. Although it’s difficult to generically assign a dollar amount on the ROI of insulation, it’s easy to see why not insulating your home is an expensive decision:
- Even a top-range, energy-efficient air conditioner will waste a lot of electricity trying to cool a house that is not insulated and absorbs heat.
- Likewise, even a 5-star energy-efficient gas heater will perform poorly in a non-insulated room that quickly loses heat.
- When your air-conditioner or heater is forced to work harder, it burns more fuel, incurring a higher cost per hour just to maintain ambient temperature.
- Your overworked heater or air-conditioner will incur higher maintenance costs, will breakdown more often and typically have a shorter life cycle.
- The combined effect is inefficient, expensive heating and cooling via overworked appliances with shorter lifecycles.
Insulation, therefore, is clearly a smart purchase. It saves you money by extending the life or your heating/cooling appliances and generating energy cost savings on a daily basis.
Beyond Cost Savings
While it may take a few years for energy savings to pay for the cost of insulation, there’s another benefit that can put money back into your pocket sooner – your property’s resale value.
An insulated property is more attractive to buyers, adding to the appeal and market value of your property.
As a property owner, follow these simple guidelines to ensure you install the right insulation product for your property and maximise your ROI:
- Purchase the correct product. Insulation requirements (including recommended R-Values) vary depending on your geographic location and the style of building. It is important to seek the advice of your supplier to ensure you purchase the correct product for your needs.
- Choose an experienced installer. Insulation must be properly installed to guarantee the full benefit of the product and the full cost savings. If insulation is fitted incorrectly as a result of poor workmanship, your home will be less energy efficient. A good technician will not only install your insulation correctly, they will also investigate, seal and eliminate air leaks (typically found around light fittings and other fixtures) prior to commencing installation. Eliminating air leaks will greatly increase the effectiveness of your insulation – both in terms of maintaining air temperature and reducing energy expenditure.
- Buy the best you can afford. When it comes to insulating, spending a little more money up-front can return greater long term savings. Paying for an expert installer and paying for a high quality product may be expensive now, but you’ll save more on power bills and also extend the life or your heating/cooling appliances.
It’s Not All About the Money
Of course the advantages of insulation extend beyond cost-savings and thermal comfort. For many people, ROI calculations are not complete without considering non-monetary benefits such as sound proofing and “greener living”. In fact, energy savings are not only good for your wallet, but good for the environment. As energy efficient properties become more popular, insulation is essential in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Although results vary greatly from building to building (depending on the type of insulation, type of building, local climate and more), insulation should be evaluated in terms of long term benefits, rather than a discretional expense. Without doubt, insulating your property is a smart investment with a high ROI.