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Why insulate if it’s all for nothing?

Rebound effect cancels out home insulations impact on gas use study was not a headline I welcomed on Sunday, as a keen advocate of insulation.

I read the article with interest, not least because I feared I’d led everyone reading this blog down a blind alley by encouraging increasing insulation. But wait, for us, a better insulated house made a huge difference, so what is happening to stop those benefits?

Well, according to the article many reverted to “[their] old ways”, turning up their thermostats when things were colder.

We didn’t. Far from it, the money we saved the first couple of years were fed into better timed thermostats and smart radiator valves. What do I mean by that? Well, I do not manually turn the thermostat up or down. I have scheduled temperatures and largely, we leave that running. I run the underfloor heating very differently to the radiators and grab a jumper if the room doesn’t feel warm enough. For example, our kitchen is 18.9°C and, for me, that isn’t quite warm enough, so I have a skinny jumper on with my long sleeved top. The kitchen is set to 18°C, which according to the Vaillant and their homeowners what is the ideal room temperature page, is on the cool side of what a kitchen should be but a good temperature.

Why wear a jumper, just turn up the dial?

Well, because of the insulation in my house, that temperature would disipate slowly but would indeed do just that. There’s no point heating to 21°C to not dress warmly and then have the heat pour out of the house. Certainly, if I were cooking a meal, 18°C is a great temperature for the room to be, as I could work comfortably without generating a sweat. Having had my tea cooked for me tonight, I need the extra layer.

I am writing this in the kitchen to allow the lounge to gently warm to 19.5°C, so I can keep costs down, then I can go sit and watch a little telly before going to bed. The kitchen is begining to cool for the day, the lounge is picking up the mantle – no point in heating a room we’re not using.

So, I guess the article was right. We’ve changed our behaviour as well as benefitting from the extra insulation, making the very best of the advantage that investment gave us.

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