Often when people think about insulation they think of keeping in the heat, of cold countries and thick walls. However even in tropical climates insulation is an important part of construction and now there are new developments which mean that insulation can not only be more environmentally friendly but safer for people as well.
There are many benefits to having good insulation. It reduces heat gain in tropical climates such as Thailand. It also controls condensation which is important in a country where it rains heavily for part of the year and is humid all year round. Water stains or mould on interior lines are the most obvious sign of condensation and this means that the humid air has infiltrated the building structure.
Insulation also reduces noise levels and the strategic use of acoustic insulation is an essential part of any modern construction. For example, even the noise of rain through metal roofing can be significantly reduced by installing good insulation in the roof system.
Insulation should also help you save on energy costs. Because it reduces heat gain houses should be able to save between 30 to 50% on electricity bills.
Factors to take into account when choosing insulation include air temperature, levels of solar radiation, air movement and humidity. Tropical environments such as Thailand generate the most extreme and powerful examples of each of these factors.
Usually conventional polystyrene and polyurethane foam blends are used in insulation because of their excellent capacity to insulate, but they require petroleum for production, contain toxic chemicals and are non-biodegradable. However, more and more ‘green’ insulating products are coming onto the market.
Recycled paper insulation is currently popular in the UK and uses recycled newsprint. Over one million homes in Britain now have this type of insulation.
Hempflax insulation mostly uses hemp fibre with some added polyester fibre for reinforcing. Hemp is naturally resistant to moths and beetles so extra chemical applications are avoided.
Cotton fibres are also a popular option as they also contain no harmful chemicals. Glass fibre insulation uses up to 80% of recycled glass and has proven to be very effective.
The very latest idea is organic insulation which consists of water, flour, minerals and mushroom spores. Scientists are still testing this product but it is possible that this will be the way forward. It is cheap, easy to manufacture and completely safe for the environment and people.
Sustainable practices are the measures that satisfy the needs of people today while enhancing the quality of life for future generations. So make sure you choose insulation which is not only practical and effective, but environmentally friendly and uses up to 80% of recyclable materials in its production. After all, in Thailand everything is recycled, so it can’t be that hard.
This article is provided courtesy of Phuket Villas & Homes as part of the company’s corporate responsibility programme.
This post was written by HKT Homes on September 13, 2009