Over Doing Insulation – the Health Consequences

I have always been a supporter of home insulation. Exactly six years ago I wrote a post which explained the benefits of home insulation but which contained the following caveat:-

Insulation is very important. In order to try and save energy further the Government is setting air tightness standards for new homes. Here, I think, that they are on much more uncertain ground, because although air tightness does keep the heat in, it also comes at a price, and you have to be very aware of that price and what you should be doing if you live or work in an air tight building.

I went on to describe the ill effects on occupants in buildings that are too tightly insulated of carbon dioxide build up.

Recently some scientists have conducted research into the relationship between the air tightness of buildings and asthma. they found that the higher to SAP rating of a UK building, the more likely it was that the occupants or some of them would suffer from asthma.

In tightly insulated homes there is a build up of spores which can produce mold and lead to conditions which create or bring out or exacerbate asthma. I know that people who live or work in these conditions may open windows and let some fresh air in and some mold spores out, but inertia often governs human behaviour and windows remain tightly closed in winter, creating ideal breed grounds for all kinds of illnesses.

It is sad to think of all the public money that has been spent on the wrong kind of insulation; insulating lofts and cavity walls does not prevent the free flow of air in and out of buildings but draft excluders, very tightly fitting windows and similar measures, installed in homes at public expense, not only create adverse conditions within those homes but end up with the public purse being used to try and put right the poor health that these measures have created.

If I, a simple soul, could have predicted these adverse consequences in 2008, it strikes me that all the clever civil servants and ministers in charges of these measures since 2008 must be lacking in some kind of simple intellectual capacity.

2 Responses

  1. Unfortunately, climate change zealots have caused many politicians to equate energy use with unsocial behaviour. So extreme energy saving has become the goal. In the construction industry Building Magazine is advocating the idea that a building can use no energy at all for heating but just rely on heat gains from the occupants.

    These building types were actually in use in the Victorian era. They were called tread mills, or, more euphemistically, sweat shops.

  2. The insulation will not stop what falls upon the house itself though.

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