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Significant amounts of energy through heating and cooling are lost through “leaky” buildings. This leads to more energy being used to maintain a good thermal environment within the building, which causes higher bills and higher carbon footprints. To improve the insulation of a building there are several steps that can be taken, which should be balanced with protecting the original heritage of the building. 


It’s estimated that around 25% of heat is lost through a typical roof on a traditional building, so adding loft insulation can have a significant impact and is a common step in improving the thermal performance of a building. 

Generally, there are two approaches for roof insulation; insulating at ceiling level which creates a cold roof space, or between the rafters of the roof which creates a warm roof space. 

There are a range of materials available. At least 270mm of material is recommended for it to be effective: 

  • Natural materials such as hemp fibre board or sheep’s wool 
  • Recycled products 
  • Products made from glass or modern materials 

More information can be found at: 


Insulating your floor can also be a great way to reduce heat loss. Usually, only ground floors need to be insulated and not upper floors. However, if you’re above any unheated spaces you could be losing a lot of heat through those spaces so any floors above unheated spaces should be considered for insulation. 

Different kinds of floors require different methods and materials for insulation but can still be modified to improve their thermal performance. 

  • Solid concrete floors can be insulated when it needs to be replaced or can have rigid insulation laid on top of it. 
  • Suspended timber floors can be improved by retrofitting insulation materials between the supporting joists beneath the floorboards. 

More information can be found at: 


Similar to roofs and floors, the material, location and construction of a wall will determine what kind of insulation can be undertaken. 

Solid walls, either brick or stone, can be difficult to insulate due to the risk of trapping moisture, or it may damage the appearance of the wall. However, it may be worth considering insulation improvements if repair work needs carrying out, such as when inappropriate cement render is being removed for external walls. Render can be replaced with materials to help insulation such as: 

  • Insulated lime render 
  • Hemp fibre 
  • Expanded clay aggregate 

Alternatively, coverings of solid walls can be added which help to reduce heat loss through that wall such as rigid insulation coverings or insulating plaster. 

More information on solid walls can be found here: 

Cavity walls are easier to insulate as insulation materials can be inserted into the cavity between the two wall sections. The insulation material can be: 

  • Mineral wool or fibre 
  • Expanding foam
  • Polystyrene beads or foam 

More information on cavity wall insulation can be found at: