Author Archives: emdagency

Create an energy efficient home

If you haven’t noticed, there’s a global movement to reduce our dependance on fossil fuels and move to clean energy sources. New Zealand is seeing a high rate of adoption in electric vehicles and we’re making great strides to move to clean energy produced by solar, wind and hydro. Because the cost of living is so high, New Zealanders are also looking for ways to make their home more energy efficient.

In today’s article going to tackle how you can address one of your biggest household expenses – the cost of heating and cooling your home and how to turn your home into an energy efficient home.

Why is heating and cooling your home so expensive?

A big contributing factor to your household expenses relates to how you heat and cool your home. Running your heater or fan uses a lot of electricity and in typical kiwi households, heating or cooling tends to account for a good sum of the electric bill.

One of the reason’s may kiwi homes are difficult and expensive to heat is that they are poorly insulated. Many older New Zealand homes were built at a time where insulation standards were low. Some insulation products are known to deteriorate over time which will lower its thermal efficiency.

Fully insulating your home helps to seal its thermal envelope so it’s important to install roof, floor and wall insulation. You can read more about your home’s thermal envelope here, however poor insulation can leave gaps where air can easily escape from your home, making it difficult and costly to maintain a constant temperature. Additionally, this means that any effort put into heating or cooling is quickly lost.

Some obvious signs of a poorly insulated home include:

  • Cold drafts
  • General dampness
  • Condensation on windows
  • Mould growth
  • Difficulty heating or cooling your home

Insulating your home helps seal all the gaps where air can escape from your house. This completes your home’s thermal envelope and means less energy and effort is required to heat and cool your home. Not only does insulating your home make it warmer and dryer, but it also saves on your power bills and helps create an energy efficient home.

Insulation Funding Options

Funding options to create an energy efficient home

Today, there are a lot of funding options which can help turn your home into an energy efficient one. We’re not going to cover every option available but we are going to cover a few of the main ones below.

EECA Warmer Kiwi Homes Programme.

Firstly, we want to talk about the Warmer Kiwi Homes Programme from EECA. EECA (Energy Efficiency & Conservation Authority) is a government department that focuses on improving energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy sources. The programme is available nationwide and provides grants for eligible homes. A grant can cover up to 80% of the cost of ceiling and underfloor insulation. In some situations it may be possible to access other community funding sources which means the cost may be even lower than this

Absolute Energy are an EECA partner so can help guide you through the process of applying for a grant. To see if your eligible or if you want help applying for a grant contact us today.

ANZ Bank Good Energy Home Loan

Secondly, ANZ Bank has recently launched their ANZ Good Energy Home Loan. This provides a top up loan to property owners who already have their home loans with ANZ. The loan provides up to an $80,000 top up at 1% per annum to help create an energy efficient home. The loan can be used to improve or upgrade insulation, ventilation and even solar .

You can learn more about the ANZ Good Energy Home Loan here.

Westpac Bank

Similarly, Westpac announced a new interest-free Westpac Warm Up loan allowing you to invest in upgrading your home insulation. This interest-free loan provides access to up to $40,000 NZD for 5 years. The loan can be used for in insulation, ventilation, double glazing and solar systems.

If you already have a home loan with Westpac, this is a great way to improve your homes energy efficiency. You can find out more about the Westpac Warm Up loans here.

Discuss insulating your home with Absolute Energy

Absolute Energy have been warming up Kiwi homes for more than 20 years. Today, we are one of the most trusted insulation providers in NZ, so you can be sure your home will be in safe hands. If you’re interested in insulating your home and want to explore funding options then give send us a message or give us a call today on 0800 423 454.

So you’ve made a decision to renovate your home and you’re looking for some home renovation ideas. One of the questions you should be asking is – What renovations will add the most resale value? In this answer we help answer that question by providing our top 5 home renovation ideas that will add great value to your home. Let’s get started.

Home Renovation Ideas for your Bathroom

When it comes to home renovation ideas, you should absolutely start with the bathroom.

Having a quality bathroom is one of the top consideration’s buyers have when looking to purchase a house. A bathroom makeover can turn a small pokey space into a beautiful and functional room. Updating to modern tiles and replacing the fixtures and fittings can help transform the bathroom into one of elegance and class. Investing a little into a few smart choices can quickly add tens of thousands to the value of your home.

Remodel the kitchen to turn it into the heart of the home.

In many older New Zealand homes, the kitchen design and location was often an afterthought. The kitchen was often separated from the main living with limited workspaces and storage areas. Today, the kitchen has become the heart of so many homes and buyers look for large, sprawling kitchens connected with open plan living areas.

Remodeling your kitchen has so many benefits. A great, functional kitchen design will often lead to cooking more meals at home and helps create a central hub for family and friends to enjoy lots of laughter and deep conversations.

Not only does a modern help with the resale value of your home, but it will likely also attract more interest that will help sell your home quicker.

Think about creating multi-use spaces.

The next in our list of home renovation ideas is the creation of multi-use spaces. The garage is a perfect example of a room that can be turned into a multi-use space. Many families no longer park their cars in the garage, instead using the space as a rumpus or guest room.

If you want to turn your garage into an extra bedroom or living room, or perhaps a work from home space, renovating the garage can increase the value of your property so it warrants spending a little more to make the space liveable.

Home Renovation Ideas for your garage

Don’t forget to add solar panels to your list of home renovation ideas.

With an increased demand on New Zealand’s energy, the power bills are likely to continue to increase over the coming years. Adding solar panels allow you to generate your own electricity which will be great to charge your new EV!

The upfront cost of installing solar panels will rapidly pay for itself over time and is a great long term investment for your property that will also help with its resale value.

Insulating your home – Probably one of the easiest ways to improve  your home’s resale value.

Many older New Zealand homes have poor insulation standards which makes it cold and difficult to heat at the best of times. Houses that have poor insulation can also lead to a number of health issues or other structural problems with your home due to dampness and mould.

It’s worth topping up your old insulation and adding insulation to your walls as part of your renovations. Not only will this make your home easier to heat and cool, but it will also help make your home more energy efficient which is great for saving on the power bills!

If you’d like to know more about home insulation or would like to arrange a free assessment you can contact us here. We’d be happy to have a chat about your specific home and see how we can help improve its insulation.

Keeping your family healthy

Winter is here and no doubt you are wanting to keep your family healthy and well! In this. article, we cover a few ways you can prepare your home for the winter and ensure you avoid those viruses!

Good insulation and an efficient heating system can go a long way in keeping your home warm and dry and your family healthy.

Insulate to keep your home warm and reduce your energy bills!

Insulation is a great solution for keeping your house dry and healthy and, overall, comfortable to live in. An uninsulated house can lead to many health issues caused by mould growth, condensation and dampness. Fully insulating your home ensures your thermal envelope is closed. This means your home will be easier to heat in the winter and will help reduce your overall energy bills.

While most homes have insulation in the ceiling or floors, many New Zealand homes do not have adequate wall insulation. A lack of wall insulation can account for over 33% of your home’s energy loss so it is important to address this issue. A blown or injected insulation product like CosyWall Insulation is easy to install and doesn’t require the removal of linings.

Keep your family healthy by ensuring your home is moisture-free

A damp home can be bitterly cold in the winter and lead to several health issues for your family. Too much moisture in your home can cause damage to your floor coverings and walls and can even damage your furniture and clothes. Make every effort to eliminate moisture from your home by following these simple steps.

– Dry your washing on a clothesline when you can

– If you have to use a dryer, make sure it is vented outside.

– Have shorter showers and make sure your extractor fan is left on for a few minutes after you finish.

– Leave a window open in your bathroom for extra ventilation while in use.

– Use lids on your pots and pans when in use. This stops extra steam and moisture escaping while you’re cooking.

– Have a heat pump installed. Heat pumps are more energy-efficient than traditional gas or oil heaters and don’t release moisture into the air.

– Regularly wipe down your windows and walls if you notice condensation forming.

– Open your windows and doors for a few minutes each day to let fresh air in and ventilate your rooms without extraction fans.

– Keep mattresses off the floor by ensuring they have a base.

Practice good hygiene to keep your family healthy.

There is no substitute for good hygiene as a defence against viruses and bugs. Hand washing is one of the simplest and most effective ways to stop the spread of germs. Use warm water and lots of soap and make sure you’re scrubbing long enough. Make sure you have fresh towels and make sure your hands are dry after washing.

Keep your family healthy by washing hands

Stock up on fresh fruit and veggies

Yes, a healthy diet is of paramount importance to bolstering your immune system. Winter is one of these times where desserts and comfort foods are in high demand but make sure you keep a balanced diet. Lots of fresh fruit and vegetables during winter will provide that added defence necessary to help your family healthy once the cold sets in.

A healthy family is a well rested family – make sure they’re getting plenty of sleep!

A great nights sleep helps you stay positive and stress-free. Getting into bed at a reasonable time and ensuring an uninterrupted sleep is a sure-fire way to stay healthy. Don’t forget to regularly wash your sheets and make sure your rooms are dry, well-insulated and dust-free. Keeping a healthy bedroom is one of the best things you can do to stay healthy and well this coming winter.

how thermal insulation works So the school holidays are just around the corner and we’ve thought of a great way to keep the kids entertained for a day! Here’s a science experiment that will help the kids learn about how thermal insulation works.

How thermal insulation works

What do you do in the middle of winter when it starts to get cold? Most people would turn on a heater, put on an extra layer of clothes and snuggle up under a comfy blanket. If you’re going outside you’ll put on a jacket but have you ever considered why and how a jacket helps you keep warm?

In this activity, we’re going to demonstrate how thermal insulation works and help you find the best way to keep warm this winter!

Here’s a few basic principals to understand about thermal insulation

Heat is just a form of energy. To heat something up, for example a hot chocolate, you’ll use energy from your microwave or electric jug. This energy comes in the form of electricity or gas. Once you’re drink is nice and hot it immediately starts loosing heat. The longer you wait, the cooler it gets.

This is due to a phenomenon called heat transfer. This is where the flow of energy, in this case, heat, starts to flow from one object to another. The rule is that heat energy is always transferred from the hotter object to the colder one. In this example, the heat from the hot chocolate is being transferred out of the cup and into its surrounding air which is usually going to be colder than the drink.

Once both objects reach the same temperature the heat transfer will stop. This type of heat transfer in liquids or gases is called convection.

Another type of heat transfer is known as conduction. In this energy moves through a substance from one particle to another. A good example of conduction is when you put a pot on the stove, the pot and handle start to heat up.

Finally, heat can also be transferred through radiation. If you’ve sat around a bonfire before, you’ll know that the fire gives off a lot of heat. Although you’re not touching the fire, you feel the heat as it radiates out from the fire, even if it’s a really cold evening.

So how do you keep your hot chocolate warm?

So let’s return to your cup of hot chocolate. If you want to keep your drink nice and hot you might be interested to know how to reduce or slow heat transfer so the drink stays hot and the answer is thermal insulation.

Insulation creates a thermal barrier between a hot and cold object that reduces or slows heat transfer by either reflecting thermal radiation or decreasing thermal conduction and convection. The type of insulation material used in the barrier will determine its effectiveness at slowing or reducing heat transfer. Barriers that conduct heat poorly are good thermal insulators whereas materials that conduct heat well will have low insulating capabilities. This is how thermal insulation works.

In this experiment you will test which materials make good and bad thermal insulators. Here are the materials you’ll need for the experiment

What you’ll need

  • Several glass jars and lids
  • Tape
  • Aluminium Foil
  • Bubble Wrap
  • A wood scarf or other wool clothes
  • Paper
  • Hot water from a tap
  • A thermometer
  • A fridge
  • A timer
  • Paper for writing
  • A pen or pencil

Preparation

Are you ready to learn how thermal insulation works? Let’s get started!

  • Cut a piece of the aluminum foil, the bubble wrap and the paper (have an adult help if necessary). Each piece should be large enough to fit three times around the sides of the glass jar.
  • Take the piece of aluminum foil and wrap it around the sides of one of the jars. You should have three layers of foil around the glass jar. Use the tape to attach the foil to the jar.
  • Next, wrap another jar with the bubble wrap so that the glass is also covered in three layers. Make sure to tape the bubble wrap onto the jar.
  • Use the cut paper to wrap a third jar in three layers of paper. Once again, attach the paper to the glass jar.
  • Take another glass jar and wrap the scarf or other wool fabric around the jar. Only make three layers of wrapping and make sure that the scarf stays attached to the jar.
  • Leave the last jar without any wrapping. This will be your control.

Procedure

  • Fill each jar with the same amount of hot water from your faucet.
  • Use the thermometer to measure the temperature in each jar. Put your finger inside the water of each jar (use caution if your tap water is very hot)how does the temperature of the water feel?
  • Write down the temperature for each jar and close the lids. Are all the temperatures the same or are there differences? How big are the differences?
  • Open your fridge and put all the five jars inside. Make sure they are still securely wrapped. Feel the temperature of the fridge—what does its temperature feel like?
  • Put the thermometer in the fridge. What temperature does the thermometer read when you put it into the fridge?
  • Once all the jars are in the fridge, close the fridge door and set your timer to 10 minutes. What do you think will happen with the jars and the hot water during that time?
  • After 10 minutes open the fridge and take all the jars outside. Do the jars feel different?
  • Open each jar, one at a time, and measure the water temperature with your thermometer. Also, feel the temperature with your finger. Did the temperature change? How did it change according to the thermometer?
  • Repeat measuring the temperature for each jar and write down the temperature for each wrapping material. Did the temperature in each jar change the same way? Which wrapping material resulted in the lowest temperature change, and which resulted in the biggest?
  • For a better comparison, calculate the temperature difference from the beginning and end of the test for each jar (temperature beginning versus temperature after 10 minutes in fridge). From your results, can you tell which material is the best or weakest thermal insulator?

A few extras

  • Extra: Will temperatures continue to change in a similar way for each material? You can close each jar again and put them back into the fridge for another 10 minutes. Are the results different this time or the same?
  • Extra: Does the water temperature change the same in the fridge as in the freezer or at room temperature? Repeat the test, but this time instead of putting the glass jars into the fridge, put them into the freezer or keep them at room temperature. How much does the temperature of the water change within 10 minutes? Do the different wrapping materials behave differently?
  • Extra: Try to find other materials that you think are good or bad thermal insulators and test them. Which material works the best? Can you think of a reason why?
  • Extra: If you take the jars out of the fridge after 10 minutes, you probably still measure a temperature difference between the water inside the jar and the temperature inside the fridge. You can keep the glass jars longer in the fridge and measure their temperature every 15 to 30 minutes. How long does it take until the temperature of the water doesn’t change anymore? What is the end temperature of the water inside the glass?
  • Extra: Besides choosing the right insulator material, what are other ways to improve thermal insulation? Repeat this test with only one wrapping material. This time change the thickness of your insulating layer. Do you find a correlation between thickness of insulation layer and temperature change in the fridge?

Observations and Results

Did your hot water cool down significantly during the 10 minutes inside the fridge? Although the fridge temperature is very low, your hot water has a high temperature. As heat energy flows from the hot object to the cold object, the heat energy from your hot water will be transferred to the surrounding cold air inside the fridge once you put the glass jars inside.

Why did this happen?

The most significant mechanism of heat transfer in this case is convection, which means that the air just next to the hot jar is warmed up by the hot water. Then, the warm air is replaced with cold air, which is also warmed up. At the same time, the cold air cools down the water inside the jar. The heat of the hot water is transported away by the flow of cold air around the cup. If you left the jars in the fridge long enough, you might have observed that the temperature changes until the hot water reaches the temperature inside the fridge. Without a temperature difference between the water and the fridge, the heat transfer will stop.

Heat loss through conduction

Heat from the water is also lost through conduction: the transfer of heat through the material, which is dependent on the thermal conductivity of the material itself. The glass jar can conduct heat relatively well. You notice that when you touch the glass jar with the hot water the glass feels hot as well.

What effect did the different wrapping materials have? You should have noticed that with wrapping materials, the temperature of the water after 10 minutes inside the fridge was higher compared to the unwrapped control. Why? Wrapping the glass jar reduces the heat transfer from the hot water to the cold air inside the fridge. Using wrapping materials that have a very low thermal conductivity reduces the heat loss through conduction. At the same time the insulator can also disrupt or reduce the flow of cold air around the glass jar, which results in less heat loss via convection.

Some final thoughts

One way of reducing convection is creating air pockets around the jar, for example, by using insulators such as bubble wrap, fabric or wool, which have a lot of air pockets. Air in general is a good thermal insulator, but it can transmit heat through convection. However, if the air pockets inside the insulating material are separated from each other, heat flow from one air pocket to another cannot happen easily.

This is the reason why you should have measured the highest temperature in the bubble-wrapped jar and fabric-wrapped jar. This also explains why most of our clothes are made of fabrics and why you stay warmer when you put on an extra jacket. Paper and foil make it easier for the heat to escape because they don’t have many air pockets.

Now that you have some understanding about how thermal insulation works it should give you a better understanding of why home’s need to be insulated. Roof, floor and wall insulation are all very important to keeping you and your family warm during winter!

We hope you enjoyed learning how thermal insulation works!

poorly insulated roof Living in a poorly insulated house can be dreadful. Houses that are hot and humid in the summer, or bitterly cold in the winter are usually houses with poor insulation. Here are 5 signs that your house may be poorly insulated and some suggestions on how to resolve this issue.

1. You can’t get any relief from heat and humidity during summertime.

This is a problem that many New Zealand homes with poor insulation face. Older homes with metal roofs and poor ceiling insulation often creates an oven like effect in your home. In this situation, your home interior temperature starts to super heat and it can be very hard to try and cool. You’ll know you have a problem when in the middle of a hot summer’s day, it’s cooler outside than inside your home. The best way to fix this issue is to have an assessor come visit your house and give you a home insulation report and consultation for improving the insulation standards inside your home. Check out our recent article if you’re interested in learning more about the basics of thermal insulation.

2. There’s condensation on my windows in the morning and the house feels damp

You should never be waking up to weeping windows or wet carpets. Condensation may seem a natural phenomenon for an older house, but it isn’t. Condensation or dampness is a primarily indication that there is something wrong with the insulation and you may need to fix this. The best thing you can do is have an insulation assessment done for your house. An expert will come out, assess the insulation situation and they will provide recommendations on what can be done to resolve the problem.

3. You can’t get rid of drafts in your house

Is your house so drafty it always feels like there’s an open door? Drafts can be caused by several problems but usually indicate there are gaps in your home’s thermal barrier where air can enter and escape. Damage to your exterior cladding or gaps around windows and doors are know to cause drafts. Older homes suffer with this problem so checking if your insulation has deteriorated is important. Uninsulated walls can add to this problem. Thankfully, there are wall insulation systems available in the market today that are able to fix this problem without having to remove your wall linings. Talk to our team to discuss the insulation options for your home.

4. Your floors are always cold

Older New Zealand homes built on piles left floorboards quite exposed to the outside climate. Coastline homes or houses built on sloping sections may experience this problem. If your floorboards are usually cold, it means the outside air is getting in through the floor of your house and it’s an indicator of poor floor insulation. Specialised insulation blankets installed on the underside of your floorboards will resolve this issue. These insulation blankets help complete your home’s thermal barrier and will help make your home much more livable.

5. Mice or bugs on your property can be a sign of damaged or poor insulation

Are you regularly finding mice, rodents or bugs invading your home? These critters are quite damaging to any existing insulation. This is particularly likely if you live in an older house. The best thing to do is give us a call and we can come out and do an insulation assessment. If necessary we can repair or replace your insulation which will help keep those unwanted critters outside the home.

Summary

If you are experiencing any of these issues or suspect you may be living in a house with poor insulation. We can providing a free home assessment to help provide recommendations on how you can improve your homes insulation. Contact Us today to book your free home assessment and start enjoying the benefits of an insulated home!

Warm Your Home

It’s starting to get colder and if you may be starting to wonder how to warm your home this winter! Colder weather results in colder homes, which can affect our health. It’s important to start thinking about how to protect you and your family from cold’s, flu’s, and other nasties this winter – including how to keep your home warm to help reduce the risks of catching those winter woes.

Here’s some top tips to warm your home for this winter.

1. LET THE SUNLIGHT IN DURING THE DAY

While many winter days may be rainy and cloudy, we often see winter days with the sun out and shining. Even on cold days, the sun is still warm. So once the sun is up, capture in that free heat by opening up your curtains and letting that sunshine in before you leave your house in the mornings.

2. MAKE USE OF YOUR CURTAINS

Like opening up your curtains during the day, it’s important to shut them as soon as it gets dark. Curtains act as another layer of insulation to keep warmth and dryness in your rooms. If you don’t have quality curtains, and are thinking of replacing them – think about getting ‘thermal’ curtains which are best at keeping the warmth in.

3. REARRANGE YOUR FURNITURE FOR WARMTH

Every room has a warmer and colder point depending on where your windows and doors are positioned. You will feel warmer if you position yourself closer to the inside of the house, because your cold, external walls are further away. Or perhaps your sofa is currently near a window. In this case, you may feel warmer if you move your sofa to a position in the room where it’s further away from your windows and doors. Think about practical ways you can rearrange your furniture to maximise warmth within your home.

4. SEAL YOUR LEAKS AND HOLES

Ever noticed that cool draft in your home that comes out of nowhere? That’s often due to leaks through windows, doors, basements, and other spots in the house. Walk around your home to figure out where that draft is coming from, and seal it. Windows and doors are best solved with spray foam insulation, and other holes can be blocked by caulk.

Drafts in the home can also be a sign of an uninsulated house – read our recent article about the signs of a poorly insulated house.

5. LAYER YOUR WOODEN FLOORS

Architecture Now states that 10% of heat is lost through wooden floors. If you’ve got wooden floors in your home, it’s a good idea to make use of rugs to keep your rooms warmer. If you want to go the extra mile, opting for carpet can do wonders in making your home feel warmer and cosier.

6. MAXIMISE YOUR INSULATION

It’s estimated that homes without sufficient insulation lose 42% of its heat through the roof, 24% through its walls, and 10% through the floors. That is a huge amount of heat loss! While you may think your home is insulated, we often find customers don’t realise they’re missing wall insulation, or that their ceiling insulation has degraded over time.

To ensure your home is warm this winter, it’s time to assess your current insulation. One of friendly team can help assess the insulation in your home, and make necessary adjustments to improve your insulation. Contact us today to learn more!

Absolute Energy is one of our local Kiwi business success stories. Over its 20 years in business, the company has grown into one of the country’s most trusted insulation service providers thanks in part to the inspirational leadership of local entrepreneur and business leader Paul Brockie. Read on or have a watch the story below.

We sat down with Paul who talks about the 20-year journey that led him to build one of the most recognisable brands in Nelson.

“Looking back at our journey from early 2000 to now, Absolute Energy just started off as an idea that we could really make homes and people’s lives better. At that point, we were still a building company and I actually ended up using our builders to put insulation into homes. To be honest they probably weren’t very happy about that. It really started to grow, and I decided we really needed someone specialised to help me do this project.”

As Paul reflects on the journey, he underscores how important key people were to the business’s success.

“Tanya has been with me since 1999. She was working for me in the building business and came across as my first staff member and she’s still with the business today. Soon after, we employed Gideon as an installer and with the help of my dad, they started touring around the top of the South Island pumping insulation into people’s homes.”

“While we are a family business, the whole team culture is like that of a big family. It’s important to me that everyone is looked after and feels valued and if they’re not happy, I’m not happy.”

There were some key moments that propelled the business forward and a couple of contracts and tenders that the business successfully won which became the backbone of the company’s growth.

“The very first contract we won was with Network Tasman to insulate homes across Nelson/Tasman. Nick Clark who was the manager of this contract came on board and together we started building a small team and developed a cool funky brand.”

“Soon after we were successful in winning a much larger contract with Nelson City Council which saw us insulate many homes across Nelson alone. We just started steadily growing, taking on more staff and equipment and the difference we were making was just awesome.”

Following the initial success of the business, Absolute Energy became a provider for EECA and the Heat Smart program. This relationship has remained strong since 2009 and together they’ve been able to continue to insulate many thousands of Kiwi homes.

“Today, we’ve insulated 20,000 homes over the top of the South, and we’ve expanded into Dunedin and Queenstown. It’s been exciting to see the growth and it’s still exciting today!”

Paul describes the thought process around the development of the Absolute Energy brand. To him it was so much more than just an insulation business.

It was important to Paul to have a strong visual brand. He wanted to have a brand that really stood out and was recognisable across vehicles, road signs, apparel, and right down to business cards and pens.

“I thought, what can we do that’s going to capture people’s thoughts around energy savings………. absolute energy.”

I’ve had the privilege of talking with numerous clients, partners and staff over the last few weeks. They have all shared their experiences of working with Absolute Energy. It’s clear that the core their success is the motivation to actually make a difference in people’s lives. Absolute Energy are passionate about giving back and this sentiment extends into the community. They currently sponsor and support many local individuals and community groups across the region.

Paul wraps up by reflecting on the fact that Absolute Energy has become a generational business. His son Troy is already starting to take over the day-to-day operations.

“The future of Absolute Energy with Troy taking the reigns is exciting. This brand has got so many good things and great people going for it. The brand speaks for itself, and people trust us and we’ve got an incredible future ahead.”

Most of us that live in older homes will have some insulation but insulation standards have historically been poor. Research has shown that older homes are poorly insulated homes, and this can lead to many respiratory and health issues. A well-insulated house really does help create a healthier, warmer, dryer and more energy efficient home. Thankfully, the government know this too. In recent years they have provided funding to make well insulated homes more affordable and accessible.

To learn more about Absolute Energy or insulating your home, call them on 0800 423 454.

If you’re waking up in the morning to cold wet walls, this may be due to condensation issues developing in your home. Condensation build-up in your home is usually a good indication that your home’s walls are not well insulated. If wet or damp walls are not addressed quickly, this can lead to black mould developing inside the home which in turn can damage your walls and furniture and seriously affect the health and wellbeing of your family. In this article, we are going to look at what causes condensation and steps you can take to deal with the issue.

What causes condensation issues in my home?

Condensation issues start to occur when warm air and cold air meet. It can also occur when there is a lot of humidity in the air and not enough ventilation. It’s most evident in the winter months which tends to be caused from the efforts to keep your house warm. Everyday activities such as cooking, showering, and drying clothes can also release moisture into the air which can also lead to a build-up of condensation in the home.

For older New Zealand homes, there may be many breaks in your home’s thermal barrier which allows air in and out of your home. When the inside warm air starts mixing with the outside cold air it cools down quickly, releasing the water molecules from the air. These turn into liquid droplets that attach themselves to cold surfaces such as your walls and develop into condensation.

Condensation tends to be less of an issue during the summer months. During this time we’re always opening the windows and doors to let fresh air in. Good airflow keeps the home ventilated and dry. In the winter months, we typically keep all the windows and doors closed. This means the cold air doesn’t come inside but prevents good ventilation which can cause condensation to quickly develop. While most houses have extractor fans in the bathrooms, these small fans are usually not enough to keep the entire house ventilated, and when the outside air temperature starts to drop you can start to notice wet or damp walls.

While a little bit of water may not sound like a major issue, if left unattended, it can create the perfect environment for black mould to grow which can lead to several health issues including respiration problems, skin rashes, and sore or itchy eyes.

What can you do to fix condensation issues in the home?

Luckily, There are some simple steps you can take to fix your condensation problems. The first thing you want to do is prevent the outside air from getting into your home. There could be several weak points in your home contributing to this issue including:

  • Gaps around the windows and doors in your home
  • Poor insulation in your walls, underfloor, or roof
  • Leaks in your roof
  • Damage to your homes cladding
  • Poor ventilation in your home

Damage to your home’s cladding or structure creates weathertight issues and should immediately addressed. Homes exposed to the harsh climate for an extended duration can lead to an expensive repairs and numerous health issues.

You could also invest in better extractor fans and/or a dehumidifier to remove moisture from the air. In most situations however, the underlying issue related to condensation build-up is either poor or no insulation.

Insulation is the best answer to this issue

Insulating your home is the single best thing you can do for your family’s health and wellbeing. Unfortunately, New Zealand homes usually only have the minimum standards of insulation. We find most homes have a little insulation in the roof and floor but usually none insulation in the walls. Insulation provides a barrier that keeps the outside air temperature out and the inside temperature in. Heat easily escapes from a home that lacks good wall insulation. Insulation your walls helps close your home’s thermal envelope which helps permanently fix condensation issues in your home.

Insulation products like CosyWall Insulation can be easily blown into the walls of your home without having to remove the linings. An installer pumps the insulation through small holes in your exterior cladding. The insulation is blown at a high density so that it will never shrink or slump inside the walls. CosyWall Insulation also comes with a 50-year durability rating so the insulation will last the life of the home.

Talk to the team at Insultech Insulation today about organising a free home assessment for your property.

Insulating Your Walls

Why is wall insulation important and should you be considering insulating your walls?

So you may have seen an ad on TV or online about wall insulation. If you’re considering insulating your walls, then there are a few things we should cover first.

To start, most New Zealand houses built before the 1990s had very poor insulation standards. Builders were required to install minimum levels of roof and underfloor insulation however wall insulation was often overlooked. This lack of wall insulation created a gap in the thermal envelope of many New Zealand homes, making them difficult and costly to keep warm.

Just imagine trying to stay warm on a winter’s day without wearing a Jacket! This is the same principle when thinking about fully insulating your home. Uninsulated walls leave gaps where warm air can easily escape your home and this is why you should consider insulating your walls.

Recognising the importance of well-insulated homes, the government has implemented many initiatives to improve insulation standards in existing and new homes.

So what’s the first step to start insulating your walls?

So most older kiwi homes usually have weatherboard or brick cladding. While there are some homes that use other cladding options, we’re going to focus on these two to start with.

In the situation where your home’s cladding is brick or weatherboard, insulating your walls becomes a fairly straightforward process. There are many blown wall insulation products available such as CosyWall Insulation that can be easily installed through the exterior walls of your house.

Sometimes it may be necessary to install insulation from the inside of the home instead. This may be the case if you’re using brittle cladding products or access from the exterior is difficult.

If installing wall insulation from the inside, you can use either a traditional batts product or a blown insulation product. Blown wall insulation is the preferred option and can be installed without the removal of the linings. Many of our customers time installing wall insulation with a renovation project to create minimum disruption to your home life.

Installing insulation is a specialised task and using a qualified installer is important. Installing insulation yourself is not recommend as incorrectly installed products can lead to house issues and poor product performance.

Does insulating your walls really make a difference?

Yes, absolutely! We’ve had countless stories from clients who can’t believe the difference wall insulation makes to their lives.

Have a look at this testimony from Steve and Emma in Wakefield

Homes become easier to heat in the winter and keep cool in the summer. Homes with wall insulation are typically more energy-efficient, which means savings on energy bills and heating costs. There are also acoustic benefits from insulating your walls and dampening noise transfer both inside and outside your home.

Insulating your walls is a one-time investment that provides ongoing benefits for the life of your home.

How can you tell if your home already has wall insulation?

The best way to work out if your home has wall insulation is to give us a call. Absolute Energy provide a free home assessment to figure out what your current insulation situation is. Our team does an investigation and provides recommendations on how to improve your insulation.

Insulating your walls is a great long term investment – Here’s what you need to know about wall insulation. Contact us today to book your free home assessment!

Thermal Insulation is an important part of every house and helps keep your house warm in the winter and cool in the summer. To understand how thermal insulation actually works however we need to take a few steps back and take a look at some of the science around heat transfer.

What is heat transfer and how does it work?

The first thing to know about heat transfer is that heat will always try and move from the warmest areas to the coolest ones, seeking a balance. In the home, the greater the temperature difference, the faster heat will try and flow into the coldest area. Research tells us that the three methods of heat transfer are conduction, convection, and radiation. Let’s have a quick look at these.

Heat transfer through conduction

Conduction refers to heat transfer at the molecular level within a certain material. The material might be a solid, gas or liquid but heat transfer happens when there is a temperature difference between two materials, and they come into contact with one another.

Heat Transfer Conduction
Molecules are agitated when heat is conducted from one particle to another. The rate of heat transfer will increase or decrease depending on the difference in temperatures between the two materials, and the thermal conductivity of these materials.

Heat transfer through convection

Fluids, such as air or a liquid, travel away from their source when heated. They carry thermal energy with them. This type of heat transfer is called convection. The fluid above a hot surface expands and becomes less dense as it rises.

Heat Transfer Convection
A good example of convection heat transfer is to look at the hot air balloon. A hot air balloon rises because warmer air is less dense than cool air. Since the balloon is less dense than the air around it, and it becomes positively buoyant and rises.

Heat transfer through radiation

The final heat transfer method is through radiation. In this example heat actually travels through light, either as infrared light or other types of electromagnetic waves. The energy is freely transferred through a direct line of sight or through translucent materials.

Heat Transfer Radiation
A great example of radiation heat transfer is simply looking at sunlight. As sunlight impacts a surface it starts to heat up. If you’ve ever stood barefoot on a sandy beach in the middle of a hot summer’s day you’ll know what I mean here.

Different materials act differently to radiation heat transfer which is why some surfaces get hotter than others in direct sunlight.

So I understand heat transfer, how does this impact my home’s thermal insulation?

Really only convection and radiation heat transfer directly impact the home. Adding thermal insulation to your home’s roof and wall cavities combats creates a barrier that helps protect your home from this.

Insulation is made from materials with a high thermal resistance rating. This rating is measured by what we call an R-Value. The higher the R-Value, the stronger the thermal barrier between the inside and outside of the home.

So to better understand how thermal insulation works, let’s look at two different scenarios.

Thermal insulation for radiation heat transfer

Let’s say you’re in the middle of summer and your home has no thermal insulation in the roof. Radiant heat from direct sunlight at the hottest time of the year will cause the home to heat up.

This radiant heat will quickly pass straight through the roof and walls, which causes the inside air of your home to heat, and creating an oven-like environment inside.

Adding thermal roof insulation and wall insulation means helps stop the radiant heat passing through these surfaces and preventing the house from heating up as quickly.

Thermal Insulation for convection heat transfer

Let’s say you’re in the middle of winter and again there’s no thermal insulation barrier in your roof or walls. Naturally, you’ll put a heater on to try and warm the room. Unfortunately, because of the large temperature difference, the heat will quickly escape from the house however it can make it incredibly difficult and costly to keep the house warm.

After adding a thermal insulation barrier, heat will no longer be able to escape the house. This means that the heater will be far more efficient at warming up the home. It also means the heat will remain inside for longer, resulting in a far more energy-efficient home.

Talk to an insulation expert about completing your home’s thermal barrier

Ready to add thermal insulation to you home?. Our team will be happy to provide a free assessment of your property and provide advice and direction on the best way to fully insulate your home. Once your thermal barrier is in place you’ll notice the difference instantly.