Cheap Insulation Changed the Industry
Has cheap insulation had a negative impact on the Industry by creating the perception it is a commodity? Or has it created greater awareness for the need for people to insulate their homes to improve energy efficiency and reduce energy bills? We take a look at the topic and put it over to you to share your thoughts on the influence of free and cheap insulation.
Free and Cheap Insulation
Major Government lead campaigns such as the Green Deal have been a significant driver in giving the perception that insulation should be free or cheap. A simple search for free insulation results in various credible websites such as Which? , Money Saving Expert and gov.uk informing searchers how they can get free insulation from major energy suppliers such as Eon and NPower. These websites carry significant mainstream influence and would often be the first port of call for people looking for trustworthy advice on how to improve their homes.
Short and Long Term Effects of Free Insulation
Whilst free insulation may not damage the industry in the short term, what are the long term effects? If insulation was cheap or free once how do you convince people of its value in the future? As soon as the term “insulation” is used are end-users or even people involved in the construction process immediately thinking of insulation as an inexpensive purchase? As with many everyday items, if people get something for free it’s hard to convince people to pay significant amounts of money for it again in the future – is the immediate thought process “how can I get this cheaper?”
If the difference in the free insulation compared to the insulation you are purchasing is unclear, the process of selling it becomes complicated. How do you convince someone they need insulation in the floors if they are convinced they only need it in the loft? What is different about the insulation in the loft, compared to the insulation in the floors and what does this insulation board do compared to that. Even worse, what if people don’t even realise it is insulation? Something that is obvious to a professional, may be completely new territory for a individual. It begs the question is their enough clear and accessible information to educate individuals on the true value of different types of insulation in their property, and sufficient information to convince them that insulation is a worthwhile investment.
No Purchase Necessary
In everyday purchasing it’s extremely uncommon to get something free without purchasing something else. In a supermarket you might have to purchase two of a certain item to get a third free. When purchasing a new kitchen you might get one of the appliances for free as a result of buying the rest of the range. There’s a deal to be had but never a free for all that might seem the case with insulation.
In these instances their is always a value attached to the freebie, people know the value of these appliances and items. For most Insulation isn’t a frequent purchase, there isn’t a clear understanding of what it is worth and therefore by getting insulation for free leaves the impression that insulation will be cheap or even free in the future.
When living in our homes we can’t see or feel insulation. It operates in silence behind the scenes, helping the end-user reduce energy bills or living in quieter conditions. It’s not like a sofa we sit on, a carpet under our feet or a decorated wall we can see. People may feel warm in their homes but first instincts may be to think the heating is on, or if it has anything to do with insulation it’s because of what’s installed in the roof rather than other areas of the living environment.
This lack of visibility, both visually and in the subconscious can only stand to further devalue the perception of insulation for the end-user and ultimately those people specifying and installing product on a development. If an occupants main concern is cosmetic, it may be easier to cut corners on insulation to ensure the end-user gets the visual experience they expect.
Energy Saving Benefits
One of the areas where there is likely to be greater understanding is the energy saving benefits of insulation installation. Advisory websites indicate hundreds of pounds per year can be saved per year as a result of insulation being installed. But is this value as instantly recognisable and therefore ultimately important, or influential to an end-user? If a housebuilder says to the future occupant we will give you free insulation, is this as attractive as saying we will give you free carpets and curtains? Even if the benefits of those items aren’t as long term as the free insulation, their benefits are instantly recognisable in their home and on their bank balance.
The Value of insulation
These topics raise some interesting points surrounding the actual and perceived value of insulation. Is this a non-issue? Or is it an underlying issue that effects the seriousness in the merits of installing sufficient energy saving insulation in homes, commercial buildings and more?
We now take this opportunity to pass the issue of free and cheap insulation over to the experts, installers and the end users themselves. Share your thoughts on free insulation in the comments section below: