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Smart Guide to Insulation Materials - 8th Jun 2018

 Smart Guide to Insulation Materials

What insulation works for you?

You can choose from a wide range of insulation materials, each with different properties and features, and each suitable for different parts of the house. Increasingly, insulation products are available containing recycled material, such as wool, or in recycled formats such as polystyrene sheets.

Things to consider

R value

The 'R value' measures how good the insulation material is at resisting the flow of heat from inside out in winter and from outside in during summer. The higher the R value, the better the insulation will be. The insulation needs to be properly installed to work effectively.

The Building Code specifies minimum construction R values for floor, wall, ceilings and glazing. It's a very good idea to exceed the minimum requirements to get a warmer home which is healthier and easier and cheaper to heat.

Insulating for an energy efficient building on MBIE’s Building Performance website has more information on insulation levels and requirements.

Insulating your home has more information.


When comparing prices, you'll need to consider the level of performance you're aiming to achieve, and the type and amount of insulation you'll need across the whole area you're insulating.

If you’re a low-income tenant, your landlord may be eligible for a grant through the government’s Warm Up New Zealand: Healthy Homes programme. The grants can help them pay for ceiling and underfloor insulation.


All rental homes must be insulated in the ceiling and underfloor from July 2019.

Warm house. Cool landlord on the Tenancy Services website has more information. 

Funding for insulation

Funding for insulation on the EECA Energywise website has more information on the Warm Up New Zealand: Healthy Homes programme.


If your roof has a roof space it is often more cost-effective to choose insulation that is better than the minimum required by the Building Code. It will save you money in the long run. 

Sometimes it is better to combine two layers of roof insulation with a lower R value to achieve a higher R value. That’s especially the case if the top insulation layer can be laid over the roof framing rather than between.

Insulating your home has more information.


All insulation should be labelled with the following information:

  • description of bag contents
  • R value with the conditions under which the R value applies
  • safety and handling instructions
  • installation instructions
  • fire safety.

Blankets and segments should also have information on thickness, length, width and coverage area of the pack. Some products may have acoustic (noise) ratings.

Loose fill insulation should state the thickness of fill required to get the stated R value.

Long-term environmental impact

When you're comparing insulation materials, the most important issue to consider is:

Provide the highest insulation level you can. Reducing the space heating energy use of a building is usually the single most important thing you can do to reduce the building’s overall environmental impact.

The other issues to think about are:

  • how much recycled content the insulation has – recycled content is becoming increasingly common
  • whether the material can be recycled at the end of the building's life
  • avoid hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC)-foamed insulation materials which may be used in polystyrene products.

Studies have shown that the biggest environmental impact comes from living in a house, rather than the materials that make it up. The benefits of insulation in reducing home energy use clearly outweigh the energy consumed in the manufacture.

Additional information

Ask suppliers for product data sheets for more information on how the product is made, what it contains and how it performs.

Disclaimer ~ This article is shared by our Rental Property Management Auckland company for information purposes only via  More details can be viewed on their website.

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