What lies above?

By Angela Barron 

Your loft is probably not nearly as strange as mine. Mine has a chimney in it – I kid you not. The reason is that my house is … well, for the want of a better word, a bit strange. 

It’s one of those experimental 1960s’ buildings you find quite a few of in Cumbernauld (a town north of Glasgow), and it started life as flat-roofed. Thankfully, it’s no longer flat-roofed. Since the whole terrace was upgraded in the 1990s, it now sports a pretty typical-looking pitched roof (hiding the oddest loft I’ve ever been in). My loft consists of the old gravel-covered flat roof and the old chimney with a flue coming through it and then up and out of the new roof. Not to mention the ridiculously narrow loft hatch –  ever a reminder to keep up the exercise regime! 

Lately, my boyfriend has been topping up his loft insulation and, as he’s doing it himself, I suggested that he use insulation made of recycled plastic bottles, which is nice to handle and doesn’t smell if it gets wet. And, hey, who doesn’t love a bit of recycling these days? So now his loft is full of plastic bottles, I guess. 

Ideally, everybody’s loft would be full of insulation: 270mm is the recommended amount. The nice thing is that once it’s in there you can pretty much forget about it, so you can just sit back and enjoy a cosy house that’s much greener and a bit cheaper to heat – typically about £175 per year cheaper. 

That’s a significant saving to make year on year and as energy prices rise, so does that saving figure. The story gets even better, though. Thanks to government funding, loft insulation can be professionally installed at a discounted rate, or in some cases completely free, for anyone that has a suitable loft space. That won’t always be the case, so I reckon now is the perfect time to have insulation installed. 

It seems like a no-brainer to me, so what’s stopping people from getting it done? 

Perhaps they think it’s going to be really expensive or more likely their loft is full of junk and the thought of clearing it out isn’t their idea of a fun weekend. On the other hand, a £175 annual saving is a pretty nice incentive, so surely it is time for folk to venture into their lofts and think about how much they need all that stuff? Maybe it could be recycled or donated to a charity shop? And if it means that much to you, maybe it just belongs back down in the house with you. 

Personally, I haven’t hoarded much in my strange loft, but I think I do need to find out if I can have insulation installed on top of that old flat roof and around the chimney…

There’s free and heavily-subsidised insulation offers available across the UK. Visit our grants and discounts database to make sure you’re not lagging behind.