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Is carpet set for a comeback? Carpet and underlay can reduce energy bills by around £500 over 10 years, research shows.
Following the undeniable popularity that wood and laminate flooring has enjoyed in recent years, news of the energy-saving benefits of carpet is luring back many money-conscious homeowners.
Despite the sleek aesthetic achieved by wooden floors, the bare boards can feel cold and hard under foot, and rugs provide little warmth or protection. Families that once opted for fashionable reclaimed parquet and hard wood are now returning to the soft and warm feel of luxurious carpet.
But although the word luxurious may bring to mind high prices, research suggests this perception is far off the mark. In reality, the initial cost of a good-quality carpet can be recouped over its lifetime through considerable energy savings.
Is your money slipping through the floorboards?
According to the National Energy Foundation, the average British home loses 10% of its heat through uninsulated floors. A good-quality carpet, in combination with underlay, can provide sufficient insulation to prevent 15 times as much heat escaping as the same thickness of standard fibreglass floor insulation.
Carpet traps air within its fibres, making it a natural insulator. An average carpet carries an R-value — the measure of resistance to heat flow through a material — of around 0.18 per cm. When an energy-efficient underlay such as bonded urethane is added, the combined R-value increases to around 2.27 per cm; fibreglass insulation is rated at 0.22 per cm.
Homeowners can start to realise the energy-saving benefits of carpet from the moment it is fitted. The average household can expect to see energy savings of more than £500 over 10 years. Those savings are the equivalent of a high-end king size bed or a brand new 50in television.
‘The trick to ensuring a carpet provides as much insulation as possible is to combine it with the right underlay for your needs. This will increase the overall ‘R-value’ of the flooring and help to prolong the life of the carpet itself,’ says Richard Sim, digital manager at United Carpets and Beds.
Softness is still important
Many homeowners are still largely unaware of the energy-saving benefits of carpets. A recent survey from United Carpets and Beds asked the public what people looked for in a carpet. Over a third of respondents said that carpet softness appealed to them the most. However, only one in five gave any consideration to the additional warmth that carpets provide.
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At a time when many of us are conscious of making not just financial savings but more energy-efficient decisions, it’s not surprising that carpet looks set for a comeback. Even when used in selected rooms only, the reduction you’ll see on your household bills will make the return to a softer floor worth your while.
Will you be re-evaluating the carpets in your home?