Misconceptions about insulation in Turkey

Every building needs to be insulated. It doesn’t matter if it is a home in the Kaçkar mountains or a summer house in Kaş. Unfortunately so few homes are insulated in Turkey. If it is insulated it is done so at amounts amazingly below the standards that have been set in European countries and America. Perhaps this comes down to economics but you either pay in the beginning for a well insulated home or later because all the heat you generate is flying out through the roof.

I’ve heard so many times about the yazlık, or summer houses that dot Turkish coasts everywhere. Summer houses don’t need insulation they say because it is only used in the summertime. Well, if heat is seeping out through your walls and ceiling in the winter time at unacceptable rates then what do you think is going to happen when the fireball known as the sun is practically burning a hole through your wall made from whatever kind of brick? Exactly, the sun’s heat penetrates through your walls and ceiling and heats up your home during the summer. You pay 500tl a month to try to fight it off with your air conditioning but the rooms without it suffer unbearably. If you insulate your house properly you can use less energy both in the winter months and summer months.

I’ve also heard people tell me that their house was built with different kinds of insulated bricks. This may be true but the insulation ratings of these bricks are not enough. You need actual insulation besides the building blocks to attain an acceptable insulation rating. For The Beyler House I actually built TWO walls parallel to each other. Crazy, right? Between them I left 20 centimeters of empty space and filled the spaces with expanded perlite. This solution allowed me to reach insulation values acceptable to American standards and as well allowed me to use larger and more windows to take advantage of the beautiful views.

Some people have told me that they’ve been in houses where a stove is burning and the whole house felt warm. Well, always possible. But the point of a well insulated home is to use less energy to warm it up or cool it down. That home with the wood burning stove may very well be warm but how much wood is the person cutting and burning? Way too much most likely.

The bottom line is 4 centimeters of styrofoam is better than nothing but not enough. Unfortunately, in Turkey there are not a lot of choices in this matter because developers don’t want to spend the money on something that the public knows little about. For me, however, there is no point in building a beautiful structure if it doesn’t perform well.



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