ResidentialWarmth & Comfort

Back to the Australian Carpet Guide

Experience the feeling of warmth and inclusion with soft cushioning and underfoot comfort. Carpet gives a warm, soft cosy feeling. People feel comfortable in a carpeted room even if the temperature is a few degrees lower than in a non-carpeted room.

Thermal Insulation

Carpet is an exceptionally good thermal insulator. The insulation value of carpet is similar to fibreglass insulation and can be up to ten times higher than that of other floor coverings. Further increases in thermal insulation are obtained when carpet is installed over underlay.

Carpet can help to significantly reduce energy costs in heating and cooling, and hence greenhouse gas emissions, when there is a temperature differential between the indoor air and that under the floor. Uninsulated floors account for 10 to 20% of heat loss from a home.

A carpeted floor feels warmer underfoot and does not require the heating that a room with a smooth surface may. This will add further energy savings.

The greatest benefit from a carpet is obtained when as large an area as possible, preferably wall to wall, is covered. This is because the reduction in heat loss is proportional to the area carpeted.

Interior designer Rochelle Morris, talks about the air quality benefits of carpet in your home


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Video Transcript

Have you ever got up in the night and put your feet down on a cold, hard floor? It’s not a pleasant experience. When it comes to thermal insulation, there’s really nothing that beats carpet.

Hi, I’m Rochelle Morris, an interior designer, and today I want to talk to you about the insulation and energy saving benefits of carpet.

These days, we’re all concerned about rising energy bills. One of the best ways to cut down on the costs required to keep your home at a comfortable temperature is to make sure it’s properly insulated.

We’re here at one of Grollo’s display homes, the perfect place to demonstrate the advantages carpet can bring to your house. Let’s have a look around.

Now, we’re all used to seeing carpet in bedrooms. It’s quite common, and there are very good reasons for this. Not only does it feel luxurious underfoot – and we spend a lot of time barefoot in our bedrooms – but it’s also a fantastic insulator.

This is because carpet fibres are good heat insulators, so there is very little loss of warmth through thefloor. The millions of tiny fibres actually trap the air and inhibit their transfer. In fact, carpet is almost as good an insulator as fiberglass.

I truly believe carpet is underutilised throughout many of Australia’s homes. There’s really no reason why it can’t break free of bedrooms into all other parts of the house.

Look at this magnificent living space. Because of this beautiful carpet, whatever heat is generated in here during winter, due to either human activity or heating systems, will be trapped for longer. If this floor was timber or any other hard surface, you’d feel the cold seeping through very soon after the heating was turned off.

It’s actually estimated that hard floors account for up to 20% of heat loss from a home.

And we all know how warm and comforting carpet feels under bare toes, which means you’re less likely to turn on the heating system. Better for the environment, and better for your hip pocket.

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Carpet is an exceptionally good insulating material.

Carpet fibres are natural insulators with low heat conduction values. In addition, the surface pile of carpet with its millions of tiny fibres traps air and further increases its thermal insulation.

As can be seen from the table, the thermal resistance of carpet is significantly higher than that of concrete and plywood, two common flooring materials, and similar to fiberglass insulation.

Thermal Resistance of Materials*

Material Thermal Insulation** R value (m2K/W)
Concrete (10 cm thick) 0.07
Plywood (1 cm thick) 0.08
Carpet (1 cm thick) 0.18
Fibreglass insulation (1 cm thick) 0.22

* Carpet Buyers Handbook (R values converted to metric units used in Australia = m2K/W)
** The R-value is used to measure a material’s resistance to heat transfer or thermal resistance – the higher the R-value the greater the insulating effect.

The thickness of the carpet is the major factor determining the thermal insulation. The thicker the carpet the greater the thermal insulation provided. So when carpet is installed over underlay or carpet cushion further increases in thermal insulation are obtained.

Carpet can help to reduce energy costs in heating and cooling when there is a temperature differential between the indoor air and that under the floor. Uninsulated floors account for 10 to 20% of heat loss from a home.

The greatest benefit from a carpet is obtained when as large an area as possible, preferably wall to wall, is covered. This is because the reduction in heat loss is proportional to the area carpeted (Thermal Insulation Properties of Wool Carpets – Wools of New Zealand 2002).

Research conducted by Wools of New Zealand found that the energy savings, both heating and cooling, were in the range of 8 – 12% as can be see from the following tables.

Electrical Power Saving (Room Heating) due to carpet installation in a one-room model house.

Carpet Pile height (mm) Carpet Thickness (mm) Total weight (kg/m2*) Energy Saving Heating (%)
Cut pile 5.0 7.3 1.722 8.6
Cut pile 7.0 9.2 1.963 11.3
Cut pile 10.0 11.7 2.257 12.8

A carpeted floor feels warmer under foot and does not require the heating that a smooth surface may. This will add further energy savings to those shown above.

Electrical Power Saving (Room Cooling) due to carpet installation in a one-room model house.

Carpet Pile height (mm) Carpet Thickness (mm) Total weight (kg/m2*) Energy Saving Cooling (%)
Cut pile 5.0 7.3 1.722 8.0
Cut pile 7.0 9.2 1.963 10.4
Cut pile 10.0 11.7 2.257 11.7

A carpeted room promotes thermal comfort, saves energy and also contributes to a reduction in green house gas emissions that are a major cause of climate change. For this reason the Federal Government’s Your Home Technical Manual (section 4.7) recommends insulating timber or elevated slab floors to reduce heat loss3. The NSW Government’s sustainability rating certificate for housing, Basix4, rewards suspended floor insulation that can be effectively accomplished with carpet.

A carpeted room promotes thermal comfort, saves energy and also contributes to a reduction in green house gas emissions that are a major cause of climate change

Further information

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