The warm comfort that carpet provides is not just your imagination. Carpeting can lower your energy bills; it insulates up to seventeen times better than other flooring. No other flooring warms and insulates a room like carpet. The colder your region, the greater the savings.
Unlike other types of flooring, carpet is a natural insulator, providing additional warmth in cold seasons. The use of carpet in a wall-to-wall application actually increases the R-value, or insulation level, of the carpet area, potentially saving homeowners like you utility costs while reducing energy use. The R-value (thermal resistance) measures how much a material resists the movement of heat through a ceiling, wall, or floor in a building. The higher the number, the more effective the insulation.
A carpet and pad significantly increase R-value, compared to other flooring materials. Results vary according to the carpet's construction, with heavier products generally providing higher R-value. Carpets were tested with and without a cushion; the combination maximized the R-value. Carpet really is warmer.
When various carpet constructions are compared to hard surface flooring products, the differences are dramatic:
- Carpet vs. engineered hardwood: From 3 to 7 times the R-value.
- Carpet vs. laminate: From 4 to 8 times the R-value.
- Carpet vs. ceramic tile: From 8 to 17 times the R-value.
Carpet with cushion represents a clear advantage in insulation capability over hard surface flooring. Of course, potential energy cost savings by using carpet and cushion in lieu of hard surfaces will vary widely. The type of floor construction, local energy costs, climate, and carpet/cushion type all affect how significant these savings could be.
Obviously, savings would be greater in colder regions of the country.
And carpet just feels warmer. Dr. Alan Hedge, a professor in the Department of Design and Environmental Analysis at Cornell University, cites thermal comfort as another of carpet's advantages. "Carpet feels warmer to the touch ... compared to other floor materials ... that conduct heat away from the body more rapidly, resulting in a lower skin temperature, cooler sensation, and greater thermal discomfort," Hedge reports.