Insulation is a critical factor to achieve comfort for a building’s occupants.
Insulation reduces unwanted heat loss or gain and can decrease the energy demands of a heating or cooling system. Insulation alone does not address adequate ventilation nor excessive drafts. A well insulated, appropriately ventilated building will be comfortable and should be easy to heat and cool.
For the Northern Climate buildings we serve, we recommend the following levels of insulation: R50+ in attics, R15+ in walls, R10+ in basements and crawlspaces. However, you may be surprised how we get there. If you want low heating bills, you have to think outside of the typical home construction box.
We routinely install spray foam, rigid foam board, cellulose, and fiberglass batt and vapor barriers on the same home on the same day. It’s not how much you use, it is how you use it. One project, various types of insulation installed throughout the building envelope. A relatively small contract total, and a very happy customer who offers testimonials.
After air sealing, insulation typically offers the fastest return for heating and cooling savings. It outpaces more expensive measures like windows and heating systems, and not only provides energy savings but can have a huge impact on comfort.
The tale of 2 “R” Values
There is the nominal R value. If for instance, your home has standard 8” fiberglass batt insulation installed in the attic. Your nominal R value is R30. However, if you insulation is not installed perfectly (and it hardly ever is), its effective R value is more likely somewhere between R10-20. Add in recessed lights and HVAC penetrations to the ceiling deck that complicates the installation of the insulation, and we are likely closer to the R10 than 20. Lawrence Berkley Labs testing shows R-19 fiberglass in exterior walls, performs like R-7 due to outdoor air leaking into the wall assembly.
It is critical that a home’s insulation, or thermal factor be designed and executed based on the final effective value after installation, not simply the nominal value that code inspectors will sign off on.
We deliver comfort and cost effective heating for our customers by taking areas that are not insulated and making sure they are insulated perfectly (including wall cavities). And we take areas that are under insulated, or insulated poorly, and make them extremely well insulated, after ensuring all appropriate air sealing has been done.