The Importance of Being Insulated (Properly)
By Kim Hibbs, Hibbs Homes
When building a high-performance home, like the Proud Green Home of St. Louis project, an important decisions our team had to make was how to construct the insulation package. Honestly, it’s one of the most important decisions any builder will make. There are many good insulation options available to meet your client’s budget and desired performance. Even typical fiberglass batts, when installed properly, offer a good performance R-value and a good economic value.
Why is the insulation package so important? Because insulation is a key component in improving a home’s thermal envelope. For those not familiar with the term, a thermal envelope is like a blanket, or outer coating, that wraps and protects your home from the outside elements. The better the fit of the insulation, the better the thermal envelope, and accordingly, the performance of the house.
One of the best insulating products on the market today is spray foam. We were looking for something special for the Proud Green Home project, so we selected Dow Building Solutions polyurethane spray foam. This solution was ideal for the Proud Green Home project for several reasons.
First, Dow is a trusted name in providing quality building products to the construction industry. The company is also a leader in developing and advancing products for high-performance, or green, builders. The list of advantages to using Dow’s spray foam insulation made our decision rather easy -
- The foam expands during installation on the interior of stud walls to fill cavities, cracks, and crevices.
- Spray foam serves as both insulation and air sealant for a wide range of new and retrofit applications.
- It creates a seamless, monolithic barrier.
- Foam protects against water vapor and air infiltration.
- Structural reinforcement is an advantage to using foam because it improves racking strength (structural enhancement only).
- It also incorporates a zero ozone-depleting blowing agent in the manufacturing process.
Dow’s spray foam insulation provided our client with a home that is more efficient, comfortable, and durable and offered improved indoor air quality.
In addition to using foam in the walls, we also used Dow Building Products XPS ridged foam insulation under the basement concrete slab. Insulation under the slab not only keeps heat in the house, it also maintains a comfortable floor temperature to decrease energy costs.
Spray foam insulation and ridged foam under the basement slab did add to construction costs.
However, considering the added benefits, comfort, and eventual payback, spray and ridge foam are energy efficient features worth discussing with your new home builder.
Companies: Cree Inc., Dow Building Solutions, Kohler, Marvin Windows and Doors, Kleendeck, LLC, Enertech Global, LLC, Benjamin Obdyke, Zehnder America, ACT D'MAND Systems, Huber Engineered Woods, Solatube, STEP Warmfloor, EcoDrain