Why Insulate? — An Introduction to Insulation
Although insulation is an important element of building, it is often the least understood. Many people aren’t aware of the multiple places energy is lost in a home. As an Owens CorningTM Certified Energy Expert® , Prairie Insulation understands the science behind the building envelope. So, you can turn to us to learn more about the benefits of insulation.
Insulation lays a foundation of energy efficiency for residential, commercial and industrial structures. It is one of the most cost-effective ways to save energy and reduce monthly heating and cooling costs. Whether you are remodeling a home or building a new business, there are many benefits of insulation:
- Increased, more consistent interior comfort all year long
- Reduced energy usage
- Lower heating and cooling costs
- Less wear and tear on HVAC equipment
- Reduced noise transmission for a quieter space
- Improved air quality
- Reduced moisture intrusion
- Less overall environmental impact
How Insulation Works
Heat flows from higher temperature areas to lower temperature areas, creating temperature fluctuation within a space. Insulation wraps your home in a protective blanket, reducing heat flow in order to keep the heat out during warmer months and the heat in during cooler months. Insulation is an excellent noise absorber and helps to reduce sound transmission from both outside and within a home, creating a quieter space with less reverberation. Insulation also allows other energy-efficient components, such as air sealing, to do their job, forming a comprehensive insulating system that helps maintain consistent temperatures and moisture levels, reduce energy usage and increase monthly energy savings.
What Is R-Value?
The “R” in R-value stands for resistance to heat flow. The higher the R-value, the higher the level of resistance and the greater the insulating power. R-value requirements vary depending on climate and building type.
Below is an example of how R-value relates to the amount of insulation used in a typical attic. The thicknesses listed are for Owens Corning® PROPINK® L77 PINK® Fiberglas™ Unbonded Loosefill Insulation blown in the attic and not a general rule of thumb for any other brand/type of insulation in any other areas/applications. We can provide you the correct amount of insulation for your project.
|R-value||Minimum Thickness (in)|
Where to Insulate
Insulation should be installed in the walls, floors, attic space, basement and crawlspace. A more detailed list includes:
- Ceilings with unheated spaces above, including dormer ceilings
- Knee walls of attic spaces finished as living areas
- Sloped walls and ceilings of attics finished as living areas
- Cathedral or vaulted ceilings
- Around perimeters of slabs
- Floors above vented crawl spaces
- Floors over unheated or open spaces such as over garages or porches
- Basement walls
- Band and header joists
- Interior walls, ceilings or floors where extra sound control is needed
- Floors over unconditioned basements
How Much Insulation Is Enough?
The amount of insulation needed varies depending on location, building type and materials. You can review this recommended R-Value levels chart from ENERGY STAR. We will work with you to provide the right insulation estimate for your specifications.
Things to Consider When Insulating
- What type of insulation is being used?
- Does the insulation meet or exceed local building codes and national recommended insulation levels?
- How effective is the insulation (thermal performance, acoustical performance)?
- Is the insulation resistant to moisture, fire and settling?
- Is the insulation material safe and sustainable?
- Is the insulation cost effective?
Your House as a System
Though insulation is one of the most essential and cost-effective ways to create overall efficiency, there are many factors to take into consideration. Insulation and air sealing combined with energy-efficient appliances, windows, doors, lighting and HVAC equipment build a whole-house efficiency system that will prove beneficial throughout the year and for years to come. We can provide an in-home consultation to help you create a plan to address any energy concerns in your household.