Whether you know very little about home construction or not, you know that you like to stay warm in cold weather and cooler in warmer weather. How one accomplishes this in their home varies. There’s a combination between fans, an HVAC system, and the most important factor, insulation. More often than not, people do not realize how important proper insulation is, and how much energy can be wasted with “cheap” or poorly installed insulation, but there is a way to determine how effective your insulation is or would be, and that is its R-value.
The R-value is the unit of measurement for the thermal resistance of different types of insulation. What does that mean in layman’s terms? It simply measures the ability for the insulation to resist heat flow. The higher your R-value is, the more effective your insulation. When you are purchasing insulation, you should make the insulation’s R-value your primary deciding factor, rather than weight or thickness. A common misconception is that the heavier or the thicker the insulation is, the more effective the insulation. However, if two different types of insulation are different weights and have differences in their thickness, but have the same R-value, they should be identical in their effectiveness.
Recommended R-values also differ on the climate conditions of your living environment. For example, if you live in Alaska, your recommend R-value to maintain efficiency and agreeable indoor temperatures would be different than the recommended R-value of someone living in Arizona. Recommended R-values also vary based on the location of the insulation within your home, what type of structure your home has (i.e. single-level ranch style or two-story), and what type of HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) system you have in your home. You can find a useful tool to calculate your recommended R-values here. While you certainly can use insulation with the same R-value throughout your home, it is probably not the most effective idea if you’re using insulation with a low R-value. Higher R-value insulation is recommended for attics and cathedral ceiling rooms, whereas lower R-value insulation can be used in basements and wood frame walls.
The FTC strictly enforces the R-value rule. This rule mandates that you are able to receive honest and accurate R-value information when purchasing insulation or purchasing a home with insulation already installed. When purchasing insulation, the R-value must clearly be stated on the packaging. When purchasing a new home or installing insulation, the contractors must give you fact sheets or sales contracts that disclose the R-value of your insulation. Bud Bartley Homes uses high-density cellulose insulation in the exterior walls and attic. In flat areas, such as the attic, the insulation has an R-value of 44.
Our wall system rates at R-17:
- R-13 high-density cellulose insulation in the exterior walls
- R- 2 Green Guard Insulated Structural Sheathing
- R-2 New Generation Tyvek Therma Wrap: whole house radiant, moisture & air barrier
Studies of actual buildings regularly show that cellulose-insulated buildings may use 20% to 40% less energy than buildings with fiberglass, even if the R-value of the insulation in the walls and ceilings is identical.