Insulation and air sealing are two key elements of high-performance custom homes. Together, they help to create a more energy-efficient and comfortable living environment by reducing heat loss and gain and minimizing drafts and air leaks. We have found that on new construction it is much more feasible to design and implement a robust insulation and air tightness solution – as opposed to a renovation or retrofit situation where there are many existing elements that we can not change and/or might be hard to work around. There will continue to be a growing demand for building science based high performance renovations, and figuring out feasible solutions for these problems is at the top of our list! The reality is that there are many more homes to be renovated than there are new homes to be built – so to ‘move the dial’ in improving the quality and performance of our homes, renovation retrofits must be a large component of the solution.
Insulation refers to the material used to slow down the movement of heat between the interior and exterior of a building. In high-performance custom homes, insulation is used to reduce heat loss in the winter and heat gain in the summer. Insulation is typically installed on the exterior, in the walls, roof, and floor of a home, and it comes in a variety of materials, such as fiberglass, cellulose, foam, and mineral wool. The R-value is a measure of the insulation’s effectiveness, with higher R-values indicating greater insulation performance. The goal is to use enough insulation to achieve the desired level of comfort and energy efficiency.
Air sealing refers to the process of eliminating gaps, cracks, and other openings in a home’s exterior shell to prevent uncontrolled airflow. This is important because under negative pressure air leaks can allow unwanted outdoor air to enter the home, leading to drafts, inconsistent temperatures, and energy loss. Under positive pressure, air sealing prevents indoor air from escaping and taking the indoor heat with it.
Insulation and air sealing work together to create a more energy-efficient and comfortable living environment. Insulation slows down the movement of heat, while air sealing helps to prevent uncontrolled airflow. This means that high-performance custom homes are better able to maintain consistent temperatures throughout the year, which reduces energy consumption and improves indoor comfort.
When properly installed, insulation and air sealing can also help to improve indoor air quality by reducing the infiltration of outdoor pollutants, allergens, and dust. Additionally, they can help to reduce noise levels from outside and between rooms inside the home.
Overall, insulation and air sealing are two key elements of high-performance custom homes that work together to improve energy efficiency, indoor comfort, and indoor air quality. Proper installation and maintenance of these components are important to ensure their effectiveness in reducing energy consumption and improving the overall performance of a home.
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