Why Should You Insulate?

Heating and cooling ("space conditioning") account for 50 to 70 percent of the energy used in the average American home. About 20% goes for heating water. On the other hand, lighting and appliances, and everything else, account for only 10 to 30 percent of the energy used in most residences. It makes good sense to turn lights and appliances off when they are not needed. This will save even more on energy costs and reduce the amount of energy needed for heating and cooling.  

The Crucial Role of Thermal Insulation

Inadequate insulation and air leakage are leading causes of energy waste in most homes. Insulation saves money and our nation's limited energy resources. It can also make your home more comfortable by helping to maintain a uniform temperature throughout the house. Walls, ceilings, and floors will be warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. Insulation can also act as a sound absorber or barrier, keeping noise levels down. It is possible to add insulation to almost any house.

Insulation Priorities

It is most important to:

  • Insulate your attic to the recommended level, including the attic door, or hatch cover.

  • Provide the recommended level of insulation under floors above unheated spaces, around walls in a heated basement or unventilated crawl space, and on the edges of slabs-on-grade.

  • Use the recommended levels of insulation for exterior walls for new house construction. When remodeling or re-siding your house, consider using the levels recommended for new construction in your existing walls.

 

How Does Insulation Work for You?

Heat flows naturally from a warmer to a cooler space. In the winter, this heat flow moves directly from all heated living spaces to adjacent unheated attics, garages, and basements, or to the outdoors; or indirectly through interior ceilings, walls, and floors--wherever there is a difference in temperature. During the cooling season, heat flows from outdoors to the house interior. To maintain comfort, the heat lost in winter must be replaced by your heating system and the heat gained in summer must be removed by your air conditioner. Insulating ceilings, walls, and floors decreases this heat flow by providing an effective resistance to the flow of heat.

Insulation is rated in terms of thermal resistance, called R-value, which indicates the resistance to heat flow. The higher the R-value, the greater the insulating effectiveness. The R-value of thermal insulation depends on the type of material, its thickness, and density. In calculating the R-value of a multi-layered installation, the R-values of the individual layers are added. Installing more insulation in your home increases R-value and the resistance to heat flow.

Department of Energy Insulation Fact Sheet

http://www.ornl.gov/sci/roofs+walls/insulation/ins_01.html

Energy Efficiency Tax Credits

http://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/Get-Credit-for-Making-Your-Home-Energy-Efficient

Owens Corning Manufacturer's Statement for Tax Credit

http://insulation.owenscorning.com/homeowners/tools-resources/docs/10000652-D.pdf