You are on page 1of 18

Residential Insulation

Michael J. Currie
GrotonLocal.org
10 October 2007
Why we insulate?

To slow the transfer of heat --


Heat is the form of energy exchanged between objects of
different temperatures!
Outline
 Building Envelope
 R-values
 Insulation Types
 Insulation Case Study
 Other insights
 Health Factors
 Installation
 Tax incentives
 Discussion
Building Envelope -- the “skin”
of your structure
The building envelope consists of
all the surfaces that separate the
controlled space from the
uncontrolled space.

 Primary envelope is the exterior


of your home
 Secondary envelope is a
controlled space that bisects an
uncontrolled space
-- ductwork in attic, pipes in
basement, refridgerator, hot
water heater
 Thermal bridges are lossy
pathways across the envelope

To maximize efficiency of the home, all envelopes must be


properly insulated.
R-values
 Industry measurement of the resistivity to heat flow,
inverse of thermal conductivity (U)
R = 1/U
 Higher R-values (more insulation) prevent heat flow
Material
Outside Air Film
R-value
0.2
R = R1 + R2 +
Siding Wood Bevel 0.8 R3 + …
1/2” Plywood Sheathing 0.6
Fiberglass Batt 11.0
1/2” Drywall 0.5 Units: ft2 .°F.hr/BTU
Inside Air Film 0.7
Total Wall 13.8
R-values cont’d
1
"Heat = (THOT # TCOLD ) Area
R
Factor Energy Usage

R-value

Temp Difference
Amount of
energy you Area
must
supply per This is the basis for your insulation strategy!
hour
Example - Your front door
1
"Heat = (THOT # TCOLD ) Area
R
1
170 = (65 " 25) 21
BTU/hr
3.7 (3’ x 7’)

Annual heat loss is equivalent to 5 gallons of fuel oil.


(1 gallon fuel oil = 140,000 BTU)
! ! !
!
Recommended R-values
38 38

49
38

25

11 to 22

30
Band Joist

19 10 11
Types of Insulation
R per inch

3.1

2.1

2.2 - 3.7

4-6.5

various

Source: DOE Insulation Factsheet


R-value caveats
 Insulation manufacturers measure R-values in a lab, not in the real
world…
 “Center of Cavity” -- only insulation, no structure,WYSIWYG
 Clear Wall -- wall w/ minimal studs
 Whole Wall -- wall w/ windows, corners, etc.
For a 2x6 wall w/ R-19 batts and studs 24” o.c.
Center of Cavity Clear Wall Whole Wall
21.6 16.4 13.7 2/3
Source: Oak Ridge National Labs

Extreme Cold Air and Moisture degrade R-value performance of batt and loose
fill insulation
Moisture -7.5% per 1% moisture
Extreme Cold
Heating and cooling days
 Degree day captures  Heating Days
the average 6000 degree days
temperature below  Cooling Days
the typical heating 500 degree days
set-point of 65° F 1400

 Example: 10° F
1200

1000

average temperature
800

2005
600
2006

gives 55 degree days


400

200

0
Jan Mar May Jun Aug Oct Nov

-200

In New England, heating dominates energy consumption


Residential Case Study
 Built: 1978
 Living Space: 2400 sq ft.
 Perimeter: 156 ft.
 Energy Usage:
800 gallons fuel oil and 20
kWh per day-(100 million
BTU during the heating
season)
 Construction:
2x4, R-11 batts
R-19 in cathedral ceiling
Single/Double Pane Windows
No basement insulation

What are the available options?


Upgrading Windows
Case study
Type R-value BTU/year/ sq ft.
savings

Single Pane 1.0 144000 -

Single Pane w/ $16.88 per


2.0 72000
storm window

Double Pane, $5.63 per


3.0 48000
low e window

Triple Pane 4.0 36000

Payback time is 50 to 200+ years! - Very bad news

Assumes: Fuel Oil is $2.50


Insulating Basement
 8’ below ground level temperature is 50 - 55° F during the winter.
The equivalent number of degrees days during the heating season is 1800.

For 1300 square feet of floor (R-value = 1.6), the heating load is
equivalent to 300 gallons of fuel oil ($750). The actual value is higher if
the basement has drafts, i.e. the underground temperature is higher.

 How to insulate?
 Do not use fiberglass if the
area is moist. Your
investment will be ruined.
 Ceiling -- basement is
unheated, attacks the problem
at the source.
 Walls -- basement is heated,
fairly dry.
 Always insulate band joist R-
30
External Foam under clapboarding
 Can you economically add foam over siding, if you intend to
change siding?
Material Old R- New R-
value value
Outside Air Film 0.2 0.2
Siding Wood Bevel - 0.8
1” Rigid Insulation - 5
Air Pocket - 1.0
Siding Wood Bevel 0.8 0.8
1/2” Plywood Sheathing 0.6 0.6
Fiberglass Batt 11.0 11.0
1/2” Drywall 0.5 0.5
Inside Air Film 0.7 0.7
Total Wall 13.8 20.6

 Case Study: 1500 sq. ft. of siding -- savings of 53 gallons of


fuel oil or $115 per year.
 Not economical if you need to change any aspect of window
detail, most likely over 10 year pay back time!
Case Study Conclusions
 Basement Insulation would be a sure bet. Large possible
savings, with easy access on the inside.
 Replacement windows and insulation under new
clapboarding are not cost effective.
 Other options:
 For windows: R-5 insert into windows at night would yield $5 per
window per year.
 Two other elements of the heat loss equation
 Reduce square footage -- only heat required rooms
 Reduce setpoint -- 7 degree setback for overnight saves 11% across
whole structure during the heating season
 Can be achieved with programmable thermostats
Other Factors
 Health Factors
 Vermiculite fill may contain asbestos
 70% of vermiculite mined from contaminated mine in Libby, MT
 Fiberglass insulation is a skin and airway irritant, and can contain
carcinogens, formaldehyde allergens
 Wet insulation supports mold growth
 Installation
 Improper installation may degrade whole wall r-value
 Fiberglass should not be compressed, voids behind junction boxes
should be insulated, area around door/window frames
 Vapor barrier products must have vapor barrier facing high
moisture area.
 Tax Incentives
 Energy Policy Act of 2005 -- credit of 10% up to $500 for the cost
of qualifying energy efficiency purchases, i.e. insulation and
appliances
Discussion