No. 2: Poorly Selected and Installed Insulation

  • Spec blown-in or sprayed-in insulation products to improve energy and air-leakage performance.
    Spec blown-in or sprayed-in insulation products to improve energy and air-leakage performance.

Home insulation has come a long way in the past 100 years. Instead of filling wall cavities with crumpled newspapers or straw, we now have blown-in fiberglass and cellulose, open- and closed-cell spray foams, and factory-built wall systems that seamlessly integrate insulation with the structure itself. But here again, it’s about more than the materials. Considering the haphazard way that homes are often insulated, you might as well be using yesterday’s newspaper.

We get only one shot at properly insulating and air-sealing our homes, so it’s no place to scrimp. I am not a fan of batt insulation. With the complexity of today’s framing systems and the variability of installers, it is extremely difficult to get it right. If you are using traditional framing, use any type of blown-in insulation so it fits and fills the wall as tightly and completely as possible. Remember to air-seal all penetrations to the attic, to the garage, and to the outdoors using blocking, foams, and sealants. Look closely at the options, and don’t write off seemingly small but critical details. Added together, they will reduce the overall size of the heating and cooling system, reduce callbacks, and improve customer satisfaction. In most areas, a properly insulated home will qualify for energy certification programs and even tax credits. Energy efficiency is the cornerstone of sustainability.