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Optimized Insulation

Optimized Insulation

  • Bonded Logic. UltraTouch uses post-consumer blue jeans to make cotton batt and blown-in cellulose insulation with no formaldehyde or VOCs while diverting 300 tons of denim per month away from landfills. It is available in select R-values up to 30, absorbs sound for up to a 50% increase in acoustical performance, and offers fire- and mold-resistant qualities. New perforated batts enable easier installation around cavity intrusions to achieve optimal R-value. 480.812.9114. www.bondedlogic.com/ultratouch-cotton.htm.

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    Bonded Logic. UltraTouch uses post-consumer blue jeans to make cotton batt and blown-in cellulose insulation with no formaldehyde or VOCs while diverting 300 tons of denim per month away from landfills. It is available in select R-values up to 30, absorbs sound for up to a 50% increase in acoustical performance, and offers fire- and mold-resistant qualities. New perforated batts enable easier installation around cavity intrusions to achieve optimal R-value. 480.812.9114. www.bondedlogic.com/ultratouch-cotton.htm.

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    Bonded Logic. UltraTouch uses post-consumer blue jeans to make cotton batt and blown-in cellulose insulation with no formaldehyde or VOCs while diverting 300 tons of denim per month away from landfills. It is available in select R-values up to 30, absorbs sound for up to a 50% increase in acoustical performance, and offers fire- and mold-resistant qualities. New perforated batts enable easier installation around cavity intrusions to achieve optimal R-value. 480.812.9114. http://www.bondedlogic.com/construction-products/ultratouch-denim-insulation.

  • CertainTeed. A full line of compatible insulation options includes CertaSpray, a closed-cell expanding spray foam designed for complete coverage or hybrid applications (pictured) to provide air sealing and up to R-6.7 insulating qualities. It also serves as a secondary moisture barrier and offers anti-fungal-growth qualities. The company also offers recycled glass-fiber batts and blown-in with plant-based binders that contain no formaldehyde. 800.233.8990. www.certainteed.com/products/insulation.

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    CertainTeed. A full line of compatible insulation options includes CertaSpray, a closed-cell expanding spray foam designed for complete coverage or hybrid applications (pictured) to provide air sealing and up to R-6.7 insulating qualities. It also serves as a secondary moisture barrier and offers anti-fungal-growth qualities. The company also offers recycled glass-fiber batts and blown-in with plant-based binders that contain no formaldehyde. 800.233.8990. www.certainteed.com/products/insulation.

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    CertainTeed. A full line of compatible insulation options includes CertaSpray, a closed-cell expanding spray foam designed for complete coverage or hybrid applications (pictured) to provide air sealing and up to R-6.7 insulating qualities. It also serves as a secondary moisture barrier and offers anti-fungal-growth qualities. The company also offers recycled glass-fiber batts and blown-in with plant-based binders that contain no formaldehyde. 800.233.8990. www.certainteed.com/products/insulation.

  • Demilec. Sealection 500 is a two-part, water-blown polyurethane open-cell spray foam that delivers air-sealing and R-3.81 per inch insulating qualities. The formulation contains no ozone-depleting or emitting chemicals, gasses, fibers, or asbestos to promote healthy indoor air; the sealing value offers sound abatement benefits up to STC 51. It is appropriate for all wood-framed areas. 877.336.4532. www.demilecusa.com.

    http://www.ecobuildingpulse.com/Images/tmp2068%2Etmp_tcm131-849666.jpg

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    Demilec. Sealection 500 is a two-part, water-blown polyurethane open-cell spray foam that delivers air-sealing and R-3.81 per inch insulating qualities. The formulation contains no ozone-depleting or emitting chemicals, gasses, fibers, or asbestos to promote healthy indoor air; the sealing value offers sound abatement benefits up to STC 51. It is appropriate for all wood-framed areas. 877.336.4532. www.demilecusa.com.

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    Demilec. Sealection 500 is a two-part, water-blown polyurethane open-cell spray foam that delivers air-sealing and R-3.81 per inch insulating qualities. The formulation contains no ozone-depleting or emitting chemicals, gasses, fibers, or asbestos to promote healthy indoor air; the sealing value offers sound abatement benefits up to STC 51. It is appropriate for all wood-framed areas. 877.336.4532. www.demilecusa.com.

  • Dow Building Solutions. Froth-Pak is a two-component, quick-cure polyurethane foam that fills cavities, cracks, and expansion joints to deliver air sealing and R-5.35 insulating value, as well as a Class-A flame-spread rating. Other compatible and complementary products and systems are available to accommodate below-grade, wood-framed, and block/concrete construction, including insulated structural sheathing panels. 866.583.2583. http://building.dow.com/na/en/products/insulation.

    http://www.ecobuildingpulse.com/Images/tmp2069%2Etmp_tcm131-849667.jpg

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    Dow Building Solutions. Froth-Pak is a two-component, quick-cure polyurethane foam that fills cavities, cracks, and expansion joints to deliver air sealing and R-5.35 insulating value, as well as a Class-A flame-spread rating. Other compatible and complementary products and systems are available to accommodate below-grade, wood-framed, and block/concrete construction, including insulated structural sheathing panels. 866.583.2583. http://building.dow.com/na/en/products/insulation.

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    Dow Building Solutions. Froth-Pak is a two-component, quick-cure polyurethane foam that fills cavities, cracks, and expansion joints to deliver air sealing and R-5.35 insulating value, as well as a Class-A flame-spread rating. Other compatible and complementary products and systems are available to accommodate below-grade, wood-framed, and block/concrete construction, including insulated structural sheathing panels. 866.583.2583. http://building.dow.com/na/en/products/insulation.

  • GreenFiber. High-density Cocoon cellulose blown-in insulation is made from 85% post-consumer recycled newspaper purchased in bulk and from select community collections and 15% non-toxic borate additives to achieve a Class 1A fire rating. The coverage chart on the package indicates how much material is needed to achieve the desired R-value. The hydroscopic product can absorb up to 15% moisture content without losing thermal value and also absorbs 90% of sound transmission, says the maker. 800.228.0024. www.greenfiber.com.

    http://www.ecobuildingpulse.com/Images/tmp206A%2Etmp_tcm131-849668.jpg

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    GreenFiber. High-density Cocoon cellulose blown-in insulation is made from 85% post-consumer recycled newspaper purchased in bulk and from select community collections and 15% non-toxic borate additives to achieve a Class 1A fire rating. The coverage chart on the package indicates how much material is needed to achieve the desired R-value. The hydroscopic product can absorb up to 15% moisture content without losing thermal value and also absorbs 90% of sound transmission, says the maker. 800.228.0024. www.greenfiber.com.

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    GreenFiber. High-density Cocoon cellulose blown-in insulation is made from 85% post-consumer recycled newspaper purchased in bulk and from select community collections and 15% non-toxic borate additives to achieve a Class 1A fire rating. The coverage chart on the package indicates how much material is needed to achieve the desired R-value. The hydroscopic product can absorb up to 15% moisture content without losing thermal value and also absorbs 90% of sound transmission, says the maker. 800.228.0024. www.greenfiber.com.

  • Johns Manville. The company offers a wide range of insulating options, including Kraft-Faced Batts & Rolls made of naturally white, formaldehyde-free fiberglass. Applicable in all wood framing cavities, the batts are available in R-values ranging from 11 to 38 and in pre-cut batts. Complementary products include rigid foam panels for CMU/concrete walls, poly-encapsulated batts, and both spray- and blown-in fiberglass. 800.654.3103. www.specjm.com.

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    Johns Manville. The company offers a wide range of insulating options, including Kraft-Faced Batts & Rolls made of naturally white, formaldehyde-free fiberglass. Applicable in all wood framing cavities, the batts are available in R-values ranging from 11 to 38 and in pre-cut batts. Complementary products include rigid foam panels for CMU/concrete walls, poly-encapsulated batts, and both spray- and blown-in fiberglass. 800.654.3103. www.specjm.com.

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    Johns Manville. The company offers a wide range of insulating options, including Kraft-Faced Batts & Rolls made of naturally white, formaldehyde-free fiberglass. Applicable in all wood framing cavities, the batts are available in R-values ranging from 11 to 38 and in pre-cut batts. Complementary products include rigid foam panels for CMU/concrete walls, poly-encapsulated batts, and both spray- and blown-in fiberglass. 800.654.3103. www.specjm.com.

  • Knauf. The Insulation & Sealing System uses one-part, water-based, elastomeric EcoSeal applied with an airless sprayer to seal the framing joints; fiberglass EcoBatt insulation adds thermal resistance to R-38 per batt. Sealant accommodates gaps as small as 1/16 inch for optimal air tightness. A whole-house application installs in a half-day, says the maker, requires no safety gear or special equipment, and provides acoustical qualities. 317.398.4434. http://ecoseal.knaufinsulation.us.

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    Knauf. The Insulation & Sealing System uses one-part, water-based, elastomeric EcoSeal applied with an airless sprayer to seal the framing joints; fiberglass EcoBatt insulation adds thermal resistance to R-38 per batt. Sealant accommodates gaps as small as 1/16 inch for optimal air tightness. A whole-house application installs in a half-day, says the maker, requires no safety gear or special equipment, and provides acoustical qualities. 317.398.4434. http://ecoseal.knaufinsulation.us.

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    Knauf. The Insulation & Sealing System uses one-part, water-based, elastomeric EcoSeal applied with an airless sprayer to seal the framing joints; fiberglass EcoBatt insulation adds thermal resistance to R-38 per batt. Sealant accommodates gaps as small as 1/16 inch for optimal air tightness. A whole-house application installs in a half-day, says the maker, requires no safety gear or special equipment, and provides acoustical qualities. 317.398.4434. http://ecoseal.knaufinsulation.us.

  • Oregon Shepherd. Natural recycled wool loose-fill insulation delivers a high thermal resistance value (about R-4 per inch), resists settling per natural elasticity, and can absorb up to 38% of its weight in moisture without sacrificing thermal value. The all-natural product requires no safety gear to install and absorbs off-gassed chemicals from other products to promote better indoor air quality; it is also fire- and vermin-resistant. It is available in batts for floor cavities. 888.629.9665. www.oregonshepherd.com.

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    Oregon Shepherd. Natural recycled wool loose-fill insulation delivers a high thermal resistance value (about R-4 per inch), resists settling per natural elasticity, and can absorb up to 38% of its weight in moisture without sacrificing thermal value. The all-natural product requires no safety gear to install and absorbs off-gassed chemicals from other products to promote better indoor air quality; it is also fire- and vermin-resistant. It is available in batts for floor cavities. 888.629.9665. www.oregonshepherd.com.

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    Oregon Shepherd. Natural recycled wool loose-fill insulation delivers a high thermal resistance value (about R-4 per inch), resists settling per natural elasticity, and can absorb up to 38% of its weight in moisture without sacrificing thermal value. The all-natural product requires no safety gear to install and absorbs off-gassed chemicals from other products to promote better indoor air quality; it is also fire- and vermin-resistant. It is available in batts for floor cavities. 888.629.9665. www.oregonshepherd.com.

  • Owens Corning. EcoTouch Pink Fiberglas Insulation features new PureFiber technology made with formaldehyde-free minerals and plant-based compounds and a minimum of 30% post-consumer recycled content (50% total recycled content), the highest SCS-certified percentage in the industry. The product offers R-13 to R-38 ratings for all framed applicatons. The manufacturer recommends its application with an air-sealing method to achieve optimum thermal performance. It achieves Greenguard Indoor Air Quality and Greenguard Children and Schools certification. 800.438.7465. http://insulation.owenscorning.com.

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    Owens Corning. EcoTouch Pink Fiberglas Insulation features new PureFiber technology made with formaldehyde-free minerals and plant-based compounds and a minimum of 30% post-consumer recycled content (50% total recycled content), the highest SCS-certified percentage in the industry. The product offers R-13 to R-38 ratings for all framed applicatons. The manufacturer recommends its application with an air-sealing method to achieve optimum thermal performance. It achieves Greenguard Indoor Air Quality and Greenguard Children and Schools certification. 800.438.7465. http://insulation.owenscorning.com.

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    E.PERRY**Y

    Owens Corning. EcoTouch Pink Fiberglas Insulation features new PureFiber technology made with formaldehyde-free minerals and plant-based compounds and a minimum of 30% post-consumer recycled content (50% total recycled content), the highest SCS-certified percentage in the industry. The product offers R-13 to R-38 ratings for all framed applicatons. The manufacturer recommends its application with an air-sealing method to achieve optimum thermal performance. It achieves Greenguard Indoor Air Quality and Greenguard Children and Schools certification. 800.438.7465. http://insulation.owenscorning.com.

Best Practices

Sidewalls: For wood-framed perimeter walls, building scientists and budget-conscious builders advocate a hybrid approach commonly called “flash-and-batt,” which combines the best combination of air-sealing and insulation technologies to affordably address the thermal envelope.

When combined with advanced or optimized framing practices, which reduce the amount of structural lumber while creating wider and deeper cavities for insulation, this “hybrid” approach can also help achieve a Grade 1 thermal envelope that the next level of the federal Energy Star Qualified Homes program standards will require. “The ideal is to insulate without gaps, voids, or compression,” says Sam Rashkin, the program’s national director.

In a hybrid application, each wood-framed wall cavity receives a 1-inch layer of closed-cell spray foam to seal the joints and block airflow between the studs and the exterior sheathing.

Once the foam cures (usually the same or next day), the less-expensive “batt” layer—which could be fiberglass, cellulose, cotton, or sheep’s wool in a rolled form or various blown-in applications—fills the rest of the cavity to provide the bulk of the thermal resistance value.

The value and popularity of a hybrid method has spawned alternatives to spray foam that address the shortcomings of that product’s formulation and application.

Specifically, water-based, one-part, spray-applied sealant frames only the joints rather than coating the entire sheathing surface at the back of the cavity to further reduce the cost (and mess) of the “flash” stage while purporting to match the air-sealing qualities of spray foam.

A hybrid approach alone may meet the new minimum insulation values specified in the 2012 Energy Star standards, as established in the 2009 International Energy Conservation Code.

But builders in extremely cold climates who want to earn the Energy Star label may also need to apply rigid foam panels to the outside surface of the framed walls, either behind or integrated into the sidewall sheathing, to create a thermal envelope that mitigates the conductivity of the wall framing. “It takes it to a mature building science level,” says Rashkin. “No exposed framing [to the outside] is ideal.”

Attic/Roof: While most energy experts call for HVAC equipment to be located within conditioned space, the new housing economy is driving the trend toward smaller square footages. In turn, that’s forcing builders to look above the top plate to run and hide ductwork and HVAC equipment.

Problem is, an unsealed and uninsulated attic space, especially in hot, humid climates, is inhospitable for equipment and ducting to operate efficiently and maintain desired indoor comfort levels.

Open-cell spray foam—a less expensive if slightly less thermally resistant sister of closed-cell foam—applied to the underside of the roof deck from the ridge down to the top plate effectively seals and insulates the attic.

The result is a “semi-conditioned” space that is perhaps only 5-10 degrees warmer than the living areas below, enabling HVAC equipment to operate as intended in an environment that helps rather than hinders energy savings.

The application also purports to help resist truss uplift, a key performance benefit that other insulating products can’t match. “It also creates the potential to expand living space without enlarging the home’s footprint,” says Bohdan Boyko, building science manager at GreenFiber, a recycled-newspaper cellulose insulation manufacturer in Charlotte, N.C. “It’s not just a climate-specific benefit.”

But for builders in moderate climates and with the heating and cooling system stationed elsewhere in the footprint, “cathedralizing” may be an unnecessary expense.

Picture-framing the roof truss cavities with a spray-applied sealant to tighten the roof assembly and throwing down a deep bed of blown-in material in the ceiling cavities adequately retards thermal loss from the conditioned living space below, which helps reduce the home’s energy use for heating and cooling even if the attic is to remain unoccupied.

“People are always looking for a numeric return on investment,” says Gary Parsons, a fellow in Dow Building Solutions Research and Development for the Midland, Mich., insulation manufacturer. “Now it’s case by case, and a builder can model different scenarios to better estimate those results.”