Operating a home takes energy, and there's nothing a homeowner can do about that. What one CAN do, however, is work to control how much energy the home uses.
"Space conditioning"-making the interior living space comfortable in hot or cold weather accounts for up to 70% of the energy used in the average American home. (Source: U.S. Department of Energy)
The key to making a significant reduction in the home's consumption of energy is to increase the energy efficiency of the home's total heating and cooling system. Effective thermal insulation plays a crucial role in this process. Inadequate insulation and air leakage are leading causes of energy waste in most homes.
There are many kinds of insulation, but the basic kinds are:
1. "batt" or blanket insulation
2. blown-in or "loose fill" insulation
3. "foamed-in" polyurethane foam insulation
4. reflective insulation
We visited the CertainTeed insulation booth at the IBS where they displayed several very interesting applications of blown-in and batt fiberglass insulation.
For the attic areas, CertainTeed has a blown-in product called InsulSafe®4 that provides good thermal efficiency, but doesn't add the weight of other kinds of insulation that can cause drywall sagging and other concerns later on. Fiberglass insulation is permanently noncombustible, is non-corrosive to wires and pipes and contains no hazardous chemicals.
Because fiberglass is inorganic, it will not absorb moisture and will not decay and therefore will not support the growth of fungus.
CertainTeed has designed a "Blow-in-Blanket" ® system for use in new construction closed-cavity applications such as sidewalls, cathedral ceilings and floors. This system is called the OPTIMA® system and is blown in between studs without the use of any adhesives. A non-woven fabric is applied to the surface of the studs and the insulation is blown into the wall cavity at a high density to provide the highest possible R-value in the typical sidewall application.
Because the insulation is applied in dry form, there's no waiting time required for the insulation to dry, so the drywall can be applied immediately.
This OPTIMA® system is designed to completely cover every nook and cranny in the walls and is excellent for insulating around wires, pipes, and other fixtures.
According to CertainTeed, OPTIMA® yields an R-15 in 2" X 4" construction and R-23 in 2" X 6" construction.