Insulation is one of the most important components of any environmentally responsible building because it reduces energy consumption and the pollution that usually results. In this sense, any insulation material is a “green” product.

Good design and appropriate levels of insulation can minimize, or even eliminate, the need for central heating and cooling in many buildings. Insulation is a key part of the building envelope and an important element in the entire building as an integrated system. Choosing an insulation material should include considering how it works with the rest of the wall, roof, and floor system—and what additional functions, such as air-sealing, the material might serve.

A few guidelines and issues to consider when pairing insulation materials and structural elements for maximum efficiency:


Products in Insulation

ACME Panel
Peak Building Products
BASWAphon Acoustic Insulation
BASWA Acoustic North America, LLC
American Lime Technology
Cascadia Windows and Doors
3-C Production AB
Cellulose Insulation
Advanced Fiber Technology, Inc.
CertainTeed Corporation


Aug 6, 2016 6:08 PM ET

New Information on Spay Foam Insulation?
by Roger Rion

I am building a new home in North Texas. As the world is going now, I believe the weather here will continue to get hotter and more humid. Researching the spray foam vs cellulose question, information I have found thus far is quite dated (early 2000's). By now I would think more data is available regarding the health concerns or lack thereof. Is there any recent information that may help new home builders make a more informed decision?

Aug 26, 2010 3:41 AM ET

Response to Leah
by Martin Holladay

If you are building a 50,000-square-foot building, I presume you have both an architect and an HVAC engineer. Either one should be able to answer your question, using energy modeling software.

If your architect and engineer find this question too challenging, you're in trouble. If it's not too late, find another architect and engineer.

The question, however, is somewhat more challenging than it appears, because batt insulation and blown-in insulation can't simply be compared on the basis of their rated R-values.

It is difficult to install batt insulation perfectly; as a result, there will be more voids in walls insulated with batts. Moreover, the blown-in insulation may be slightly better at reducing air leakage. These two factors -- the voids in the batt-insulated assemblies and the difference in air leakage -- should if possible be modeled when making the comparison.

Aug 25, 2010 6:17 PM ET

Insulation Question
by Leah

I am trying to determine the incremental benefits of using R-21 batt insulation versus R-23 blow in insulation. for a 50K sq.ft building we are figuring an increased cost of $23-25K. But, I want to determine whether the incremental savings is worth it or if that $25,000 could be better used on a different energy measure. Can you direct me to a source that could give me some information on the incremental energy savings anticipated? The property is located in the Portland, OR area.

Apr 7, 2010 12:58 PM ET

Weatherization agencies
by Martin Holladay

Contact your state energy office and ask about local weatherization agencies. They should be able to advise you.

Apr 7, 2010 12:13 PM ET

Need advice
by Adrian Quijada

My wife and I are buying a house. This was built in 1962 made with bricks of burnt adobe. It's very beautiful with huge original glass windows at the living room as in bedrooms. We worry about the level of insulation and if this house may qualify in the future as energy efficient and green.
My mother in law recommend to ask to our county on evaluation services that may be free and would indicate us quality of insulation and things we can do to improve it. Do you perform such evaluations? Is any cost associated? THANK YOU!

Mar 4, 2010 5:09 AM ET

Response to Ryan
by Martin Holladay

1. The best place for your question would be our Q&A page. You can find the page by clicking the yellowish green tab marked "Q&A" at the top of any page. Here it is:

2. The Insofast panels should perform well. However, since these panels measure 2 inches thick, they have an R-value of only about R-8. They will not meet minimum R-value requirements in most of the country. In Climate Zones 4 and 5, the IRC requires a minimum of R-10 basement wall insulation. In Climate Zones 6, 7, and 8, the minimum code requirement for basement wall insulation is R-15. So these Insofast panels should only be used in Climate Zone 3 (the deep South) or warmer locations.

3. I don't know what you mean by "BCIS." It sounds like you are talking about your rim joist (also known as a band joist).

4. Tiger Foam can be safely sprayed over Dow Styrofoam (XPS),

5. You can use either open-cell spray foam or closed-cell spray foam over Dow Styrofoam (XPS).

Mar 3, 2010 8:00 PM ET

I need some help
by Ryan O'Dell

I am about to finish off my basement. I am going to buy the Insofast product (rigid EPS panels) and install it. Anyone used this yet?

Also, I built my home 5 years ago and came across some blue Dow board insulation (XPS) and cut it to fit inside the bcis. What i would like to know is, I am looking at getting some Tiger Foam and spraying over the bcis and the plates and sill to get an air tight seal. What kind of foam — open or closed — and can I spray it over the blue Dow board without it eating it?