Green Building Advisor reader Ani Brown is getting ready to build a new house, and like most people in her position Brown will have to make some important choices on how to make the most of a limited construction budget.
Her immediate concern is insulation and air-sealing, two related details that will have a lot to do with how comfortable and durable the new house will be.
Brown has talked to many builders, most of whom are offering a “standard” insulation package consisting of fiberglass batts in the wall, and no separate air-control layer other than drywall or plugging holes discovered in blower-door testing.
Brown recognizes batt insulation can be difficult to install correctly, suggesting that spray-in insulation might be a better choice.
“But, one can argue that no matter what the product is (batt or spray); if it is installed incorrectly it will be a problem,” she writes in a Q&A post at GBA. “One can also argue that it is not the type of insulation that is being used that is of importance, but the ability to control air flow in an assembly. Meaning that if proper controls are put in place to control air flow, it does not matter as much what insulation material is used or if it is installed properly as long as it meets the required R-values of the code.”
In a perfect world, a new house would include insulation that is installed correctly as well as effective air-sealing. “But,” Brown adds, “if additional money is not available for both, what would be best to spend money on? Better installed insulation like a spray product or better air flow controls?”
The same concern was the focus of a Q&A Spotlight in 2010 and makes a return appearance here.
Find the right…
Get building science and energy efficiency advice, plus special offers, in your inbox.