Carbon footprint of high-performance remodel
Hello, so long story short, I’ve been researching high-performance options for a remodel of my 1920s bungalow in Minneapolis, MN. My current house has basically zero insulation in the walls and minimal roof insulation. In my research, a strategy similar to something that Joe Lstiburek would recommend (specifically enough rigid insulation on the exterior to move the condensation point beyond the wall assembly. 3.5+ inches in my case) would have a very long carbon payback. Basically, the carbon savings from my natural gas furnace wouldn’t justify the carbon cost of that much EPS/XPS/Rockwool for 50-80 years by my math, not to mention the cost on transportation and installation. I’m interested to hear someone else’s take on this to make sure I’m considering the variables correctly. I’m happy to post my math and sources (of which there aren’t many it seems) if anyone is interested.
As an extension of this argument, I’m curious what kind of research and writing has been done when considering super-high performance construction such as passive haus. In new construction what would be the carbon footprint payback time be for a super-insulated R-60 wall? If the extra R-40 of insulation is made up completely of XPS or EPS versus to-code construction (R-20 or 21) what would the carbon footprint vs carbon saving be compared to standard construction? Any referrals to current research would be more than welcome!
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