All About Energy-Efficient Home Insulation

Learn how to make your home more comfortable using the latest energy-efficient home insulation options.

| December 2002/January 2003

Make your home comfortable with today's energy-efficient home insulation options.

Insulation serves one primary function: It retards heat flow into and out of homes. During sultry summers, insulation helps a building keep its cool. In the depth of bone-chilling winters, it helps hold the heat inside our homes.

Choosing the correct amount and kind of energy-efficient home insulation, and properly installing it in the walls, ceilings, floors and foundations of new and existing homes will make your home more energy efficient and economical, and much more comfortable. And, if extra insulation is paired with airtight home design and cost-effective, passive-solar heating and cooling measures, you can greatly reduce, even eliminate, the need for additional heating or cooling, and free yourself from utility-supplied power.

Insulation Information

Insulation falls into four categories: (1) loose-fill, (2) blankets (rolls and bats), (3) rigid foam and (4) liquid foam. Loose-fill and blankets are typically used in attics, between roof rafters, in wall cavities of wood-frame homes and between floor joists. Rigid foam insulation usually is applied externally. Liquid foam is most often used in wall cavities or to seal air gaps in a home's envelope.

When selecting insulation to use in your home, consider the following factors: long-term performance; insulations' raw materials, including recycled content; environmental impacts from its production; and health impacts to installers and your family.

Does Your Insulation Measure Up?

When you're ready to retrofit your home for insulation, first find out how much insulation is already in place. To measure attic insulation, measure the insulation's thickness, then determine the R-value (from the table below) by multiplying the measured thickness by the R-value for the type of insulation you have.

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