Technically speaking, the “R” in “R-value” stands for resistance, as in: the capacity of an insulating material to resist heat flow, or in other words, to keep the heat in. The higher the R-value, the greater the insulating capacity of the material you’re using.
Practically speaking, however, that “R” stands for return, as in: return on investment; the more you insulate, and the more thoughtful and intentional you are about doing so, the higher your R-value – or in other words, the more money you save!
You are going to insulate your new home, that’s not even up for debate, but it’s essential to work with your builder to isolate and insulate most effectively those areas of your home where you’re invariably going to lose the most heat.
Dormer windows, arched ceilings, wood floors, tile foyers, peaked roofs, attics, basements – for every element of your home, there’s a professional, careful insulation calculation that needs to be made to ensure you’re using the right material, in the right places, for the greatest return on investment.
How about another list of industry jargon: spray foam (open and closed cell), dense pack cellulose, rigid foam board, fiberglass batts, Structural Insulated Panels… should I go on? The point is, for every unique element of your home, there are also unique insulation materials and approaches that will be most effective and appropriate in that particular context. Each distinct material has its own pros, cons, and R-value; your investment at the outset will guarantee that the return on each is maximized and leveraged to provide you and your family optimal comfort.
One more thing to keep in mind: The more you invest in your insulation, the more you can consider downsizing your home’s heating and cooling systems. There’s no need to have an 80,000 BTU system in a home that with proper insulation can heat just as efficiently with a 40,000 or 50,000 BTU system. That efficiency is money in your pocket and a significant reduction in energy consumption.
Insulation is ultimately about year-round comfort and reliability. The ability to efficiently control and moderate your home’s temperature and your family’s comfort year-round is an unparalleled blessing, and a priority in every new home. The right insulation in all the right places will help you do just that.
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