Insulation creates an effective barrier between the people inside the home and the world outside. Instead of having no alternative but to allow outdoor weather conditions to dictate the comfort level of their indoor environment, homeowners are able to control the temperature, humidity, and other conditions inside their house if they install sufficient insulation.
Given home insulation’s impact on energy efficiency and level of indoor comfort, existing building energy codes require residential builders to adhere to a set of standards for installing home insulation. Unfortunately, these guidelines are often overlooked by builders. According to the North American Insulation Manufacturers Association (NAIMA), approximately 9 out of 10 homes in the United States are under-insulated, resulting in waste in energy and money, as well as decreased comfort for homeowners.
If you are in the process of constructing your new home, you should abide by the minimum insulation standards or even design and build beyond them. Contrary to a common misconception, proper home insulation is not a waste of serious dollars as it offers the following advantages:
Helps Save Energy
Perhaps the most well-known benefit of home insulation is how it can greatly improve energy efficiency, and in the process, help homeowners save money on energy bills. In a properly insulated home, less warm air leaks during winter, and less cool air flows out during the hot season. As a result, you get to save on your energy consumption since your heating and cooling systems will require less power to maintain comfortable levels of indoor temperature.
In one study conducted by the Building Codes Assistance Project (BCAP) and ICF International, it was found that new homeowners can save as much as $11,100 in electricity cost over the mortgage term if they construct their homes per the 2012 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), which sets the minimum standards for residential insulation. The results coincide with the findings of another research led by a team from Boston University School of Public Health. According to the researchers, residential electricity use and natural gas use would decrease by around 5 percent and 10 percent, respectively, if all homes in the US were fitted with insulation based on the 2012 IECC.
Imagine how much savings you can generate if you will construct your home according to the IECC minimum insulation standards. This benefit is worth noting, considering that residential electricity costs continue to rise today.
Makes Indoor Conditions More Comfortable
Everyone wants a home that offers comfort regardless of outside conditions— one that keeps you warm during winter and makes you feel cool and fresh in the hot summer months. This level of comfort is only possible if your home insulation is sufficient.
As discussed above, insulation acts as a barrier. First, it prevents conductive heat transfer from the outdoors to the indoors and vice versa. Secondly, it can also help prevent conditioned and unconditioned air from moving between the indoors and the outdoors . As such, you can be assured that your home will stay warm even if it is snowing outside. During summertime, on the other hand, your home insulation will block heat from entering to keep the indoors cool.
To determine the appropriate level and type of home insulation, you need to consider the climatic conditions in your area, the effectiveness of the insulating material in resisting heat flow (R-value), and the main purpose of insulation. Take note that where and how the insulation is installed also matters greatly.
Your home should be a place where you can rest and relax after a long and tiring day. Oftentimes, however, de-stressing at home is practically impossible because of the various noises in the environment. How can you take a break when you can hear the sound of distant traffic and busy streets?
What you need to recharge your tired mind and body is silence. Aside from giving your ears a time-out, a quiet home can be beneficial to your physical, psychological, and mental wellbeing.
Fortunately, you do not have to live in an isolated area just to experience some peace and quiet since home insulation can significantly reduce outside noise and sounds in between rooms inside your house.
Installing R13 insulation batts in the wall studs and ceiling joists of your home during construction can help your house absorb the noises that will otherwise travel through the air pockets between wall framings. Note that fiberglass and mineral wool insulation batts are commonly used for soundproofing purposes.
Reduces Environmental Impact
Whether you realize it or not, you are helping the environment if your home is properly insulated. As you reduce your energy consumption and electricity bill when heating or cooling your home, you are also reducing your carbon footprint.
One of the findings of the environmental impact assessment commissioned by the North American Insulation Manufacturers Association (NAIMA) revealed that the amount of carbon dioxide removed from the atmosphere due to the installation of insulation in 4 million residential houses was equivalent to the effect of planting close to 670 million acres of trees.
You are also helping the environment when you use the following insulation types since they are manufactured using recycled materials:
- Fiberglass insulation (contains 40 to 60 percent recycled content)
- Rock wool insulation (contains 10 to 15 percent recycled content)
- Cellulose insulation (contains at least 80 percent recycled content)
Increases Property Value
While you may never consider putting your new home in the market, it is still reassuring to know that you are increasing your property’s market value when you insulate your home. Homebuyers are recognizing the benefits of energy-efficient homes, and as such, they are willing to pay more for properties with insulation and similar environmental upgrades.
For instance, an average attic air-seal and fiberglass insulation job worth $1,268 can yield a 116 percent return on investment if the home will be sold within a year of completion according to the Cost vs. Value Report by Remodeling Magazine. Using this result as a basis, imagine the overall resale value of your home if it is properly insulated.
Given the benefits discussed above, it is clear that installing sufficient and appropriate insulation in your new home is a crucial part of the home construction or home improvement process. At the end of the day, a properly insulated home offers an environment that makes living more comfortable and healthy for you and your family.