Creating Energy Efficient Buildings and Homes Interior and Exterior Insulation

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Energy efficient buildings have taken priority for many buyers in today’s market. From single-family homes to high-rise buildings, new owners want to know that their building is well constructed with energy saving materials.

The average home uses 50% of its energy consumption on cooling and heating. Though lowering the thermostat 7 to 10 degrees can help save on energy costs by up to 10% each year, it is important for buildings and houses to have good quality interior and exterior insulation to keep the cool air in during the summer and the warm air in during the winter.

Contractors should wear a mask, goggles and heavy-duty work gloves for protection from tiny particle and while using power tools, such as staple guns and other construction power tools.

Exterior Insulation

An exterior insulated finish systems (EIFS) can add an attractive finish while decreasing the air penetration up to 55%, compared to brick or wooden exteriors. EIFS is a non-load bearing layer of materials used to insulate the exterior of buildings.

The components of EIFS usually include the substrate, drain plane and insulation board, fastened to the building’s frame by mechanical fasteners, then covered with reinforcing mesh, embedded in base coat, base coat and finish coat resembling brick, wood or siding.

Mechanical fasteners, such as lath screws, fastener plates, fastener screws and stucco fasteners, are reliable and long lasting.

Interior Insulation

Insulation is graded by its ability to resist heat flowing through — called the R-value. To find the R-value, the thickness of the material is divided by the thermal conductivity of the insulation material. The greater the resistance of heat, the higher the material’s R-value, which usually means better insulation.

Insulation materials are made of fiberglass, rock wool, cellulose or foam. There are essentially four forms of insulation: foam-in-place, rolls and batts, loose-fill and rigid foam.

  1. Foam-in-place insulation is spray foam made with polyurethane or latex that can conform to the space in which is it sprayed using a foam sealant insulation kit or spray foam kit, making perfect for small areas. There are two types of foam-in-place insulation, closed-cell and open-cell. Open-cell spray is used on the interior, while closed-cell spray can be used for exterior and interior applications.
    • Air conditioning and heating cost can be reduced by up to 60% with spray foam insulations.
  2. Insulation rolls and batts are great for lining the ceiling space and are made of fiberglass or rock wool. Most commonly, insulation rolls can be easily rolled out between ceiling joints. Insulation batts are best installed between framing — along the walls of rooms/offices, attics, ceilings spaces and floors.
    • To install on walls or inverted surfaces, contractors can use staple guns with 1/4″, 5/16″ or 3/8″ staples to hold the insulation batts in place. Insulation rolls can be used along walls and held in place using a staple gun. When using staple guns, it is recommended that safety glasses be worn.
  3. Loose-fill insulation is usually made of fiberglass or cellulose and is blown or sprayed into place with a — creating complete coverage, even in odd shaped spaces and wall cavities.
    • Loose-fill insulation is a good option for use in older buildings with no insulation or to replace old insulation, because you can create little holes in the walls to shoot it into the walls with a blower and little wall repair in the end.
  4. Rigid foam insulation is a polystyrene and polyurethane foam board that can be used to insulate any area of a house or building. Staple guns can be used to hold rigid boards in place, using a staple gun and 1/2 in. staples, as well as angle brackets.
    • Again, safety glasses be worn while working with staple guns.

    Sealants

    Sealants can be used to fill in small spaces to help prevent cooled or heated air from escaping the building.

    1. Foam sealant is an expandable sealant that can be used to close various size holes and cracks, using gun spray foam sealants.
    2. Caulk is a malleable sealant that can be used to eliminate leaks in all gaps and cracks smaller than 1/4 inch wide that exist between stationary building components and materials.

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