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Building Basics
Types of Insulation


As part of the whole-house systems approach, the building envelope needs to be air-sealed. Consider where the insulation is needed, the interaction between the insulation and other building components, and the need for moisture control. Builders need to know where to insulate and the recommended R-values for each area.


A properly insulated home not only reduces heating and cooling costs but also improves comfort. In most cases, a new home will save money and energy if you install a combination of cavity insulation and insulated sheathing.


Insulation materials range from bulky fiber materials like fiberglass, rockwool, cellulose, and natural fibers to rigid foam boards to sleek foils. Other less common materials include cementitious and phenolic foams and perlite.

The most common insulation materials work by slowing conductive heat flow and convective heat flow. Radiant barriers and reflective insulation systems work by reducing radiant heat gain; to work properly, the reflective surface must be in contact with an air space.

Insulation performance is very dependent on the quality of installation, so find a team of local building professionals familiar with energy-efficient home construction.