Portland Insulation: Quality—Not Quantity
Proper insulation is one of the best ways to conserve energy and make it easier to manage the temperature of your home. At face value, it seems only natural to think that more insulation is better and will help save you money in the long run. However, unfortunately—or fortunately, if you heed our advice—there’s a breaking point, and you may end up paying more and seeing insignificant improvement on your utility bills. To help explain why, here are some of the nuances of Portland insulation from Green Energy Solutions, Inc.
The Facts About Portland Insulation
Portland insulation comes in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and materials. But they all have one thing in common: R-value. Put simply, R-value is the amount of resistance to heat flow the insulation can provide. Insulation slows the heat leaving your home during winter months and resists heat from outside during the summers. So more resistance should be better, right?
Generally speaking, current new residential code in Oregon is an R38 in the attic, R21 at the exterior walls, and R30 in the floor. Again, those are the base new residential construction standards in Oregon. It just so happens that these levels are adequate for a comfortable and efficient home.
At some point, however, you’ll reach a point of diminishing returns on the amount of heat loss that can occur through your Portland insulation. For example (and this is a hypothetical and intentionally plain situation), an R49 in your attic can effectively stop all of the heat trying the escape through your ceiling. In all you need is that R49 to stop the transfer, upgrading to an R60 isn’t an upgrade at all.
Insulation and Air Sealing
What’s important to keep in mind when you’re thinking of your insulation is air sealing. Insulation is only able to be effective at stopping the flow of heat if that is trying to flow through the Portland insulation. In your home, though, there are several little air gaps—they’re actually important for the health of your home, to an extent. Every home has a building airflow standard that describes the most efficient and healthy level of leakage or air flow based on size and number of occupants or bedrooms.
In a nut shell, we want your house to be a little bit drafty because that provides you with fresh air to breath and fights the mold, water, and carbon-monoxide issues that can plague tight houses. Here’s the key: air sealing helps ensure that the air leakage your home does have ends up going through the Portland insulation, which will resist the transfer of heat.
So rather than focusing on the amount of Portland insulation you have in your attic, it’s important to think of the quality of the installation. Making sure that air will be directed correctly is the only way to make sure that your energy efficiency is as high as it could be.