Insulation can improve a home’s energy efficiency, but the efficacy of insulation is dependant on how it’s installed. Insulation products can only perform optimally if they are installed perfectly. Batt insulation, for example, will only achieve its R-value when it isn’t compressed. This occurs most often in roof assemblies where conventional trusses meet the exterior …
Knowing the climate zone your residential build will take place in will influence many of the decisions you will make as to construction methods and building materials. As energy conservation becomes a growing concern, building to your climate zone is an excellent way to ensure that you are providing your clients with the best options. Keep in mind that building and energy codes are the minimum standard.
Knowing what R-value and U-values mean is key to following energy issues and to selecting products that best suit the climate zone you are building in. R-value is essentially a product’s resistance to heat flow. Adversely, U-value measures the rate of heat transfer. This means that products with a lower U-value will be more energy efficient. It is tempting to think that these two values are direct opposites of each other, but there are some important differences to note.
Knowing your climate zone and building accordingly is one of the basic tenants of building science. Moisture, extreme temperatures and inclement weather require completely different building techniques to ensure longevity and efficiency. When you know your building climate zone you can select techniques and materials that are safe, cost effective, and efficient to install and provide an energy efficient building envelope.
In an increasingly competitive market, most contractors are working to the slimmest profit margins. One way to improve your profit margins is to reduce the cost of each build. When you run a tight ship, your processes are streamlined and you offer a better, faster service with an organized, experienced crew. Many of the costs associated with a build are beyond your control; materials, land and labor all come at a price which the market dictates so your focus should be on the direct construction costs.
If your residential build occurs in building science climate zones one, two or even three, you may want to reconsider placing the ductwork for your air conditioning units in the attic, even if the attic is ventilated. Studies show you could be adding 15% or more to your energy bill with poor ductwork placement.
Energy costs that go to conditioning the air in a home add up to about half of its overall energy consumption. Improving the competence of the building envelope and using insulation with R-values that exceed those stipulated by the local building code will help to reduce the homeowner’s energy consumption.