One of the most important and most neglected components in our structures is the building envelope.  The term “building envelope” refers to the thermal boundary between conditioned space and unconditioned space.  This thermal boundary should contain insulation enclosed by, and in contact with, an interior and exterior air barrier.  In many buildings this proper thermal “sandwich” does not exist and the building envelope is incomplete.  How efficient can a building be, when the difference between inside and out is not defined?

There is much more to properly insulating a building than adding insulation.  Defining the thermal envelope and designing a continuous and contiguous thermal boundary requires training and experience.  Preventing air from entering the thermal boundary is as important as the insulation within it. 

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  1. The cause of “draftiness”.

  2. Dramatically reduces insulation’s stated R-value

  3. Can negatively effect indoor air quality

  4. Can contribute to moisture and mold problems

  1. Petroleum based 2 component product

  2. There are several types - (closed cell, open cell, hybrid and retrofit) each with specific applications

  3. Greatly reduces air infiltration

  4. High R-values per inch of material (closed cell)

  5. Good sound barrier

  6. Install quality is important

  1. Made of recycled wood pulp, paper or cotton that has been treated with a fire retardant

  2. Can be installed via wet spray or dense pack

  3. Reduces air infiltration

  4. Good sound barrier

  5. Air sealing is important before installation

  1. Cheapest insulation product

  2. Usually installed incorrectly

  3. Performance is heavily influenced by infiltration

  4. Air sealing is very important before installation