Green homes, especially where the climate is outside of human comfort zones, depend on proper insulation.
Fiberglass insulation is a key component to the green home. This barrier, in the winter, keeps the heat creeping through the walls to a slow crawl. In the summer, the insulation does the same thing, only keeping the heat from outside from creeping into your home. Proper insulation contributes to the green home because it reduces energy waste. True, Northeastern US winters require heating systems, and Florida homes might require air conditioning systems, which means an expenditure of energy and money. If the insulation isn’t installed properly, that’s practically money, and emissions, flying right through the walls.
Fiberglass insulation comes in different grades, depending on how much insulating power you want and can afford, and a green home needs to have the best insulation that you can manage. At the same time, however, insulation must absolutely be installed properly if it is going to work properly. Proper installation is a two-part process. First, the walls, ceilings, and utility installations must be properly designed to allow for proper insulation installation. Second, the insulation installer needs to use proper practices and methods. As it turns out, neither of these things is happening.
For example, a proper installation of insulation in a green home requires that it be flush with all surfaces it touches, but not be folded, compressed, or overlapped. Part of the problem is the installers, including the insulation, electrical, plumbing, and air duct installers. On the other hand, they sometimes have no choice, due to poorly designed systems. According to a recent audit of 58 fiberglass insulation installations, conducted by the New Zealand Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority, every single installation was defective in some way.
As the rule goes, pay now or pay later and forever. If you are paying for a green home, then you’d better pay for a good architect and good installers. Otherwise, you’ll pay for it later in increased utility bills and a larger carbon footprint.
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