One of my favorite resources for information is Green Building Advisor. If you’re interested only in making your own home as efficient as possible and want to learn only the basics, it probably isn’t for you.
If, however, you’re interested in learning more about insulation and air-sealing for any reason, GBA is the place to be.
Regardless which category you fit into, I consider this article a “must read” for anyone interested in making their home more comfortable.
Some quick snippets:
Stopping air leaks is just as importantâ€”maybe more importantâ€”than adding insulation. Unless builders prevent air from leaking through walls and ceilings, insulation alone won’t do much good. Not only are drafts uncomfortable, but air moving through insulated cavities can cut the efficiency of the insulation by as much as 50%.
Doubling the thickness of insulation will double the insulation’s R-value, cutting heat loss in half. Each time the insulation layer is doubled in thickness, this rule applies. The energy saved per year by doubling insulation from R-10 to R-20, however, will be considerably more than the energy saved by doubling insulation from R-20 to R-40, because of the law of diminishing returns.
This is why A-HEET, during the initial walk-thru of a home, looks at both air-sealing and insulation opportunities. We don’t do insulation (due to materials, tools and training necessary this is best left to pros) but we know that if your home is leaky, all the insulation in the world isn’t going to fix the problem. The two go hand in hand. We try to help directly with one and indirectly (with guidance) with the other.