Sprayed, Blown, or Batts of Insulation: Which is the better choice for building insulation?

And of these choices, which R value is best? Fiber material if wet or if penetrated by air flow will have a completely different efficiency rating. Other factors such as age, depth, and density also impact the performance. Spayed foam can cause issues if not applied correctly. To look at the entire envelope’s insulation and give it a singular unit of rating is unscientific and simply wrong. Every structure will have conditions and dimensions that will impact this singular value. Thermal Dynamics are the same whether in cold or hot climates, but for the purposes of this article, we are discussing a hot and moist climate such as we have in Central Florida.

So what is the best method of insulation? We will focus on the three pathways for heat transfer: Conduction, Convection, Radiation

Conduction. First, a well-Sealed envelope with minimal thermal bridges. Thermal boundaries, bypasses and bridges are methods that heat can be conducted through materials from one room to another, from attic to dwelling, from outside to inside. Conversely, poor envelope seals account for the majority of escaped conditioned air from inside a building into the environment. All thermal bridges should be identified and cut off. Air conditioning duct work should be sealed and insulated. Windows and doors should be weather stripped and sealed as well.

Convection. Second, a well ventilated attic space. The building needs to be breath. It needs to transfer hot air through vents and replace with cooler air from soffit. This is the standard engineering design of almost all homes in Florida. Air comes in from outside at the edge of the roof via soffit vents and exits through the top of the roof via ridge or placement vents. This creates a steady heat exchange and also helps reduce moisture.

Conduction and Convection. Third, insulation between the attic and interior of the building. This is where mistakes often happen. If you miss or skip part 1, you end up with air flow through your insulation breaking that barrier down. Also, if you block the ventilation with insulation, you reduce the R value of the insulation AND slow/stop the ventilation process which also introduces moisture into that insulation barrier. You only want to stop the conduction of heat, not the convection or heat exchange that is required in the attic space.

Radiation. Finally, Radiant Barriers and reflective coatings or materials can help prevent radiant heat from entering your building.

So how does Wave Energy address efficiency upgrades?

  • We start with an inspection using thermal equipment and measurement devices to determine current envelope and to find any problem area thermal bridges

  • We seal thermal bypasses and insulate thermal bridges and air ducts

  • We apply high efficiency insulation and clear ventilation as required

  • We create additional ventilation channels as required

  • We apply radiant barriers to either the outside (thermal coatings) or inside the roof space.

Everything we do is based on a financial analysis and an envelope survey to determine what upgrades and modifications are going to give you the largest cash flow return on your investment and the most instant equity on your property. Give us a call for a free energy assessment.

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