According to the U.S Department of Energy (DOE), the typical household spends up to $1,500 per year on energy bills and 44 percent of the bill goes to heating and cooling costs. Insulation saves money, increases home comfort and protects the environment by reducing energy use. According to the U.S Green Building Council (USCBC), building accounts for 71 percent of the total US electricity consumption, contributing towards 39 percent of the total US energy consumption and is responsible for 39 percent of CO2 emissions.
I found that there were two factors in improving Mr. Sell’s insulation system while maintaining the house originality and architectural integrity of the house, which are: installation and materials. The two aspects of renovation are based on Mr. Sell’s concern on cost-effectiveness, environmental friendliness and architectural integrity.
There are three particular materials that can be used for insulation: loose-fill cotton, foam and fiberglass. The options differ in cost and environmental friendliness, but they do not affect the architectural integrity. All of the materials are measured by their R-values, which refer to the insulation’s resistance to heat flow. The higher the R-value, the greater the insulating power.
According to a report made by Consumer Research, “Loose-fill insulation is usually made of cellulose (recycled paper) or fiberglass. A general estimate of its cost per square foot per R-value is $0.015 to $0.02 for cellulose and $0.01 to $0.015 for fiberglass. Loose-fill is typically used in wall cavities and attics.” According to its R-value, loose-fill cotton can be considered as one of the most cost-efficient materials for insulation. Downcycling is a term used to refer to turning waste products back into a new lower-grade form of the same material.
According to The Building Green Guide to Insulation Products and Practices book, “Fiberglass is the most common material used in North America. It is made out of silica sand with various additives, including boron. It contains high percentage of recycled glass. The recycled content can be pre-consumer cullet from float-glass manufacture or post-consumer glass collected through bottle recycling programs.” Its R-value ranges between 4.0 and 4.5 per inch. Fiberglass insulation save energy over time and certainly is an environmentally friendly material that is made with an average of 35 percent recycled glass. The cost of fiberglass is about $0.80 to $1.00 per square foot.
Foam-in-place insulation materials are sprayed or injected into a framing cavity, such as a wall cavity, or sprayed onto a surface such as the underside of roof sheathing. The material itself must go through several processes before can be sprayed to create insulating cellular foam. Foam insulation is a weak material to be used for insulation. Its R-value ranges from R-6.0 to about R-6.8. A 3.5 inch thick open cell polyurethane spray foam (R-value 12.6) costs $1.70 to $2.50