What Insulation Should I Use when Insulating My Home in Brooklyn, New York?
If the winter was bitterly cold and the heat cost were unspeakably high, then you certainly need to think about insulation for your home.
General information on insulation - what needs to be considered?
If it is formulated as simply as possible, then insulation serves ultimately to prevent or slow down heat exchange between two areas. Ideally, the heat stays in the house and the cold outside or vice versa for the summer months when you want to keep to cold air inside and heat outside. Many building materials can be a source of insulation, but only a few do this effectively. Even a simple stone wall holds heat to a certain extent in the walls. However, if considerable savings are to be made in terms of heating costs, there is no way around special insulation materials. But it does not always have to be "packed" within the whole house to save money. It is often enough to simply insulate the top floor, which will considerably reduce fuel consumption.
What insulation is right for your home?
The question is not only what insulation is the right one but also where it should be installed. Depending on the facade area and building size, the benefits of individual measures can sometimes vary. Particularly expensive methods, such as barrier insulation or heat insulation composite systems, are especially worthwhile if the roof or facade is to be modernized in any case.
If you wish to insulate your attic space an R30 or R38 glasswool with Owens Corning is always a great option and will yield great results immediately. After you have installed the insulation the effects of it will show that very day with a delayed time in which your heating system will come on or the need for air conditioning.
If you are insulating your walls I personally would go for Roxul Comfortbatt or similar mineral wool insulation as it is non combustible and again I would go for a high R-value here with R23 or R30 in the walls. By installing the Roxul Comfortbatt into your walls (if they are timber frame) this will prevent the risk of fire spread or your timber frame walls becoming fuel in a fire. Even fire treated timber will eventually burn if the fire gets aggressive enough and by installing the Roxul Comfortbatt into the walls it will increase the fire rating of the wall greatly.
For floors especially concrete floors I would without thought go for Hunter XCI Foil or R-Max Polyiso. These rigid board insulation's have extremely high R-values for their thickness and you can pour your concrete directly over the insulation. All you need to do is put a visqueen layer over the insulation to protect the foil from the concrete chemicals.
Which sustainable insulation materials should be chosen?
Although synthetic insulation materials are generally cheaper, the right insulation material is available for every taste. If you would like to have something more sustainable, you can use ecological insulation materials such as hemp or sheepwool. There are many different options out there for a more sustainable approach to the environment and Insulation4US is always looking for new distribution partners that specialise in sustainable insulation.
What insulation for different houses in old buildings and new buildings?
In the case of new buildings, the entire building must be erected in accordance with the energy requirements. A combination of sensible insulation is therefore available in all areas. There are various different types of insulation materials available in the market such as Kraft faced insulation, Rigid Board Insulation, Roxul Comfortbatt, Hunter Insulation, Rmax Insulation, Spray Foam Insulation, Glasswool Insulation like Owens Corning etc - you will need to install after taking help from a professional and after establishing which insulation is best for your project.
The main areas of concern for new builds are;
Crawl Space and floor insulation: Use Rigid Insulation here
Walls: Use Glasswool, Rockwool (Roxul) or Rigid Insulation
Attic Space: Use Rockwool or Glasswool here. Brands like Owens Corning Unfaced or Roxul are perfect for this application
Roof Pitch: If your attic space will be a livable space then you will need to insulate the rafters: Use Cathedral Glasswool here or Rigid Board Insulation or Roxul Comfortbatt Insulation. All will produce a great result. For best results use Hunter XCI Foil or R-Max Thermasheath 3.
Does insulation increase the fire risk?
Facade insulation is described by critics as "fire hazardous" because of annual building fires, a total of 0.1 percent can be attributed to a facade fire. This ratio is by no means at the expense of the facade insulation and does not take into account the fact that the fires were not caused by the insulation at all. However a most recent apartment block in The Greenfell Tower, London has shown that Facades constructed from insulation materials if not compartmentalized correctly will contribut to the spread of a fire and in some cases add fuel due to the difficulty to directly deal with a fire within a cavity. Even the Class 0 Fire Rated Board that was used went up in flames due to such intense heat. In my opinion the best fire stopping product is Rockwool / Roxul type products when it comes to compartmentalization. So care should be taken with specifiers when deciding what facades to use on the exterior of a building and correct fire stopping implemented to slow or stop the spread of flames within difficult to reach cavities for fire fighters.
The fact that there are many other alternative insulation materials for facade insulation, residential and commercial buildings with classical thermal insulation systems is unfortunately very rarely discussed. So if you just do a little researching on the internet you will find many different options that may suit your building better or your appetite to be nicer to the environment with a more sustainable approach.