I have been continuing my Building Science education by attending “Building Performance” training offered through the California Building Performance Contractor’s Association (CBPCA) recently.
During my training the CBPCA documents what a terrible job the construction industry does in building/remodeling homes, with detailed Building Performance test data obtained through “real world” testing of actual homes. When they started listing the “actual” energy performance (or lack there of) of these homes, I quickly assumed they were just the typical poor quality tract homes built by the “lowest bidder” from each trade, with little-to-no quality control for large builders.
I could not have been more shocked, when the CBPCA instructor reveled that the majority of the homes tested were “Energy Star”, “LEED” or built under one of the other “Green Built” standards, as these homes are suppose to be our “Best Efforts in Quality Construction and Energy Efficiency”… Most people assume these homes are very energy efficient, but actual Performance Information gathered through testing and review of the homes actual energy bill’s, consistently prove that our best-built homes fall far short of the general populations perceptions.
Most people assume that homes constructed today are built correctly, because they are all “Inspected” by County/City Building Inspectors, and while they are inspected for structural, electrical and plumbing issues, no one is inspecting the Air Sealing, Thermal Bypass, Insulation and Heating & Cooling sizing and duct distribution systems that are absoutly critical to a house that is both comfortable and affordable to actually live in!
It is almost impossible to correctly air-seal, eliminate all the thermal bypass areas and create the correct Thermal Barrier in today’s homes without the use of Spray Foam Insulation. Spray Foam is the only product that is both an Air-Seal and Thermal Insulation in one product. It also completely seals the thermal bypass areas with ease and it’s common knowledge in Building Performance circles that getting the air-seal correct on a home, is the single largest improvement in energy efficiency that can be made.
Some people claim that Spray Foam Insulation costs more compared to traditional insulation and while that may be true if you only look at the initial cost per square foot, if you look at the actual cost for “Correctly Installed” insulation and air sealing, it’s the least expensive option to choose, based on first cost alone. Plus they benefit by saving money during construction by installing 30-40% smaller Heating and Cooling systems, without the loss of indoor comfort, not to mention that the homeowner will have a lifetime of significantly lower Monthly Energy Costs.
The Post following this one documents “real world” savings when spray foam is properly installed and a complete air-seal is applied like we always do at Spray Foam Energy Solutions.