Understanding Insulation R-Value

A well insulated home can save you money, and is an important consideration not to overlook. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) estimates that just under half (44%) of the energy used in the average American home goes towards heating and/or cooling. The good news is they also report a homeowner may be able to reduce their heating bill anywhere from 10% to 50% simply by increasing the amount of insulation installed in their homes. Properly insulating your home not only reduces heating and cooling costs, but also improves comfort.

Insulation is measured in R-value, a measure of thermal resistance or the resistance to heat flow, which is a way of indicating insulation’s ability to stop heat from moving through it. The higher the R-value, the greater the insulating power.

Heat moves in three ways: conduction, convection, or radiation. R-value addresses conduction: the transfer of heat through a material (your walls). Insulation is labeled by total R-value. Two factors determine that number: the thickness of the insulation and the insulating ability of the material. For example, fiberglass of the same thickness can differ in R-value because of their different densities.

Generally, walls have insulation rated at R-19, and the roof should be R-30 or R-40. However, you can kick that up a notch and shoot for the higher standards by the Passive House Institute US set at R-30 for walls and an R-60 for the roof. Proper insulation can reduce your heating and cooling costs by 30% and may be eligible to receive a federal tax credit.

Learn more about insulation R-value HERE.