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What does insulation do? It maintains the living temperature you like best, of course! However, there’s more to it than that. What else does insulation accomplish? What are the passive design standards for insulation? And how does Clarum approach this? Allow us to give you a tour.
Insulation regulates temperature by preventing thermal bridging and unwanted air flow. Thermal bridging is when heat passes through solid objects, leaking in or out of your house. With a strong thermal resistance (R-value), insulation slows down the loss of heat.
It also prevents drafts. Most houses have many air leaks in the walls, roof and floor, freely carrying heat in and out. Insulation blocks those gaps. In addition, it:
The US Department of Energy makes R-value recommendations for conventional insulation, depending on its location and use. Passive House design requirements, however, define a much higher bar.
The video below introduces the principles of the passive approach, describes its intensive standards, demonstrates different kinds of insulation used, and discusses best-practice application.
At Clarum, we specialize in high-performance homes that meet and exceed passive standards. Our approach to insulation:
It starts below the floor. We install a 14-inch layer of expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam under the concrete slab.
In the walls and roof, we use I-joists, twelve- and 16-inches thick, creating deep cavities filled with blown-in fiberglass insulation. (By blowing the material in, we ensure that no corner is left empty.) The walls themselves are 10 inches thick.
We then install extra-thick doors and triple-paned, argon-filled windows, providing insulation where it’s most needed. Doors and windows are common culprits for heat loss in conventional homes.
Finally, we encase the building itself in an insulative, airtight shell, wrapping the walls and foundation in four to six inches of EPS. We meticulously seal doors, windows and wall joints to prevent air infiltration. We also route all utilities and ducts from deep beneath the slab, for the same reason, and confine all wired electrical connections to floors and interior walls.
We call it “super-insulation.” We feel the approach lives up to its name.
In any case, insulation goes well beyond “warm or cold.” It creates a quiet, consistent coziness, conserves energy and protects your pocketbook at the same time. The way we see it, insulation is where quality of life, cost-savings and environmental responsibility intersect.
Ready to build a high-performance home? Call us at 650.322.7069.