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INSULATION Powered By Docstoc
                                                                                                                          Anthony Hoac
                                                                      Residential Insulation
                                                                                               A Comparative Assessment
                                                                                                                          Sandy Do

                                                                                                                          Linda Dix-Cooper
                                                                                                                          David Leung
• Insulation is used to control temperature and sound in buildings

• Three main types of insulation:

           cellulose      fiberglass      spray foam

• All insulation products installed in U.S. buildings save consumers:
   • 12 quadrillion Btu annually
   • 42 % of energy that would have been consumed with no
       insulation in place.
Insulation Types
             Quick Facts
• Grown since the Victorian age
• Developed to insulate floors, walls, and roofs
• Made mandatory during war


• Properly insulated can save homeowner
                    • Ratio of the temperature difference
                      and the heat flux in m2*K/W
                    • In theory, doubling the thickness of
                      the insulation doubles the R value,
                      but not always the case
Aerogel with very
   high R-30        • Determine insulation’s heat loss
                      retardation under test conditions
            R Value Calculator (Berkeley)
                                Wood-Framed Building
Insulation Location      R-Value*   Notes
Attic                        38.0                                 -
Cathedral ceiling            30.0                                 -
Wall cavity                  13.0                                 -
                                    This recommendation assumes that a 2x6 wall can be built
OVE wall cavity              21.0 for the same cost as a 2x4 wall

Concrete or masonry                 Preferred position of insulation on a massive wall is on the
                              11.7 exterior side.
Floor                        13.0 Over unheated, uninsulated space.
Slab edge                      4.0 Extend the insulation 2 feet below ground level.
                                    Crawl space walls are only insulated if the crawl space is
Crawl space wall             13.0 unvented and the floor above the crawl space is uninsulated.
                                   Exterior insulation on a below-grade wall is used only if you
Basement wall exterior         5.0 choose not to insulate the interior side of your basement
          Our Comparison Criteria
•   Cost - per square foot in Berkeley
•   R Value - thermal efficiency
•   Noise - barrier efficiency
•   Health – short and long term effects
•   Environmental impacts
•   Flammability
•   Ease of installation
•   Resilience – longevity of life w/ water damage
                                                                             Fiberglass: Batt/Roll
                                                                                     • Two types:

                                                                                     • Batts or Rolls
                                                                                     • Easy Installation
                                                                                       – Do it yourself
                                                                                     • Small strands of glass
                                                                                     • Most common insulation
R-Value             2.9-3.8
                    m2-K/W per inch

Sound Transmission 40 (Bare Wall is 36)
Coefficient (STC)

Cost (2009)         $0.27 per ft2 (3.5
                    inch thickness, R13)
                                                                                • 15% of Insulation Market

                                                                                • Heavily Recycled (85%),
                                                                                  made of old newspapers,
                                                                                  telephone directories,
                                                                                  borates, and ammonium
                                                                                • Lowest embodied energy
                                                                                  based on LCA studied of
                                                                                  any insulation (3.3

                                                                             • Dry blow-in or
                                                                               moist installation
                                                                             • Can be rented for
                                                                               use at home or
R-Value             3.6-4 m2-K/W per

Sound Transmission 44 (Bare Wall is 36)
Coefficient (STC)

Cost (2009)         $0.84 per ft2 (3.5
                    inch thickness, R13)
        Polyurethane Spray Foam
• Types:
  – Open cell: 0.4-0.75lb/cu ft
  – Closed cell: 1.7-2 lb/cu ft
  – Roofing: 2.8-3.0 lb/cu ft
• Forms to walls, floors,
  and roofs as a tight seal
• Strong                

• Requires skilled installer
          Polyurethane Spray Foam
R-Value             6.0-7.0
                    m2-K/W per inch

Sound               37
Coefficient (STC)
Cost (2009)         $1.25-$2.25 per   m.html

                    ft2 (2.2 inch
                    thickness, R13)
      Environmental Health Effects of Insulation:
• Insulation    residential energy use
    • $$$ saved can be used for healthcare

• Warm homes improve health by :
       mold growth (asthma)
       immune system defense

• Proper insulation improves ambient air quality by:
•    PM2.5 emissions from energy production plants
leading to:
       • 60 fewer fatalities
       • 2000 fewer asthma attacks
       • 30,000 fewer restricted activity days/10 yrs
                                                  (Reference: Niskioka, 2002)
Cellulose Insulation            Spray Foam Insulation                  Fiberglass Insulation
•   Alveolar proteinosis        • No human studies yet                 • Induces dermatitis (Farkas,
            (McDonald, 2000)                                           1983; Lee, 1992; Verbeck, ‘91)
                                • (ReprodToxin) Kidney tumors
                                in rats & benign testicular
                                tumors in mice (Turnbull, 1994)

                                • Made of isocyanates, ether,
    Mold & Pathogen growth
                                polyol, and flame retardants
            (Godish, 2006)
                                     • Immune response and
• Dust & Mold       ‘s asthma
                                     • Dermatitis (Baur, 2009)
attacks & allergic reactions
                                • Releases fluorocarbons                • Knowledge Gaps:
                                (CFCs) in landfills (Kjeldsen, 2003)         • What are the
                                     • Ozone depletion                       production and
                                                                             disposal practices?

                                                                              • How energy
• 15% borate (reprodtoxin)                                                    intensive are these
or ammonium sulfate flame                                                     processes and how
retardants by mass (Morgan,                                                   do they compare?
Environmental Health Ranking?
• Severity of Acute health effects:
    Fiberglass       Cellulose Spray Foam

                 >           >

• Severity of Long-term health effects:
    Spray foam Cellulose          Fiberglass
                 >            =
          Our Comparison Criteria
•   Cost - per sq. ft in Berkeley
•   Thermal – R value
•   Noise - barrier efficiency
•   Health – short and long term effects
•   Environmental impacts
•   Flammability
•   Ease of installation
•   Resilience – longevity of life w/ water damage
Our Star Rating
Conclusions & Future Directions
1. Insulations are fairly equal in performance when you
    ignore pricing.

2. Focus on installing it properly and selecting the right
   type for the job to ensure effective performance.

3. We need more Life Cycle Assessments on the
   environmental impacts.

4. The benefits that warmth
   bring outweigh any of the
   underlying risks.
•   Farkas, J. (1983). "Fibreglass dermatitis in employees of a project-office in a new building."
    Contact Dermatitis 9(1): 79.
•   Godish, T. J. and D. R. Godish (2006). "Mold infestation of wet spray-applied cellulose
    insulation." J Air Waste Manag Assoc 56(1): 90-5.
•   Kjeldsen, P. and C. Scheutz (2003). "Short- and long-term releases of fluorocarbons from
    disposal of polyurethane foam waste." Environ Sci Technol 37(21): 5071-9.
•   Lee, T. Y. and T. H. Lam (1992). "Occupational fibreglass dermatitis in Hong Kong." Contact
    Dermatitis 27(5): 341-3.
•   McDonald, J. W., F. Alvarez, et al. (2000). "Pulmonary alveolar proteinosis in association with
    household exposure to fibrous insulation material." Chest 117(6): 1813-7.
•   Morgan, D. L., Y. F. Su, et al. (2004). "Chemical and physical characteristics of cellulose
    insulation particulates, and evaluation of potential acute pulmonary toxicity." Am J Ind Med
    46(6): 554-69.
•   Nishioka, Y., J. I. Levy, et al. (2002). "Integrating risk assessment and life cycle assessment: a
    case study of insulation." Risk Anal 22(5): 1003-17.
•   Turnbull, D., R. J. Machado, et al. (1994). "Safety assessment of HCFC-141b: use as a blowing
    agent for insulation in building construction and refrigeration." Regul Toxicol Pharmacol
    19(3): 282-96.

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