The following pictures illustrate a sample of how building a home is a science and there are good ways to build homes, then there are BETTER ways.  This photo blog is a focus on the insulation in your walls and how R-value cannot be just about looking at the R-value insulation inside the wall cavity but rather at the R-value of the “system”.

First, some technical information…

Thermal Conduction in Buildings
     Thermal conduction is the diffusion of internal heat within a static body as a result of a temperature difference across it. Heat will tend to diffuse from higher temperature parts of a body to lower temperature parts. This is particularly important in buildings where there may be a temperature difference between the inside and outside, for example, in a heated building during the winter, or in a cooled building during the summer. Conduction is one of the main potential heat transfer mechanisms by which the internal heating or cooling can be lost to the outside, resulting in high operating costs, high carbon emissions and occupant discomfort.

Let’s move on to some visuals for better understanding…

How Heritage Homes Insulates Walls
     
     Once a house is framed and mechanical components (electrical, plumbing and HVAC) are installed, whether on-site construction or in our factory, the home is ready for insulation.  We use fiberglass batt insulation at Heritage Homes.  Onsite, they have the ability to use spray foam, blow-in cellulose or fiberglass, or batt insulation (made of different types of material).  If you have 2X4 walls you will have either an R-13 or R-15 insulation value in your wall cavity, regardless of the material type.  With 2X6 walls, you will have either R-19 or R-21 walls.
     On the exterior side of the wall studs, a wall sheeting product is generally applied.  At Heritage Homes, we use 7/16” OSB.  On-site, typically, after the wall sheeting is applied a house wrap is applied over the sheeting to act as a vapor and moisture barrier.  Siding is then applied over the house wrap.
     At Heritage Homes, we add a ¾” foil faced foam board directly over top of the 7/16” OSB.  This foam board adds an R-5 value over the entire wall.  This is important because it adds R-value directly over the studs.  We then tape all the seams, and that creates our vapor and moisture barrier.  The installation of the foam board siding, in simple terms, is like putting a koozie on your favorite beverage.
Our siding is applied over the ¾” foil faced foam board insulation.

So what does this all mean?
     We design and build you a well insulated home.  We work hard to keep you warm in the winter and cool in the summer.  We verify this at the end of your home building experience by having a third-party energy auditor perform an audit on each and every home.  The auditor runs an analysis and provides documentation on how you can expect your home to perform.  

But a simple drive around a neighborhood can provide you the visual difference on how homes perform. 

This home was built by a very reputable home builder.  This picture was taken on a cold, frosty morning (look at the shingles).  Look carefully around the front double window; you can see vertical lines on the siding, the lines are the studs in the exterior wall.  The warm inside of the home is warming those studs and it’s conducting its heat to the exterior of the home.  They are losing energy to the exterior of their home regardless of how well insulated the wall cavities were.  This is thermal conduction. 
This is a home that Heritage Homes built, and it is right next to the home experiencing thermal conduction.  The pictures were taken a minute apart.  Our home has no vertical lines on it.  It is not conducting the heat from the interior of the home to the exterior.  The foil faced foam board insulation, the koozie, has insulated the studs and is keeping the heat from escaping their home.
When comparing homes, R-value is an important question to ask, but ask about the whole insulation system, it makes a difference.
Here are some additional pictures taken the same morning around town…