Straw Bale in Green Building and Construction

Building a straw bale house.

Q: Is straw bale considered a green building material for houses? Does it meet the building code standards? Straw is a renewable & natural material that has many useful applications in basketry, crafts and the production of biomass power. However, one of indigenous and prevalent uses of straw is to build and insulate houses. Straw is commonly mistaken for hay and it is important to make a difference between the two. Straw is the byproduct of cereal grains (barley, oats, {Read More}

Pros and Cons of Fiberglass Insulation

Q: What are pros and cons of fiberglass insulation? Insulation saves energy. Adding insulation above the lowest requirements set by codes for the health and comfort of the occupants can help protect the environment, increase energy efficiency of your home and reduce carbon emissions. The thermal resistance of insulation is designated by R-value. The higher the R-value, the superior the insulating property. Fiberglass is probably the most widespread type of insulation known today. By composition it is a fiber-reinforced polymer. {Read More}

What are R-Values of Building Materials?

Q: What are R-values of building materials? Can R-values be added to get the total R-value? The R-value is an insulating property of a material, also referred to as the thermal resistance. Based on particular materials that manufacturers use, the R-values vary considerably. For R-values individual to your project always check manufacturer literature. R-Values can be added. R-final (or R-total) is calculated as the sum of the single components: R1 + R2 +… + RN = R-Final for example R5 {Read More}

What are R-Values of Polystyrene and Spray Foams?

Q: What are R-values of polystyrene and spray foams? R values of polystyrene usually range from 2.3 to 5.0 per inch and are based on its density. Loose-fill polystyrene (tiny pieces of foam or fiber) has a lower R-value, usually 2.3 per inch.  Foam board polystyrene (strong, firm insulation panels) has a higher R-value. Expanded polystyrene (EPS), for example, has an R-value of 4.0, while extruded polystyrene (XPS) has an R-value of 5.0. R-values per inch of spray foams are {Read More}

Boost Your Home’s Energy Efficiency: DIY Energy Audit Checklist

energy audit checklist

You do not have to be an energy audit professional to carry out a simple DIY home energy audit. With an attentive and planed assessment you can spot many problems that cause energy losses and make decisions about possible energy efficiency upgrades. During a home energy audit it is important to have a checklist of areas that were inspected as well as problems identified. Once the energy audit is completed, a plan for suggested actions needs to be developed. The {Read More}