Pros & Cons of Continuous Insulation

As with all energy savings approaches, there are advantages and disadvantages to installing CI, some of which can be easily measured.

ADVANTAGES 

 Energy Cost Savings  it’s able to sustain temperatures better inside your home and keep heat or cool air from creeping in. The result is less energy use and a lower energy bill.

 Compatibility With Other Systems In addition to complementing other energy improvements, such as air sealing and high-  drainable rainscreen systems, which include furring strips that hold insulation in place and provide a drainage plane.

 More Available Area To Insulate The amount of batt insulation you can install is limited by the depth of the wall. You would also need to tear down either the interior drywall or the exterior wall sheathing (plywood or gypsum) in order to access the wall cavity to add more batt insulation. CI can be face-applied to the entire exterior sheathing.

 Higher R value per inch CI can provide up to R-6 per inch 


 Reduced carbon footprint This is particularly true when gas is used as a heat source.

 Reduced sound transmission Due to CI’s thickness, it provides additional absorption and separation from exterior noises

 Reduced drafts and cold spots Due to the continuou in

Due to the continuous layerayer o insulation, CI acts as more off a “bl of a “blanket”ket” off ins of insulation than batt does.

nsulation io does. r off DISADVANTAGES

 Cost Materials used for continuous insulation often have a higher price than those generally associated with 

 Complexity

CI typically requires that siding is installed with longer fasteners to accommodate the thickness of insulation, pushing the cladding (siding etc.) farther from the house’s fram frame. This means a more robust fastening system needs to be builtuilt he c ddin

e. Th  Footpr

Footprint S

ca means amor obus

fastening sy em ne ds to b to ensu to ensure the cladding is secure.


Since CI thickens exterior walls,alls, it can increase a building’s fo

thick ns exterior in

eas ootprin uiilding’

footprint, reducing yard space and po at

ro er es

ducing yard space posing a challenllenge at property l liines.

continuous insulation also provides 6 to 7 years faster payback than two inches for both buildings. Although the payback period appears long, the SIR for all models are above 1.0—with some above 2.0—because of the long, 

We also created another set of models to see what impact the initial level of insulation has on payback and SIR. Payback is shorter and SIR is higher for the same amount of added CI if the existing walls are less insulated. For instance, if the existing walls have R11 instead of R12 batt insulation, payback

 two inches of continuous insulation.


These case studies suggest that continuous insulation can be a viable investment in a condominium building if it is part of a long-term energy reduction strategy. Although  it can last through multiple cladding life cycles when properly installed and protected, and provide cost savings for the life of the building. Keep in mind that these case studies

  local energy rates. Different building  and energy rates will change the payback and SIR calculations. Also, increased insulation should always be considered in relation to other energy improvements (HVAC upgrades, thermal improvements to windows, etc.) in a comprehensive energy upgrade package. Building envelope and building energy consultants can perform these analyses and   29

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