When it comes to building materials, wall insulation is one of the best investments in energy savings. The generous government subsidies for building insulation, however, can create a moral hazard. A cottage industry in poorly qualified installers has emerged. Your financial risk is lowered but the risk of faulty installation increases if you do not perform the proper checks on insulation contractors.
How can you avoid slap-and-dash insulation installers? By conducting a green audit of insulation materials and contractors, you can confidently have wall insulation with high energy efficiency and savings installed by qualified installers.
1. Conduct an Energy Audit
Hoards of homeowners are complaining about poorly installed, substandard quality installation. The cavity between the inner and outer walls where the insulation should be snugly placed has huge voids and/or is full of debris, according to many complaints. Unfortunately, these homeowners are not benefitting from the energy savings intended through home installation.
Oftentimes the insulation is not the best fit. You would not have a knee operation done without first having an X-ray to pinpoint the exact problem. Similarly, an energy audit can help you identify insulation problems and where and why your home is not energy efficient. A HERS energy audit will use special equipment to see through your walls such as thermal, acoustic, and leakage diagnostic testing.
If a structural wall problem exists, improper wall insulation may not fix but exacerbate the problems. Structural wall problems are commonly produced by improper insulation leading to water issues, thermal expansion, and more.
2. Use a Green Certified Wall Insulation Installer
Various types of green building certifications exist. Check to see if your building is LEED-certified. LEED builders must meet rigorous sustainable building and energy efficiency material standards. When choosing the contractor, certified EnergyStar insulation installers are rated on installing energy-efficient insulation. A qualified installation installer specializes in:
- wall insulation (not just roofing or painting)
- the insulation material being installed
- the type of building (e.g., industrial, commercial, residential)
3. Choose Energy Star Insulation Materials
Insulation materials are put through rigorous tests to ensure they meet high energy efficiency standards. Research the type of insulation material that will provide the best thermal protection (R-value) and thickness for the intended space. If you do not do your research in advance, you could be sold the material your installer specializes in or has an abundance of.
You can learn more about the process by contacting wall insulation contractors.