Insulation is intended to keep your building warm in the winter and cool in the summer. This is critical to the amount of energy you use.
Insulation is intended to keep your building warm in the winter and cool in the summer. This is critical to the amount of energy you use. Insulation slows heat transfer, and if you have low levels of insulation in your building your HVAC system has to work harder. This wastes energy and increases your energy bills unnecessarily.
Benefits of Better Insulation
Improving energy performance in your building is a key reason why you need good insulation. However, the benefits go beyond that and include:
- Lower operating costs
- Maintaining a comfortable temperature
- Reducing condensation and moisture
- Enhancing building durability
- Improving indoor air quality (when properly ventilated)
Know Your Options
Your contractor, supplier or architect can help you determine the most cost-effective and efficient level of insulation for your business, but there are a few key things to understand to have an informed discussion.
All insulation sold in Canada will display an R-Value right on the packaging. The R-Value tells you how effective the insulation is at reducing heat transfer - the higher the value the better. Most insulation is either:
- Fiberglass batt (works best in walls)
- Rigid board polystyrene (often seen on the exterior and interior of basements)
- Loose fill (typically used in attic spaces)
- Spray foam (can be used anywhere and creates an air tight seal)
The type of the insulation you choose and its R-Value will depend on the area you wish to insulate and sometimes there are structural issues that limit your options. For example, fiberglass batt insulation gets thicker with higher R-Values, so there could be limitations to how much you can place in a wall. Spray foam, on the other hand, is well suited to areas with complex framing where tight seals and adequate coverage could be challenging with other forms of insulation.
Sealing Air Leaks
Sealing air leaks is necessary to ensure your insulation is effective. Some signs that may indicate you have a lot of air leakage in your building are uneven heating or cooling between rooms, drafts or moisture and mold problems.
Sealing air leaks can be a "do-it-yourself" job, but it depends on the size and complexity of your building and the type of air leakage. You may be best served by having an experienced contractor assess your building and undertake the sealing work. However, it's important to note the goal of sealing air leaks is to reduce or eliminate "uncontrolled" ventilation and it's important your building also has a well performing HVAC system to bring in fresh air to your building.