We all know insulating our homes is important. But have you wondered what you are really buying and if it really works as well as it’s supposed to? And what are those “R” ratings all about? All mysteries and marketing in the building industry. So let’s jump into the “R” value and see what’s behind the curtain.
How Does Insulation Work?
Insulation works because the fiberglass or rock wool creates millions of pockets of air, which is a great insulator. Even so, R rated building materials will absorb heat much like a sponge. Heat “drips” through building materials like water through a sponge, moving from warm to cool. R materials (insulation here) only Retard or slow down the transfer of heat. It is physically impossible to stop it once absorbed.
The Insulation Scandal You Never Heard
The most used type of insulation is fiberglass batting. It comes with differing “R” values, but building codes often use R19. Fiberglass only has an “R19” value under certain conditions:
- when it is a full 6 inches (150mm) thick, not compacted in any way
- when there is “0” humidity in the air, as in the test conditions
- when it is 73°F (the test temperature)
- fiberglass must be fully protected from the atmospheric elements by a metal jacket during testing.
If insulation is exposed to different conditions the performance will decrease. Fiberglass or rock wool only works in a controlled lab, and never to its reported “R” value in the field.
When fiberglass or rock wool insulation is compacted in any way, this reduces the R effectiveness to the thickness it is. For instance, 6” of R rated material compacted into a standard wall unit of 3” reduces the R rating from R19 down to R9.5 immediately. This is before moisture (humidity) builds into the material. 1.5% moisture content in insulation further reduces the insulation’s effectiveness by another 35% to R6.1. You are getting 68% LESS of what you are paying for!
What Does an ”R Value” Actually Mean?
The “R” value is determined by an insulation’s capability to control heat “after the fact” – meaning that the initial surface facing the sun has absorbed the vast majority of the solar radiation heat load, and then evaluating the thick layer of insulation’s ability to control the transfer of heat, thus resulting in the appropriate “R” value.
Super Therm® – The Solution to Heat Transfer
This may sound a little trite, but if your home, business or property doesn’t get hot, there are no issues with heat transfer. Unrealistic you say? A little to Star Treckish? If you don’t believe me you may believe the US Department of Energy. Their ENEGY STAR program has a class of materials called Cool Roof Coatings. One of the best performers is called Super Therm®.
Super Therm® blocks 95%+ of the Initial Heat Load
Meaning that the initial surface facing the sun only absorbs 5% of the initial solar radiation (heat load), not 100% as in traditional insulating technologies. This 5% value represents substantially less heat transfer than that experienced by traditional insulations, which slows down but do not stop, the transfer of heat. That’s why it is also called a “thermal insulating barrier”. It prevents things from getting hot.
Super Therm® is like a thick ceramic paint-like coating. ENERGY STAR says the “EPA qualifies paint only as a roof coating in our Roofs program (generally for the top of a commercial building roof). Roof coatings are NOT insulation. They reflect solar heat off a roof rather than absorbing it, keeping the building cooler”.
Documented Results Using Super Therm
- German Mechanical Engineer in Construction Physics makes study of home coated with Super Therm® and finds 76% less energy usage from Super Therm as compared to fiberglass and rock wool.
- 2008 temperatures in Las Vegas average 110°F in July. Adobe homes were coated (roof and walls) with Super Therm® reported up to 50 – 60 % savings on the TOTAL utility bill. One house (1499sf) has a utility bill of $103 for the month of July with swimming pool, (5) f reezers and electronics running constantly. House maintains temperature not over 81°F without air conditioning.
- Clark County School District’s (Nevada) Engineering Study documents reduction in roof temperatures from 161°F down to 97.5°F (2°F over ambient air temperature) in Las Vegas. CCSD of Nevada 2nd largest school district in US.
- Florida department of Energy Specialist documents moisture block and air flow reduction as well as 30% savings in homes in Florida (hot and humid climates) and in Denver (dryclimate) as well as steel containers.
- Total house application cost is paid with energy savings in 2 – 4 years.
- Sony Corporation coats roof and walls of one monitored building with Super Therm® and finds 78% reduction in total energy consumption.
Super Therm® has been consistent in blocking heat LOAD in all weather conditions over many years. In 15 years of evaluation on sections of an old roof, Super Therm® only lost 8% of it’s heat blocking ability. There is no comparison between Super Therm® and traditional insulation.
Super Therm will
- Reduce your heating and cooling bill, permanently.
- Block mold, mildew and wood rot from forming.
- Keeps your home draft free and dry as a breathable wind and water barrier.
- Block flame spread as a Class “A” Fire Rating.
- Last 20+ years.
- Reduce fossil fuels needed to produce electricity.
- Balance the indoor temperature of your home.
- Increase your indoor comfort level.
- Non toxic, low VOC, environmentally friendly, ceramic based formula.
Let’s not forget that it more than makes up for the deficiencies of typical insulation. Since you now have a great way to further the value of your home and increase your comfort level, why not send a quick email for more information? Forewarned is forearmed they say.
By Tim Hoeffel, Better Painting, Colorado Springs, CO, 719.641.5043