In this day and age, energy efficiency seems to be all the rage.
Home and property owners, in general, are constantly getting bombarded with marketing initiatives aimed at getting them to do “something” related to improving the energy efficiency of their property.
Whether it is changing out light bulbs, replacing doors & windows, installing insulation where it had not been before, etc., there are quite a number of methodologies that have been come up with to help improve energy efficiency.
It seems that as time goes by, more and more “green”-oriented technologies are invented that boost energy efficiency platforms to even greater focal points.
Insulation is just one piece of this whole segment of the industry and one that should be thought about very carefully before it is done.
In new construction, I believe it is pretty much a no-brainer. Buildings these days are designed to be fully optimized with regard to maximizing energy efficiency and I certainly do not see issues here.
Where I do like to play devil’s advocate, however, is with older homes & buildings and people I come into contact with who are debating whether or not they should insulate them.
The older the building, the stronger I feel that perhaps the case can be made that maybe they should not have new insulation installed.
This is ABSOLUTELY contradictory to where almost everybody else in the industry’s mindset is today.
Until the last several decades, older properties were not built with the idea that insulation would be part of their construction mix.
They naturally allowed air & moisture to be ventilated out of them due to the fact that they were so poorly insulated.
Although this obviously was not good for energy bills and the like, buildings were allowed to “breathe” much more easier than what they may become like as they are “tightened-up” – i.e. as new windows & doors are installed, etc.
Insulation, although great for keeping heating & cooling costs down, when installed on older properties, makes moisture more challenging to get from the interior to the exterior. This, in turn, may lead to potential problems with exterior paint coating longevity that previously did not exist.
The innards of the framing now “sweat” in ways they had not before and with an increased moisture presence, does this lead to mold growth?
As a side note, insulation should NEVER be blown into walls with old knob & tube wiring, this is a tremendous fire hazard.
I am definitely NOT saying to stay away from insulating older buildings, I am simply suggesting to be cognizant of all the by-product variables of insulating properties that did not have today’s types of insulation in the plans for when they were first built (even if for no other reason, than it simply did not exist as we know it today).
The older the property, the more serious the thought that should go into whether or not the building should actually be insulated should the subject come up.
This is all certainly my opinion, but as one might imagine, it could definitely be the source of a serious debate when one hears some of the notions that are brought up in this piece