10 Eco-friendly Home Construction Options for Any Budget


Insulation Basics

Batting, blown fill and rigid sheets of insulation provide energy-conscious homeowners with a number of benefits. These materials prevent the heat transfer that can occur through building materials such as wood, drywall and masonry. They can be installed to act as air dams, preventing airflow inside walls and energy-stealing drafts in attics and crawlspaces. And they provide some of the easiest DIY projects for improving the eco-friendliness of your home [source: U.S. Department of Energy].

Installing insulation can be as simple as unrolling fiberglass batting between rafters in your attic or studs in an unfinished garage wall. Covering blown fill with sheets of lighter insulation can be an effective way to insulate an overhead crawlspace. The use of a reflective barrier as an outer envelope against the inside of a wall or roof adds to the insulation's effectiveness without adding significant time and cost to the installation. More complex installations, like blowing cellulose fill into the space between studs of a finished wall, takes more specialized equipment, and may be best left to contractors [source: U.S. Department of Energy].

Regardless of whether you install insulation yourself or hire someone to do it, it's wise to consider the chosen insulation's R-value when planning your project. R-value is a measure of an insulation product's ability to insulate. The higher the R-value, the less energy is transmitted through the material [source: U.S. Department of Energy].