10 Materials Keeping Your House Warm

If you live in a cold climate, you have a vested interest in securing your home's envelope. See more green living pictures.
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It's fairly well-known that a house must have a well-insulated building envelope to be structurally sound. But we may not know how important this shell really is. You can decrease the amount of energy you use to maintain the interior climate of your house by minimizing the transfer of heat through this envelope.

Insulation can dramatically block the transfer of heat through this layer, as well as help control for sound. When insulating your home, it's advisable to get the R-value recommended by the Department of Energy or that specified by your area's local energy code, according to the North American Insulation Manufacturers Association. R-value is simply a measure of thermal resistance; the bigger the R-value, the more effective a home's insulation will be. To select high-quality insulation that will wear well for years in your geographic area, ask the local gas or electric utility company for their advice on good insulation for your location. In the following pages, we'll discuss some of the various forms of insulation they might recommend.