We are the Lewandowski family and we're building a new house from the ground up. Our goal is to build a comfortable and efficient green home that works for our family. We want to prove that building green is the right choice for the environment, our lives and our pocketbook.

We invite you to come follow us during our adventure and learn along with us, how to build and live green.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Fire Stopping and Insulation

 I am a little behind in my posting so I'm going to try to get caught up...
The Kitchen

A few weeks ago the house was insulated.  I learned a little something during this process.  Before the insulation is put in, the insulatiors add fire stopping.  It is an expandable foam that insulates around all the openings to the outside of the house.  It is used on every opening in an exterior wall. Basically, anywhere you see light from outside while your inside the house.  These areas are where water and electric pipes come into the house, around the windows, etc.  Here is a photo taken from inside the house of the junction box that an exterior light fixture will eventully be attached to.  The foam further seals the perimeter of the house helping to keep moisture out, reduce drafts and keep the heat/airconditioning in.  There is also a different type of expandable foam used around the floor to fill in any gaps made in the sub-flooring.  In the event of a fire, this helps keep it contained so it doesn't spread to other floors. 

Insulation is important in any home.  If you have or currently live in an old home you understand just how important it really is.  The rental house we are living in is poorly insulated. It is so hot during the warm weather and freezing during the cold.  Unfortunately, we have the heating bills to prove it!

R-value is a number assigned to insulation as a way to measure the efficiancy of insulation in a house.  The US Department of Energy has recommended R-values for given areas of the USA based on the general local energy costs for heating and cooling, as well as the climate of an area. In general, the bigger the number, the better the building's insulation effectiveness.  There are five types of insulation: rolls and batts, loose-fill, rigid foam,dence pack cellulous and foam-in-place. Rolls and batts are typically flexible insulators that come in fibers, like fiberglass. Loose-fill insulation comes in loose fibers or pellets and should be blown into a space. Rigid foam is more expensive than fiber, but generally has a higher R-value per unit of thickness. Foam-in-place can be blown into small areas to control air leaks, like those around windows.  We've done a combination of these things.  There is the foam-in-place as I described above, a 1" rigid foam insulation on the exterior of the building that will be under the siding and stucco, and all perimeter walls are insulated with a dence packed cellulous and in between that is a theral break further adding to the value.   We added roll insulation around the laundry room which is in the center of the 2nd floor and is used as a sound insulator.  The State of Illinos has adopted an energy criteria noting the minimum R-value on a wall be no less than R-19.  The Village of  LaGrange told us in our initial meeting that they won't really inforce that code (not sure why), but it needed to be listed on our drawings anyway.  Our total wall value should well surpass that... somewhere in the R-30's.  The state requies the roof to be R-38 and ours is about higher than a R-44.  This will be a tight and efficient house.

Now that the insulation is finished, drywall in next!

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