When you select insulation there are four primary factors to be taken into consideration:
- Performance — quality
- Installation method
- Material characteristics
Performance includes the R-value per inch, air permeability, and vapor permeance.
Installation methods include applied insulation materials that are applied to the structure, such as ecobatts, sprayed or blown-in products, and continuous boards. Ecobatt insulation is thermal or sound insulation material, made of fiberglass, mineral wool, or cotton, which comes in varying widths and thicknesses to conform to standard framing of walls, floors, and ceilings. Another method is to use structurally integrated insulation that is part of the structure itself.
Material characteristics address recycled content, recyclability, embodied energy, extraction and production location, hazardous components, and bio-based content. Bio-based insulation is created from plants, animals, or other renewable sources.
Cost is often one of the most difficult criteria to objectively evaluate. When weighing expenses, we must consider not only the initial costs of material but also the costs of proper installation and any additional work required for some materials to match the thermal performance of others.