Guide to Insulation Products and Practices Released

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BuildingGreen’s new guide provides detailed environmental and performance data on all the major types of insulation available today, including recommendations by application.

By Tristan Roberts


BuildingGreen has released “Insulation: The BuildingGreen Guide to Insulation Products and Practices,” a special report that provides detailed guidance on insulation products and practices with useful information for building professionals and homeowners, including cost estimates.

Based on a survey released by BuildingGreen in tandem with the report, there appear to be knowledge gaps even among well informed readers when it comes the material properties of insulation products as well as building science dynamics relating to insulation, moisture, and air barriers. The special report acknowledges that there are no universal right or wrong answers for every project. Instead, it offers guidance to support appropriate material choices—as well as best practices—depending on the project and the budget.

Continuing education credits are available to BuildingGreen subscribers for reading the report, which includes key overviews on the basic principles—how insulation works, health and environmental considerations, and performance issues—before launching into a product-by-product review of key insulation products, including:

• Fiberglass, cellulose, cotton, and other fiber-based materials

• Polyisocyanurate, polystyrene, mineral wool, and other boardstock materials

• Closed-cell and open-cell spray polyurethane, cementitious foam, and other spray-in-place products

• Radiant barriers, gas-filled panels, vacuum insulation, and other products

The report concludes with eight pages of quick-reference tables providing summaries of performance and cost data by insulation type and a guide to choosing insulation by application—from framed walls to below-grade locations.

The 81-page report is available for download through and costs $129, discounted to $99 for subscribers to Environmental Building News or BuildingGreen Suite. Site licenses to the report are available for $297. It is available for download at

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Continuing Education

Download the report and take the quiz to receive continuing education credit. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has approved this course for 6 HSW/SD Learning Units. The Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) has approved the technical and instructional quality of this course for 6 GBCI CE hours towards the LEED Credential Maintenance Program.

Learning Objectives

Upon completing this course, participants will be able to:

  1. Discuss how insulation works.
  2. Explain why certain materials make more sense than others in particular applications.
  3. Summarize how insulation performance is measured and reported.
  4. Recount a wide range of environmental considerations that come into play with different insulation materials.

To earn credit, download and read the report, then return here, make sure you are logged into your personal BuildingGreen account, and pass this quiz.

October 20, 2011