R-values in our climates

Testing insulation at local climate temperatures can better determine R-values

Editor's note: The opinions in this article are those of the authors and not NRCA.

Does it make sense to wear shorts, a T-shirt and sandals while boarding a plane in Hawaii bound for Chicago in January? Most of us have seen these types of travelers whose decision processes probably were bypassed by the excitement of their journeys.

This type of excitement also can overcome designers who often are more excited about the concept of building design than building function or performance. In theory, there is potential for a building in Chicago to be clad with shorts and a T-shirt in January instead of being clad with a wool sweater. This may not sound realistic, but using the Federal Trade Commission's (FTC's) energy model calculations to determine effective R-values for insulation material (as many designers do) also is not realistic and can potentially lead to increased energy costs, poor indoor performance, and mechanical equipment being oversized or undersized.