Spend any time in the home-building world, and you’ll run into the term “R-value” sooner or later.
Most people know that R-value has to do with home insulation. But what does it mean? And what does it take to translate “R-value” into things that really matter: comfort, energy efficiency, a smaller carbon footprint?
At Clarum Homes, it’s important to think about R-value when choosing materials for your high-performance home – but that’s not all there is to it. What’s more important than R-value? To find out, read on!
The “R” in R-value is for resistance. Thermal resistance, to be specific. It’s a term builders use to measure how effectively a type of insulation will resist the flow of heat.
This little idea – resisting the flow of heat – is hugely important to the comfort of your modern, custom home.
Thermal energy seeks equilibrium: it flows from hot to cold. That’s why hot things cool off eventually, and snow melts in the sun. It’s also why, during a hot day, the sun’s heat tries to leak inside and warm your air-conditioned interior… while during a cold day, the heat from your furnace does its best to get outdoors.
The job of insulation, then, is to keep the warmth where you want it, by not letting it move so easily from place to place. When it’s implemented properly, high-performance insulation keeps heat outside on a hot day, and inside when it’s cold out. And the R-value of the insulation you’ve chosen predicts how effectively it’ll be able to do that.
R-value is not the only predictor, though, of how well your building envelope will resist the flow of heat. While it’s important to select sustainable building materials with a high R-value when designing your modern home, bear in mind, even the best materials cannot achieve surpassing comfort when implemented in isolation.
In other words, it’s not enough to measure the R-value of a material and suppose your building envelope will perform at peak efficiency. These materials are merely the building blocks of a larger strategy in which every last detail matters, and the builder’s attention must remain focused on the complete envelope assembly as a whole design: balancing the costs of construction, embodied energy, ecological impact and long-term savings; weaving materials together in a way that anticipates the overall results of the combination.
It’s about leveraging a whole-system strategy, and it’s the strategy we bring to every home we design at Clarum. For us, high-performance insulation is about synergy. We believe the best building envelope is composed of high-quality, sustainably-produced materials, working in concert as a unified system to achieve a degree of comfort which is greater than the sum of the parts.
The result? Luxurious modern comfort, and a custom home that adds to your sense of well-being every single day that you live there.
To learn more about Clarum’s approach to high-performance insulation in your modern, custom home, give us a call at 650.322.7069.