What’s in an R-Value?

Last time we talked just a bit about Norsteel’s available insulated panels. One of the factors we mentioned was the r-value of a given panel. Just to go a little geeky about insulation, let’s throw down some insulating action right here.

The R value or R-value is the measure used in the building and construction industry for thermal resistance. Thermal resistance is the ability of a material to keep, or store, heat or cold. The R is from the equation used to calculate the figure. It’s calculated using the ratio of the temperature difference across an insulator (in this case an insulated panel) and the heat flux (the direction and intensity of the heat moving through the material). The bigger the number, the better the insulation’s effectiveness.

Increasing the thickness of an insulating layer increases its thermal resistance, and thus its R-value. For example, when you double the thickness of a fiberglass batting, this doubles its R-value. Manufacturer R values apply only to insulations that are installed properly. For example, cramming two layers of batting together into the thickness intended for one layer increases, but does not double the R-value (a good reason to make sure your walls and ceilings have enough clearance for the appropriate amount of insulation).  Also, the studs and windows of a building set up a heat conduction path that is separate from the rest of the building—therefore those areas are unaffected by the R-value of your chosen insulation. Because of this, you could use great insulation but if your building’s windows aren’t looked after, you might not realize a very big energy improvement.

We like to think about these things, so if you’re wondering what your options are for making your building energy efficient and cozy and/or cool, let us know. Norsteel buildings can accommodate the very latest in insulating materials and do it with ease!


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