Insulation has been a focus of the Monroe County Energy Challenge and for good reason. Proper r-values in your home or office can reduce the amount of energy you consume, increase comfort, and best-of-all save you money. But what will the impact of climate change be on insulation recommendations?
The r-value is a way to measure insulation; energystar.gov defines it as the “insulation’s ability to resist heat traveling through it. The higher the R-Value the better the thermal performance of the insulation”. You can find your recommended r-value by the region of the country you live in; Monroe County is in zone 4 which suggests attics be insulated from r-38 to r-60.
If you are a gardener as I am, you’ll notice that the r-value map looks very familiar to the USDA’s hardiness zone map which helps gardeners and farmers know when to plant/transplant certain seeds.
This hardiness map has not been static. As climate change has impacted our world, the zones have moved. Some areas becoming warmer, some cooler and some there has been no change. But Monroe County became warmer and our hardiness zone changed. The Arbor Day Foundation has a really cool timelapse of this climate change trend that dramatically illustrates this point.
So, as hardiness zones migrate will r-values migrate as well? If Monroe County continues to experience climate change will our current r-values decrease? If we continue to warm will they increase to keep the cool air in? These are intriguing questions that time will tell. As more changes occur due to climate change, it helps to put the changes in focus when it so directly impacts home/office renovation and new construction.
As you ponder those questions, take some time to review these Energy Saving Tips.