When you begin planning the construction of a new home or business building, you want to be aware of your State’s building codes and especially the regulations regarding insulation requirements. Building codes set out by your state are typically set at the minimum standards, but if you are looking for an energy-efficient building, you will want to exceed those mandates.
California Insulation Requirements for New Construction
When beginning new construction, you want to ensure you meet the proper requirements for your state’s building code regulations. The United States Department of Energy split the country into eight different climate zones and identifies each with a separate provision for insulation installation that will best meet energy efficiency.
To promote energy-efficient homes, the U.S. Department of Energy has divided California into five climate zones which include zones 2 through 6. The zone in which you build a new construction indicates the recommended level of insulation needed for the attics, walls, floors, basements and crawl spaces. The level of insulation is measured by its R-value which is its ability to resist heat flow. The larger the R-value, the better the insulation can resist heat movement giving it a better insulation factor.
The State of California adopted, enforced, and mandated its own energy code, Title 24 (CEC) California Energy Code within the last ten years. Title 24 is continuously being updated to make energy efficiency regulations more stringent. These regulations are put into place to build commercial buildings and homes more energy efficient, more comfortable, and more affordable to operate.
California is now divided into 16 climate zones under Title 24, and each zone has its specific energy code regulations. For example, the Los Angeles area is under Climate Zone 6 and requires new construction insulation levels to be R38 in the ceilings of category C construction and R30 in the ceiling of category D construction. Under Climate Zone 6 walls in new construction in the Los Angeles area need an R21 level for category C and R13 for category D structures.
These new regulations mean your new construction in California will provide you with more efficient energy which will also be more affordable than older constructed homes in the area. Older homes in your area that have not updated insulation to meet the new regulations are under-insulated which means they cost more to heat and cool.
Federal guidelines for insulation levels are more as a recommendation for you to use in getting the best use of your building. New constructions need to follow the local building codes as they are the true authority you must comply with in your insulation requirements. You must meet the minimum local standards, but it would be to your benefit to speak with a professional to find out if exceeding those levels could provide you with a more efficient structure in the future. Pure Eco Inc has experience in the Los Angeles area to discuss your options and find the best solution to your needs.
Which Insulation is Best for New Construction?
Deciding to build a new home or business means you have a lot of decisions to make. One of those will be which insulation is the best for new construction? If it is a new home, choosing the right type of insulation is important as you will spend the majority of your time there, and you want it to be comfortable. Saving money on energy bills is another big factor and plays an essential choice in both business and homes. You do not want high energy bills every month for either building.
The way air will move within your new construction and reducing it is the key to making your building energy efficient. When you control the leakage of air, you also prevent moisture issues from developing in the years ahead. Insulation creates the barrier you need to block air movement throughout the entire structure.
When you create an air barrier to prevent air leakage, you will be able to save at least 30% of your buildings heating and cooling costs. This estimate was calculated by the U.S. Department of Energy. Insulation materials vary, and the most commonly used ones are cellulose, fiberglass, or spray foam. Understanding the differences will help you decide which is best for your new construction.
One of the oldest insulation materials is cellulose, and it is the number one alternative to fiberglass. If considering it for an attic space, it can be either installed as a loose-fill on your floor area or blown in. This insulation is mainly comprised of recycled newspaper or other paper products. Almost eighty-five percent of the insulation is comprised of recycled paper which is chopped up into tiny pieces and then ground into fibers. The rest or remaining fifteen percent is made from chemical additives such as boric acid, ammonium sulfate, or borate to enhance its resistance to fire, insects, moisture, mildew, and mold.
Cellulose insulation compacts more tightly than fiberglass and has a higher R-value. It works by creating air pockets to slow down the movement of heat and sound. The air pockets in this material are smaller than fiberglass so it can work somewhat better.
The cellulose insulation is one of the least expensive ones on the market, but a factor to keep in mind is that it can settle up to twenty percent. This insulation can also shift from one side of your attic which will impact your air seal and allow cold and hot air to move freely throughout the attic as there is nothing to stop it. If the cellulose insulation is damp-sprayed or dry-filled behind a netting, it will stay in place more effectively.
When looking at the wall cavities of your new construction, wet-applied cellulose is put in differently than regularly packed cellulose. It is mixed with a bonding agent and sprayed into the cavity. It is intended to stick inside the cavity without the need for netting as opposed to dry blowing it into place.
Fiberglass is considered the traditional form of insulation and is found in most homes across the country. It is constructed of extremely fine blown glass or plastic fibers to provide additional strength in its insulating power. Fiberglass is a combination of small rigid fibers and fluffy material, so it is an incredibly useful and affordable method of insulating your new construction.
The material in this form of insulation contains numerous small air pockets that reduce air movement, sound, and heat from going through it. This material is able to insulate a room and keep it cooler in the summer months, and warmer during the winter. Fiberglass also insulates rooms from sounds in other areas of the building when placed inside interior walls. Because of its affordability, it has become a more attractive option for new construction, and when blown into attic floors or inside of ceilings it provides the protection you need.
Fiberglass installed in your walls can be placed in rolls or batts. It is also the best choice for your rim joist and
Fiberglass insulation does pose a potential irritation when it comes into contact with the skin. It is recommended you have this insulation installed professionally. Not only can a professional install it safely, but they can also install it properly to impact conduction within your building and provide more comfort and energy efficiency for you. Installation of insulation is best done by professionals, such as Pure Eco Inc. who understand the difference between the types of insulation on the market and how they will best benefit your new construction.
Denim is an eco-friendly form of insulation. This insulation is basically made from recycled cotton or blue jeans. There are also other materials such as wool or hemp products that will work the same as cotton. Denim insulation is comprised of approximately eighty-five percent recycled blue jeans and fifteen percent plastic fibers to give it additional strength. The plastic fibers are treated with borate to make them resistant to insects, rodents, and fire.
Denim is an incredibly strong material as well as durable and gives a little more R-value. This material is excellent at trapping, diminishing, and isolating sound waves, and has been given a Class A fire resistance rating. This form of insulation also lacks the formaldehyde found in other types of insulation and will not mildew or mold. Denim is very moisture resistant, so it does not require a vapor barrier unless your new construction requires a vapor barrier with its local building codes; this insulation could be a great alternative for you.
This eco-friendly insulation uses the trimmed-off waste from blue jean manufacturing companies and other sources. There are denim recycling programs which are contracted with various jean manufacturers who keep old jeans and scraps of jeans specifically for the production of insulation, thus saving them from ending up in landfills.
Denim insulation is produced in either batt form or loose fill and costs approximately twenty percent more than fiberglass. The benefit of using it over the fiberglass choice is that you are using a more eco-friendly and natural product.
What it comes down to when choosing the insulation for your new construction is finding the best solution to create an air seal. To get the best use of your heating and cooling systems, you will want to insulate from the foundation up to the roof. To provide added energy control and sound-deadening factors, you may want to insulate under floors and inside interior walls of your structure, although it may not be required in these areas.
Find a New Construction Installer Near Me
Pure Eco Inc. is ready to help you with insulating your new construction. Call our Los Angeles insulation contractor today 877-778-2551 to speak with an expert who can help you evaluate the type of insulation material that will work best in your building. Serving the Los Angeles area and beyond they can help you find the right solution to any insulation need.