Insulation ‘R-Values’ aren’t as accurate as you think

Insulation ‘R-Values’ aren’t as accurate as you think

Research has shown that a single R-Value rating for an insulation product can be misleading, as different forms of heat transfer impact on the product’s efficiency

There is a benchmark standard rating for insulation products, called an R-Value. This value rates the product’s ability to curb energy transfer in the form of heat. Largely, the higher the R-Value, the less heat it lets in (or out) which is clearly it’s purpose as a product. 

Heat transfer occurs three ways: conduction, convection and radiation. Conduction is the clash of microscopic particles, convection is the collective movement of gases and liquids whereas radiation is energy travelling in waves.

The makeup of the materials used in an insulation product change the way that heat transfer occurs, meaning the efficiency may or may not impact the true performance of the insulation.

An example of this is insulated and tinted glass windows. While insulated glass can reduce solar energy penetration through conductive (keeping it cool inside), the dark tinted glass absorbs solar energy that radiates internally, warming the house internally.

Air leakage, humidity levels and permeability of neighbouring materials can all have an impact on the insulating efficiency.

Builders, designers and engineers should keep these factors in mind when selecting their insulation, rather than just by their R-Values.


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