VALLEY FORGE, Pa. – Prominent New England insulation contractor Anderson Insulation is playing an important role in boosting the energy efficiency of the Team Massachusetts 4D Home in the U.S. Department of Energy’s 2011 Solar Decathlon competition. The contractor used the CertainTeed hybrid insulation system to provide exceptional thermal resistance for the custom home, designed by Team Massachusetts — a group of students from Massachusetts College of Art and Design and the University of Massachusetts at Lowell.

The 4D Home is one of 20 homes featured in the 2011 Solar Decathlon, a biennial event that challenges college teams from around the world to design, build and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient and attractive. The homes will be on display from Sept. 23 to Oct. 2 at the National Mall's West Potomac Park in Washington, D.C. Open to the public and free of charge, the event allows visitors to tour the houses, gather ideas to use in their own homes and learn how energy-saving building materials can help them save money.

Achieving Passive House standards — the current benchmark for thermal resistance in home design — the 945 square-foot, two-bedroom Team Massachusetts 4D Home is designed to minimize heat loss and maximize occupant comfort during long, cold winters. To help achieve this goal, CertainTeed recommended one of its hybrid insulation systems, consisting of CertaSpray™ closed-cell spray foam insulation and OPTIMA® blow-in fiberglass Insulation to the team and their builder Epoch Homes, of Pembroke, N.H.

“We are proud to lend a hand to Team Massachusetts, as we share their belief that efficient technology and passive strategies can indeed be attainable to the average person building a new home today,” says Eric Nilsson, vice president, Corporate Marketing. “Our hybrid insulation systems utilize the best attributes of two or more insulation products together to provide a cost-effective airtight seal around the home, as well as high thermal performance and superior moisture control, making them an ideal insulation solution for those striving for high energy efficiency.”

Epoch Homes prefabricated seven large panels — each 12-inches deep — that would later form the home’s exterior walls, ceiling and floor and hired Anderson Insulation, based in Abington, Mass., to insulate them. Anderson Insulation filled the cavities with 4 inches of CertaSpray insulation on the backside of the sheathing and 8 inches of OPTIMA insulation. This approach delivers R-values comparable to a Passive House — R-56 walls, an R-57 floor and an R-64 roof at a significantly lower cost than the spray foam-only approach.

“Though closed-cell spray foam insulation offers the highest R-value on the market, with built-in, continuous air sealing and moisture protection, the cost of using it to insulate the entire cavity is out of reach for some homeowners,” says Bob Anderson, owner of Anderson Insulation. “Through the combination of spray foam and blown-in fiberglass insulation in the cavity, I find that the CertainTeed hybrid insulation systems provide similar thermal resistance to a full-foam cavity and an excellent way for contractors to offer a good value to homeowners. In addition, the installation process was easy to complete.”

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