Why Builders Should Care About Grade I Installation
Quality installation of insulation matters and if builders aren’t getting RESNET Grade I installation with fiberglass batts then they’re getting a HERS-score penalty, says new fact sheet on Grade I installation of batt insulation from NAIMA/Insulation Institute.
The RESNET-developed rating system for batt insulation installation includes descriptions of Grade I, Grade II, and Grade III jobs. Grade I is top-quality work and while building code officials rarely fail an insulation installation job, not meeting Grade I criteria is commonplace. The fact sheet explains that builders take a HERS-score penalty for any installation job that’s not Grade I. The penalty for a Grade III job, versus a Grade I, can range from 1.73 to 6.27 points, depending on the climate zone of the home.
How to Get Grade I
“Getting RESNET Grade I requires technical training and a commitment to a quality management process that builders, HERS raters and insulation contractors must work collaboratively to achieve,” said NAIMA VP Marketing and Communications Jordan Doria. Poor installation can compromise a home’s performance, leading to higher energy bills and increased customer call backs for comfort issues. “Our fact sheet shows builders that achieving Grade I installation doesn’t require a huge amount of extra work, but rather teamwork, training, setting clear expectations and a commitment to quality control and inspection.”
High performance home programs like Energy Star and DOE’s Zero Energy Ready homes require Grade I installation. In addition, many utility incentive programs require Grade I for eligibility. But, often times insulation contractor work crews lack the training to deliver Grade I and they are expected to complete the job as quickly as possible, which can lead to substandard work. To get better quality installs, builders must make Grade I installation a written goal, empower the HERS rater as the guarantor of quality and ensure that the superintendent knows the quality goal so that he can reinforce it with the contractors handling the job.
If Grade I is the goal, following the guidance in the fact sheet will help achieve it in a reliable and repeatable manner. Clear goals, communication and a team mentality are the keys to achieving consistent quality installation.
The fact sheet on recommended practices to achieve repeatable Grade I installations is available on the Insulation Institute website.
Stacy Fitzgerald-Redd is the Director of Marketing & Communications for the North American Insulation Manufacturers Association (NAIMA).
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