06 Dec 2017
Basement Insulation Requirements

Have you considered the basement insulation requirements of your home?

In our previous post on home insulation, we went over some of the basic insulation options available here in Ottawa. While choosing from batt, loose fill, board stock, spray foam and wet spray cellulose is a big decision for your home’s insulation, there are other regulations to keep in mind when looking at this specific area of home renovation.

Specifically, with today’s home renovation and construction standards being changed towards the goal of increasing energy efficiency, home insulation requirements for basements have recently been modified. Let’s take a look at the new insulation requirements for basements and how this will affect your home renovation or addition plans in Ottawa.

Insulation Requirements Before

Prior to the new changes, insulating a basement required a basic process of framing and then applying insulation in between all of the studs. While this technique worked for many years, the issue is that it often allowed heat loss through thermal bridging.

What is thermal bridging?

Wood, metal and concrete in your basement walls can allow heat to transfer through and be lost since the insulation appears between these materials, not over them.

Thermal bridges are areas where heat or cold can pass through construction materials that are not insulation materials themselves.

So, if you have wood studs in your basement walls, and insulation in-between them but not over top, then they are a weak point in terms of insulation in your home. Heat or cold will pass through them, in between your insulation barrier, and will lower the energy efficiency of your home.

Basement Insulation Requirements Now

New requirements are now in place that aim to increase energy efficiency, reduce thermal bridging, and save money on your utility bills overall in Ottawa. For new home basement renovations, one of the options to meet these new insulation requirements is so apply continuous insulation around the perimeter of the basement interior. The goal is to have a continuous wall of insulation where thermal bridging is eliminated and weak points of insulation are covered over.

One of the ways to achieve this continuous coverage is to install rigid board stock insulation around the perimeter of the basement before the studs and framing are put in, or if you are re-framing your basement. The studs are then installed, but a complete barrier of insulation is already in place behind them, effectively eliminating thermal bridging. Insulation is then placed inside of all of the studs, thus providing two layers of insulation for the basement.

How does this affect my basement renovation plans in Ottawa?

While the energy savings based on these new insulation requirements will be great for your home utility costs, the initial cost of basement renovations have now gone up since more insulation and installation is required to meet the new regulations and to provide a continuous barrier without thermal bridging. This applies when new framing is required for a basement.

Insulation for Home Additions

For new home additions without a basement, one way to meet the new insulation requirements is to use structured sheeting on the first floor to create continuous insulation that eliminates thermal bridging. In this scenario, rigid board stock insulation will be glued to the aspenite boards and installed around the first floor of the home.

Net-zero Homes in Ottawa

With heat recovery ventilators (HRVs), drain recovery units, solar panels, LED lighting, and new insulation requirements all being introduced into the home renovation sector, today’s homes in Ottawa are more energy efficient than ever. Looking forward, expect to see building codes change over the next decade to reflect the goal of the Net-zero home. This is a home that produces as much energy as it uses, which will result in utility bills approaching 0 at the end of the month!

While this may seem far fetched today, the introduction of more efficient and affordable solar panels and geothermal heating options will bring exciting changes in the future to Ottawa homes.