[Greenbuilding] over-insulating

Reuben Deumling 9watts at gmail.com
Thu Jan 28 20:04:27 MST 2016

A conversation between Frank T and John S reminded me of something I'd been
meaning to post here: my recent adventure in over-insulating.

I recently remodeled* a 2x6-framed two storey house in the Pacific NW of
the US (built by my family 30 years ago). Half of the upstairs I turned
into a self-contained apartment for my mother. It is about 500 square feet.
I added a 2x4 wall on the inside of all the exterior walls and blew in
dense pack cellulose, for a total walll thickness of about 11 inches. The
interior wall framing does not touch the original exterior wall which still
has the original fiberglass batts in it - I left the drywall in place. I
lofted the attic and ran horizontal 2x3 furring strips on the inside of the
2x8 rafters attaching them with hurricane clips at the junctions. I reused
the original and some new fiberglass batts in two layers perpendicular to
each other ~ 11 inch total thickness. The original house had very poor air
sealing, and I tried to improve this as best I could. The windows are the
original thermopane inward opening casements imported from Germany. I added
wood framed storm windows that fit snugly, screens in the summer.  Heat is
provided by a small Danish wood stove with a flue-mounted water jacket for
domestic hot water.

However...the heating demand for this space is very nearly zero. The whole
house (before this remodel) burned through about 5 cords/winter and it was
never really cozy. So far this winter my mom's burned a little over
one-tenth of a cord.


* I know I asked a bunch of questions about this project of you folks along
the way. A belated thank you to all.
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