Monday, July 30, 2012

Recommended Levels of Insulation

Insulation level are specified by R-Value. R-Value is a measure of insulation’s ability to resist heat traveling through it. The higher the R-Value the better the thermal performance of the insulation. The table below shows what levels of insulation are cost-effective for different climates and locations in the home.

ZoneAdd Insulation to AtticFloor
Uninsulated AtticExisting 3–4 Inches of Insulation
1R30 to R49R25 to R30R13
2R30 to R60R25 to R38R13 to R19
3R30 to R60R25 to R38R19 to R25
4R38 to R60R38R25 to R30
5 to 8R49 to R60R38 to R49R25 to R30
Wall Insulation: Whenever exterior siding is removed on an
Uninsulated wood-frame wall:
  • Drill holes in the sheathing and blow insulation into the empty wall cavity before installing the new siding, and
  • Zones 3–4: Add R5 insulative wall sheathing beneath the new siding
  • Zones 5–8: Add R5 to R6 insulative wall sheathing beneath the new siding.
Insulated wood-frame wall:
  • For Zones 4 to 8: Add R5 insulative sheathing before installing the new siding.
Visit Sandium.Com for more information on proper insulation on your home.

Original article from Energy Star

Friday, July 27, 2012

Carrier is Keeping History Cool






Each year, millions of people from around the world flock to the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City to gaze in wonder and amazement at 1,300 square meters of frescoes that adorn the cathedral ceiling. Originally painted by Michelangelo in the 1500s, the frescoes were restored in the early 1990s to showcase their vibrant original colors. The restoration also brought an influx of visitors, which exposed the masterpieces to damaging heat, moisture, dirt and dust. That’s when the experts at Carrier arrived with a masterpiece of their own.
Fearing that they may eventually be forced to close the Sistine Chapel to the public to protect its ceiling, the Vatican turned to a global team of Carrier engineers from France, Italy and the United States. The task they faced was a daunting one: create a reliable solution capable of controlling air and humidity and maintaining a consistent environment for the chapel’s interior, all while creating minimal noise and remaining invisible to observers.
After five years of work, including special computer simulations to analyze building loads, internal air circulation patterns and control system performance throughout the chapel, Carrier delivered on the Sistine Chapel project’s exacting specifications.
The innovative system was unveiled in 1993 at a special ceremony attended by Pope John Paul II, who stated, “You have, we might say, become co-workers with the painters in making present their vision of God’s glorious deeds.”
Carrier’s solution was glorious in its own right, employing 92 electronic sensors that monitor the air and communicate through 15 miles of virtually invisible wiring. A Carrier water chiller two floors below attaches to diffusers located beneath the chapel’s six south windows to blow low-velocity air over the painting’s surface for protection.
Custom algorithms allow the system to adjust seamlessly to various conditions and maintain a consistent temperature of 68 to 77°F (20 to 25°C) and 55 percent humidity – ideal conditions for preserving the 500-year-old frescoes. Sound-absorbing material and vibration dampers reduce noise so the chapel can be used for religious services while the Carrier system quietly preserves the breathtakingly delicate Renaissance paintings on its ceiling.
For centuries, people have been captivated by the beauty and intricacy of the Sistine Chapel frescoes. Using strokes of brilliance that Michelangelo himself would no doubt have admired, Carrier has helped ensure that they’ll continue to be enjoyed for many years to come.
To learn more about Carrier's home HVAC products please visit Sandium.Com

Saratoga "Foodie Fun On The Run" July 28th


Saratoga Foodie Fun on the Run – Saratoga Gateway Community Event “FOODIE FUN ON THE RUN”
Please join the Gateway businesses of Saratoga the fourth Saturday of each month for an array of Gourmet Food Trucks, along with live music and special attractions. A portion of the proceeds will benefit local charities.
12341 & 12361 Saratoga-Sunnyvale Road at Seagull Way
(parking behind the Alameda Family Funeral Home)
This month’s proceeds will benefit:
Saratoga Senior Center
This will be held Saturday, July 28 4:00p to 8:00p at Saratoga Gateway Business District, Saratoga, CA. For more information visit their Facebook at Saratoga Foodie Fun.


Summer POPS A light Classical Night Music- July 28 in San Jose, CA


Target Summer Pops Free Music Festival – A part of Symphony Silicon Valley’s 2012 free outdoor summer music festival, this evening features a lively collection of light classics: highlights from Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty, Borodin’s seductive Polovtsian Dances, the hypnotic Ritual Fire Dance, Mozart’s A Little Night Music, Mendelssohn’s Italian Symphony and much more.
Join the orchestra for an evening of tuneful favorites that will send you home humming.
This will be held Saturday, July 28 7:00p at San Jose State University: Campus Green, San Jose, CA.For more information visit their website at Symphony Silicon Valley.

TEDxPurdueU - Art Norins - Conceptualize Innovation Founder of Sandium

Duct Install & Repair Services



It is hard to believe, but for many years the industry standard method of connecting ducts was to use duct tape!  We all know how long tape lasts.  Look at some of your old documents and you will see that the tape has lost its stickyness, it is brittle and faded. The same is true with the tape on your ducts.  If your duct system has never been pressure tested, call us. Our technicians carry a piece of equipment called a “duct blaster” that is used to pressure test and identify just how leaky your duct system is.  For some older duct system, we may find that it is better to consider replacing the entire duct system with  new ducts that are clean, insulated, tightly sealed, and designed to deliver optimal airflow to your home.
Duct leakage can create serius health hazard risks by altering critical pressure balances in homes. These imbalances can literally bring deadly carbon monoxide containing flue gasses into your home.  Leaks on the return air side of your furnace duct system can also create health hazards by drawing toxic chemicals, mold, allergens, humidity, dust,  crawlspace pesticides and other contaminants into your home. Upgrading  your duct system is frequently the first step to a healthier and energy efficient home.
And speaking of duct design, our technicians and installers are actually trained to use the Air Conditioning Contractors of American Manual-D standard to design, layout, and size your duct system deliver hot or cool air EXACTLY where it is needed to be delivered.
We install, repair, insulate, seal, fix, and design duct systems that will perform for you. Depending on your project, we can engineer ducts systems  that use sheet metal, wire flex, or alumaflex for your home.

To have ducts installed or repaired in your SB Californian home visit Sandium.Com

Duct Cleaning Services



We don’t usually recommend duct cleaning because your ducts should definitely NOT be getting dirty.  When you stop and think about it, does it not seem strange that your ducts are getting dirty?  Your ducts are the breathing passages of your home.  They should be installed in a way that they are clean and stay clean. 
Dirt in your ducts is a sign of some failure in your heating and cooling system.  Our approach to duct cleaning is to diagnose what is causing contaminants to enter your duct system. Our technicians are highly skilled at pressure testing duct systems to pinpoint the source of leaks that is causing dirt to contaminate your duct system.

To make sure your ducts are clean visit Sandium.Com

Thursday, July 26, 2012

How to hire a contractor















Not all contractors are the same.  Here are some questions to consider asking when you interview potential contractors.
  • Do you have a permanent place of business, and what is the address?
  • Is your company licensed in California to do heating and air conditioning work?  What is your contractor’s license number?  Are you licensed to do residential Heating and Air conditioning work?


  1. Does your company carry both general liability and workers compensation insurance, and can you produce current certificates?
  1. How long have you been in business?
  1. Are your technicians certified by the EPA to handle Freon refrigerant gas?
  1. Is your company a member of a national trade association such as the Air Conditioning Contractors of America or the National Association of Plumbing Heating and Cooling Contractors?
  1. Do your service technicians have safety testing equipment to detect gas leakage and carbon monoxide spillage?
  1. Does your company use an airflow capture hood to assure the proper delivery of  air through your duct system?
  1. Does your company own a duct pressurization system (called a “duct blaster”) to verify the quality of the ducts against leaks.  (The quality of your ducts is as important as the quality of your furnace and air conditioner.  It does not pay to install energy efficient heating and cooling equipment, if your ducts are leaky.  Only by duct pressurization testing can the quality of the ducts be confirmed.)
  1. How do you calculate the proper size furnace and air conditioner for my home? Can you perform a computerized equipment sizing and selection calculation?
  1. Do you take a whole house, systems approach to sizing equipment?  Are there cost effective ways to improve the energy efficiency, heating and cooling load on my home while making my home have better air quality and be more comfortable?
  1. Can you provide names of satisfied customers in my neighborhood?
  1. Can your company arrange financing? (Even if you don't desire financing, contractors who can offer financing tend to be trusted by lenders and are more established.)
  1. What is your guarantee on service repairs? How long is it, and does it cover both parts AND labor?
  1. Do you have a refund policy if I am not satisfied? What is it?
  1. Do you have any unresolved complaints with the Better Business Bureau?
  1. Are your technicians NATE certified?
Are you in need of a contractor and you live in the South Bay Area of CA? Visit Sandium.Com

Gilroy Garlic Festival- July 27-29 2012


 Are you a lover of garlic? If so the Gilroy Garlic Festival is for you! The annual event is scheduled for this weekend July 27-29. Come hungry because there will be plenty of amazing garlic infused food for you to choose from. Be ready for a great time for the whole family. Music, children's play area, arts and crafts, cook-offs and more. Visit their website to purchase your tickets in advance. Gilroy Garlic Festival. 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

CARRIER’S INVENTION OF MODERN AIR CONDITIONING CELEBRATES 110 YEARS OF MAKING THE WORLD A COOL PLACE TO LIVE, WORK AND PLAY



July 17, 2012
FARMINGTON, Conn., US
What started as an invention to control humidity in a New York printing plant in 1902 has forever changed the way people around the world live, work and play. July 17th marks the 110th anniversary of the invention of modern air conditioning by Dr. Willis H. Carrier, inventor and founder of Carrier, the world’s leader in high technology heating, air-conditioning and refrigeration solutions and a part of UTC Climate, Controls & Security, a unit of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX).
On July 17, 1902, Carrier, a young research engineer just a year out of Cornell University, finalized the design to stabilize the humidity in the air so the dimensions of the paper at the Sackett & Wilhelms Lithography and Printing Company in Brooklyn, N.Y., would remain constant throughout the printing process. Since then this innovation has been applied to everything from malls to manufacturing facilities, buses to businesses and houses to hospitals – all looking to establish a comfortable environment.
“In the early 1900s, air conditioning was primarily an industrial application that enabled countless industries to thrive with candy-making companies, textile mills and theaters some of the most enthusiastic early adopters,” said Geraud Darnis, president & CEO, UTC Climate, Controls & Security. “Over the years, Carrier’s innovations looked to make possible what was previously impossible. Today our focus remains true to our heritage as we continually push the envelope to create energy efficient, environmentally responsible products for both commercial and residential applications in all areas of the world.”
A leading engineer of his day, Carrier filed more than 80 patents over the course of his career. To celebrate the 110th milestone, the company launched a new website,www.WillisCarrier.com, in April dedicated to its rich history, and containing little-known vignettes about Willis Carrier’s life and work. In June, the company released its newly commissioned 144-page, hardcover book, called Weathermakers to the World, now available on Amazon.com, which chronicles the entrepreneurial spirit of Willis Carrier and the robust history of modern air conditioning.
“At 25 years old, Willis Carrier's foresight forever changed the world and paved the way for more than a century of once-impossible innovations,” Darnis said. “His genius created an entire industry essential to global productivity and personal comfort.”
To view Carrier’s history website, visit www.WillisCarrier.com. To order a copy of the Weathermakers to the World book, visit amazon.com.
About Carrier
Carrier is the world’s leader in high technology heating, air-conditioning and refrigeration solutions. Carrier experts provide sustainable solutions, integrating energy-efficient products, building controls, and energy services for residential, commercial, retail, transport and foodservice customers. Founded by the inventor of modern air conditioning, Carrier improves the world around us through engineered innovation and environmental stewardship. Carrier is a part of UTC Climate, Controls & Security, a unit of United Technologies Corp., a leading provider to the aerospace and building systems industries worldwide. Visit www.carrier.com for more information.

If you would like to learn more about Carrier's innovative products for heating and air conditioning please visit Sandium.Com

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Greenspeed Fact or Fiction



The Infinity® 20 heat pump with Greenspeed intelligence offers ultra-high efficiency heating and cooling in one product, and it helps reduce your utility bills year round.


To learn more visit Sandium.Com

Carrier Sustainability



Visit Sandium.Com to learn more about Carrier Heating and Air Conditioning products. 

Monday, July 16, 2012

Carrier Lead Sponser of Urban Green's First Annual EBIE Awards



CARRIER LEAD SPONSOR OF URBAN GREEN’S FIRST ANNUAL EBIE AWARDS

June 28, 2012
FARMINGTON, Conn., US
Carrier, the world’s leader in high technology heating, air-conditioning and refrigeration solutions, is pleased to be the lead sponsor for Urban Green Council’s EBie Awards™, a new juried awards competition to select and highlight best practices in greening existing buildings. The event will be held at the Hard Rock CafĂ© Live Theatre in New York City with winners revealed live from the 18 finalists. Carrier is a part of UTC Climate, Controls & Security, a unit of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX).
“Carrier and United Technologies have a long tradition of innovative technologies for improving the energy efficiency of existing buildings. Our city, our country, our world will not meet our sustainability goals without addressing the existing built environment,” said John Mandyck, chief sustainability officer at UTC Climate, Controls & Security, who also serves as co-vice chair of Urban Green Council Board of Directors. “We love the EBies because they do just that – they show us what can be done in our largest opportunity area.”
Carrier is the only company in the world to be a founding member of the U.S., Argentina, China, India, Singapore and France Green Building Councils. In fact, Carrier was instrumental in launching the U.S. Green Building Council® (USGBC) in 1993 and was the first company in the world to join the organization. Since 2008, Carrier representatives have served on the Board of Urban Green Council, one of the largest chapters of USGBC.
The EBies are a program of Urban Green Council, which aims to lead the advancement of sustainability in urban buildings through education, advocacy and research. The EBie awards program was started this year to recognize significant increased environmental performance in existing buildings (hence the EBies), among building operators, facilities managers, owners, engineers, retro-commissioning agents and other professionals who conceived and implemented the work. Focus areas include energy, water, operations, lighting and landscaping as well as effective energy use education.
“The goal of the EBies is to do for existing building retrofits what the Oscars did for film,” says Russell Unger, executive director, Urban Green Council. “We want to encourage and recognize excellence throughout the industry. There are many people doing incredible work in existing buildings and going totally unnoticed. With Carrier’s help, the EBies are going to change that.”
For more information and to view the winners, visit the EBies website at www.ebies.org.
About Carrier
Carrier is the world’s leader in high technology heating, air-conditioning and refrigeration solutions. Carrier experts provide sustainable solutions, integrating energy efficient products, building controls, and energy services for residential, commercial, retail, transport and foodservice customers. Founded by the inventor of modern air conditioning, Carrier improves the world around us through engineered innovation and environmental stewardship. Carrier is a part of UTC Climate, Controls & Security, a unit of United Technologies Corp., a leading provider to the aerospace and building systems industries worldwide. Visit www.carrier.com for more information.
For more information on Carrier products for your home please visit Sandium.Com

Tips For A Green Home


Friday, July 13, 2012

101 Ways To Save Energy


It may not seem like using a compact fluorescent light bulb or fixing a leaky faucet will do much to reduce your energy costs - or protect the environment.
But if every household practiced just a few simple conservation ideas like the 101 easy ways to save below, we could reduce energy consumption by a significant amount.
All it takes is a few minutes each month, and you'll notice a difference - and make a difference.
     
Getting started
1.  Do a home energy audit. This survey analyzes your home's structure, appliances and insulation, as well as your family's lifestyle. Alliant Energy offers customers a free online energy audit called My Home Comfort Check Up that provides a personalized report detailing specific ways to save energy throughout your home.
2.  Change or clean your furnace filter once a month. Dust and dirt can quickly clog vital parts, making your furnace run harder and eventually break down.
3.  Have your heating system inspected regularly - especially if it's natural gas. A $50-100 annual tune-up can help reduce your heating costs by up to five percent.
4.  If you have a forced-air furnace, do NOT close heat registers in unused rooms. Your furnace is designed to heat a specific square footage of space and can't sense a register is closed - it will continue working at the same pace. In addition, the cold air from unheated rooms can escape into the rest of the house, reducing the effectiveness of all your insulating and weatherizing.
5.  Install a programmable thermostat. If you use it to set back the temperature by 10 degrees for eight hours every night, you'll lower your heating bills by 10 percent. A $50 digital thermostat can pay for itself in energy savings in less than a year.
6.  Don't set the thermostat higher than you actually want it. It won't heat your home any faster, and it will keep your furnace running longer than necessary.
7.  Vacuum registers and vents regularly, and don't let furniture and draperies block the air flow. Inexpensive plastic deflectors can direct air under tables and chairs.
8.  If your home has a boiler system, avoid covering radiators with screens or blocking them with furniture. It's also a good idea to add a reflecting panel behind radiators - you can purchase one at a home center or make one yourself with a plywood panel and aluminum foil.
9.  If your home has electric baseboard heating, be sure to keep furniture and draperies away from the heaters, and leave at least a three-inch clearance under the heating unit.
10.  Keep curtains and blinds closed at night to keep cold air out, but open them during the day to let the sun warm the room.
11.  Avoid using space heaters, including electric, kerosene or propane models. Not only are they expensive to operate, they're also very dangerous.
12.  If you have hardwood or tile floors, add area rugs to keep your feet warm.
13.  If you'll be going on vacation, lower the thermostat to 55 degrees. This will save energy while preventing water pipes from freezing.
14.  If you have a wood-burning fireplace, have the chimney cleaned and inspected regularly, and burn only fully dried hardwoods to produce the most heat output.
15.  Check the seal on the damper by closing it off and holding a piece of tissue paper inside the firebox. If drafts blow the tissue around, repair or replace the damper.
16.  When using the fireplace, turn down the furnace to 55 degrees. If you don't, all the warm air from the furnace will go right up the chimney, wasting energy and money.
17.  Add fireproof caulk where the chimney meets the wall, inside and outside.
18.  When the fireplace is not in use, make sure fireplace dampers are sealed tight, and keep the glass doors closed. If you never use your fireplace, plug the chimney with fiberglass insulation and seal the doors with silicone caulk.
19.  Check insulation levels throughout your house. Measure attic insulation with a ruler, and check behind switch plates for sidewall insulation.
20.  Install more attic insulation. Upgrading from three inches to 12 inches can cut heating costs by 20 percent, and cooling costs by 10 percent.
21.  Add pieces of batt insulation to the rim joists - the area along the top of the foundation where it meets the exterior walls.
22.  If your basement is unheated, install blanket insulation in between exposed floor joists.
23.  Choose the new "no-itch" or poly-wrapped insulation products. They're much easier to handle and safer to work with - making them worth the extra cost.
24.  Install additional attic insulation at right angles to the previous layer. You don't have to use the same type of insulation - it's fine to use batts or blankets over loose-fill, or vice versa.
25.  When using loose-fill, be sure to distribute the insulation evenly. Any inconsistencies can reduce the insulating value.
26.  While shopping for insulation, remember that R-value measures the amount of thermal resistance. The higher the R-value, the better the insulation.
27.  Never cover attic vents or recessed light fixtures with insulation, and allow a three-inch clearance around chimneys and flue pipes to prevent overheating and avoid the risk of fire.
28.  Have a leaky roof repaired and make sure your basement is waterproofed. Wet insulation is worthless.
29.  Maintain your central air conditioner by cleaning the outside compressor with a garden hose (be sure to shut off power at the fuse or breaker first). Keep plantings at least one foot away for adequate airflow.
30.  During late afternoon and early evening, turn off unnecessary lights and wait to use heat-producing appliances. It's also a good idea to shade south- and west- facing windows during the hottest part of the day.
31.  Plant a tree. One well-placed shade tree can reduce your cooling costs by 25 percent. For maximum benefit, place leafy shade trees to the south and west, and evergreens to the north.
32.  Use ceiling fans to help circulate air throughout the house, and make sure your attic is properly ventilated. A ceiling fan should run clockwise during the summer, and counter-clockwise during the winter.
33.  Set the fan on your central air conditioner to "on" rather than "auto." This will circulate air continuously, keeping the temperature more even throughout the house and aiding in dehumidification.
34.  Make sure your window air conditioner is the proper size. It's better to get one that's too small than too large - a larger unit will start up and turn off more frequently and won't do as good a job dehumidifying the air.
35.  Don't judge the efficiency of your air conditioner by the sound of the fan shutting on and off. The blower will continue to circulate cooled air throughout your home up to 15 minutes after the compressor has stopped. (The same holds true for the furnace.)
36.  Raise the thermostat to about 78 to 80 degrees whenever you go to bed or leave the house. A programmable thermostat will do this for you automatically.
37.  If your home can't accommodate central air conditioning, try a whole-house attic fan. This device pushes hot air out through attic vents, lowering the temperature throughout your home about five degrees in less than ten minutes. Attic fans cost less than 25 cents per day to operate.
38.  During the winter, remove window air conditioners and seal the windows with caulk and weatherstripping. You might also want to cover the central air compressor with a tarp to keep it clean.
39.  Seal doors and windows with caulk, weatherstripping and plastic film. An investment of $50 in weatherizing supplies can reduce heating costs by two to three times that much. Don't forget the basement windows!
40.  Add foam gaskets behind all outlet covers and switch plates, and use safety plugs in all unused outlets. These are prime places for outside air to leak into your home. Be sure to shut off power at the fuse box or circuit panel first.
41.  Check the exterior of your home for air leaks, especially around openings for water spigots, air conditioner hoses, dryer vents and gas pipes. Use caulk or expanding foam to seal spaces.
42.  If your home has a large, single-pane picture window, use heavy draperies during the winter to help hold back cold air.
43.  Reflective window film can help reduce heat gain during the summer, and it will keep furniture and carpets from fading.
44.  Check window panes to see if they need new glazing. If the glass is loose, replace the putty holding the pane in place. Most types of window glazing require painting for a proper seal.
45.  If drafts sneak in under exterior doors, replace the threshold. If that's not practical, block the drafts with a rolled-up towel or blanket.
46.  Seal the edges of unused doors and windows with rope caulk. Don't seal them shut permanently - you might need quick ventilation or escape during an emergency.
47.  Choose the right kind of caulk for the job. Use latex or acrylic caulk inside - it's easy to clean and more forgiving if you're a beginner. Silicone caulk is great for outside use because it lasts longer and seals virtually any type of surface.
48.  Don't forget to weatherize the attic access. Secure batt insulation to the back of the hatch or door, and use weatherstripping to seal the opening.
49.  Set the water heater temperature at 120 degrees - about halfway between low and medium. This will help save energy and prevent scalding, while keeping unhealthy bacteria from growing.
50.  Install a water-saving showerhead. Don't worry - it won't reduce your water pressure. A family of four, each taking a five-minute shower a day, can save $250 a year in water heating costs by switching to a low-flow showerhead.
51.  Fix leaky faucets, especially if it's a hot water faucet. One drop per second can add up to 165 gallons a month - that's more than one person uses in two weeks.
52.  Use aerators on kitchen and bathroom sink faucets. If you have hard water, clean aerators and showerheads with vinegar regularly to reduce deposits and build-up.
53.  Take showers, not baths. A five-minute shower will use about 7.5 gallons of hot water, while filling a bathtub can use up to 20 gallons.
54.  If your water heater is more than 15 years old, install an insulating wrap to reduce "standby" heat loss. It's also a good idea to insulate hot water pipes where they're accessible.
55.  Use smaller kitchen appliances whenever possible. Microwaves, toaster ovens and slow-cookers can use 75 percent less energy than a large electric oven.
56.  Vacuum the refrigerator coils about twice a year to keep the compressor running efficiently.
57.  As your mother always told you, don't leave the refrigerator door open. Every time it's opened, up to 30 percent of the cooled air can escape. The same rule holds for the oven, too.
58.  Keep the refrigerator temperature about 36-38 degrees, and the freezer at 0-5 degrees.
59.  Don't overload the refrigerator or freezer. The cold air needs to circulate freely to keep foods at the proper temperature.
60.  Make sure the refrigerator is level, so the door automatically swings shut instead of open. If the floor isn't level, use shims to prop up the front of the refrigerator.
61.  Don't worry about placing hot leftovers in the refrigerator. It won't affect energy use significantly, and cooling food to room temperature first can increase the chance of food-borne illnesses.
62.  Check the seal on your refrigerator door by closing it on a dollar bill. If you can pull the bill out easily, it's time to replace the gaskets. You can purchase a replacement kit from an appliance dealer or a home center.
63.  Use your oven's self-cleaning feature immediately after cooking, while the oven is still hot. This will reduce a lengthy warm-up time.
64.  Use lids on pots and pans to reduce cooking times, and don't put a small pan on a large burner.
65.  Keep the grease plates under range burners clean to reflect heat more efficiently.
66.  Run the dishwasher only with full loads, and use the air-dry cycle. If your dishwasher has a "booster" water heater, use it; this will heat the water to the 140 degrees recommended by manufacturers, while maintaining an energy-saving 120 degrees on your primary water heater.
67.  Wash only full loads of clothes, and be sure to set the water level appropriately.
68.  Use hot water only for very dirty loads, and always use cold water for the rinse cycle.
69.  Clean the lint screen on the dryer every time you use the machine. A clogged lint screen can make your dryer use up to 30 percent more energy - and it can be a fire hazard.
70.  Remove clothes from the dryer while they're still damp and hang them up. This will save energy, prevent static and reduce wrinkles and shrinkage.
71.  Dry one load of clothes immediately after another. This will minimize heat loss, reducing warm-up and drying times.
72.  Switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs. These bulbs use 75 percent less energy than typical incandescents, and they last 10 times longer.
73.  Look for a compact fluorescent wattage that's about one-third of the incandescent wattage you usually use.
74.  Use lighting control devices like dimmers, motion detectors, occupancy sensors, photocells and timers to provide light only when you need it.
75.  Keep lamps away from thermostats; the heat produced can cause your furnace to run less than needed or your air conditioner more than needed.
76.  Dust light fixtures regularly. A heavy coat of dust can block up to 50 percent of the light output.
77.  Use only a single bulb in a multi-socket fixture. Be sure to check the maximum wattage the fixture allows.
78.  Replace an incandescent outdoor light or high-intensity floodlight with a high-pressure sodium fixture. The bulbs will last longer, use less energy, and handle temperature extremes better.
79.  Use low-voltage lighting kits to light walkways, patios and decks. The soft light will also attract fewer annoying insects.
80.  Decorate with pale colors on walls, ceilings and floors. Soft tones reflect more light, so you can use lower wattage bulbs and delay turning on lights until later in the day. Using high-gloss paint can help as well.
81.  Read light bulb packages carefully. Watts measure the amount of energy needed; lumens measure how much light a bulb produces. Energy-saving bulbs produce more lumens per watt of electricity used.
82.  Get rid of spare refrigerators or freezers. An extra appliance can add more than $100 to your energy bills every year, and it's a safety hazard for small children.
83.  Keep outdoor hot tubs covered when not in use. If you have a pool, use a solar cover to use the natural warmth of the sun to heat the water.
84.  Keep waterbeds covered with quilts or blankets to help retain their heat. You might also want to insulate the bottom with a sheet of rigid foam insulation.
85.  Keep the garage door closed, especially during the winter.
86.  If you need a new lawn mower, consider an electric model. They're less expensive to operate (about three cents of electricity per use), 75 percent quieter, and they significantly reduce toxic emissions.
87.  Instead of air-polluting and expensive charcoal or propane, try an electric or natural gas grill. They're more economical and more convenient - you'll never run out of fuel.
88.  Unplug any electrical device that's not being used. Many appliances, especially computers, televisions and VCRs draw power even when turned off.
89.  Place humidifiers and dehumidifiers away from walls and bulky furniture. These appliances work best when air circulates freely around them. Be sure to clean the unit often to prevent unhealthy mold and bacteria from developing.
90.  If your home has no sidewall insulation, place heavy furniture like bookshelves, armoires and sofas along exterior walls, and use decorative quilts as wall hangings. This will help block cold air.
91.  When you take a vacation, don't forget to give your appliances a rest too. Turn off and unplug everything you can, set your water heater to the lowest setting and shut off the water supply to the dishwasher and washing machine.      
92.  Remember that it pays to invest in energy efficiency. In some cases, the money you save in energy costs can pay back the purchase price in just a few years.
93.  Always read the Energy Guide label carefully, and make sure you're comparing "apples to apples." Energy use can range significantly even within a single brand.
94.  Choose the capacity that's right for your family. Whether it's a furnace or a refrigerator, it doesn't pay to purchase a unit that's too large or too small.
95.  In almost every case, a natural gas appliance is more economical to use than an electric model. The $50-75 price difference can be paid back in energy savings in less than a year.
96.  Replace inefficient appliances - even if they're still working. An aging water heater or refrigerator could be costing you much more than you think. If your central air conditioner is more than 10 years old, replacing it with a high-efficiency new unit will cut your summer electric bills by about one-third.
97.  Shop during the off-season. Many heating and cooling manufacturers offer significant rebates during seasonal sales promotions, and dealers may charge less for installation.
98.  Investigate new technology carefully. Some innovations, like convection ovens or argon-filled windows, may save energy and make life more convenient; others, such as commercial-grade kitchen appliances, might be merely expensive cosmetic enhancements.
99.  Look for the "EnergyStar" logo. This designation from the Environmental Protection Agency means that the appliance exceeds minimum federal energy- use standards, usually by a significant amount.
100.  Don't forget to ask about warranties, service contracts, and delivery and installation costs.
101.  Be sure to choose a reputable and knowledgeable dealer. A good dealer should be able to help you calculate energy savings and the payback period, and he or she should offer you a range of brands and prices. 

Visit Sandium.Com to get an energy audit on your home and learn how you can save more money on your energy bills.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Carrier Achieves Breakthrough with Industry’s Highest Efficiency and Quietest Gas Furnace Models



INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA
, April 11, 2012 – Carrier’s latest innovations to its Infinity® 98 gas furnace linetop the industry, providing consumers with the most efficient furnace and the quietest furnace in the industry. Carrier, the world’s leader in high technology heating, air-conditioning and refrigeration solutions, is a part of UTC Climate, Controls & Security, a unit of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX).
The Infinity gas furnace line with Greenspeed™ intelligence combines modulating and variable-speed technologies with a communicating control system to constantly adapt to a home’s conditions.
“The Infinity 98 fully modulating gas furnace, in the 60,000 Btuh, 5-ton size, is the most efficient gas furnace a consumer can buy with an Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) of 98.5 percent*,” said John Gibbons, director of product and platform strategy, Carrier. “This means that 98.5 cents of every dollar spent on gas goes directly to heating the home. This is a tremendous accomplishment in the efficiency level and cost savings associated with gas furnaces, especially when standard furnaces typically waste 20 cents or more per dollar spent on heating costs.”
Unveiled in the fall of 2011, the initial launch of the Infinity gas furnace line included 60,000 and 80,000 Btuh models in the 3.5-ton size, a 100,000 Btuh model in the 5-ton size and a 120,000 Btuh model in the 5.5-ton size – all delivering precise comfort with reduced energy use. Instead of blasting a home with heat in a perpetual “on”/ “off” cycle, Infinity gas furnaces with Greenspeed intelligence operate at a gentle, low capacity up to 90 percent of the time. When combined with an Infinity® control, the modulating gas valve in the Infinity 98 furnace can adjust heating output up and down through multiple stages in one-percent increments from 40 up to 100 percent of capacity to more accurately match comfort needs while increasing the energy efficiency of the furnace.
“Two of the Infinity 98 furnaces included in our initial launch have already been recognized as the Most Efficient of ENERGY STAR® in 2012 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA),” said Tom Archer, manager of heating and indoor air quality product marketing, Carrier. “Now, we are building on that success with the expansion of the Infinity 98 gas furnace line to include additional sizes and the most energy efficient furnace in the industry, with an AFUE of 98.5 percent.”* According to the criteria set by the EPA’s ENERGY STAR program, products recognized as ENERGY STAR Most Efficient 2012 demonstrate efficiency performance that is truly exceptional, inspirational or leading edge, and already qualify for the ENERGY STAR label.
The expansion of the Carrier Infinity 98 gas furnace line has also resulted in the quietest gas furnace in the industry.** The furnace’s quiet operation is made possible by technology that distributes heated air at the lowest possible setting for the majority of the heating season. In low-fire mode, where the furnace operates most often, it is very quiet, less than the sound of a running refrigerator.
“I am pleased to announce that Carrier has engineered the most energy efficient and the quietest gas furnaces in the industry,” said Chris Nelson, vice president of sales and marketing, Carrier Residential and Commercial Systems. “It is another reason why Carrier is a pioneer in the industry. We continually strive to ‘raise the bar’ for our customers in terms of product efficiency, quality and innovation.”
For more information on the Infinity 98 fully modulating gas furnace line or other Carrier products, call 1-800-CARRIER or go to www.residential.carrier.com to find a local Factory Authorized Dealer in your area.
* The Carrier® Infinity® 98 gas furnace (Model 59MN7A060V21-20) is the most efficient furnace at 98.5% AFUE. 
**Based on sound level testing of the Carrier 59MN7A060V17-14 and leading competitive gas furnaces during steady-state, high-fire and low-fire operation. For more information regarding the testing results and procedure, visit www.cacfurnaces.com.

About Carrier

Carrier is the world’s leader in high technology heating, air-conditioning and refrigeration solutions. Carrier experts provide sustainable solutions, integrating energy-efficient products, building controls, and energy services for residential, commercial, retail, transport and foodservice customers. Founded by the inventor of modern air conditioning, Carrier improves the world around us through engineered innovation and environmental stewardship. Carrier is a part of UTC Climate, Controls & Security, a unit of United Technologies Corp., a leading provider to the aerospace and building systems industries worldwide. Visit www.carrier.com for more information.
If you live in the South Bay Area of California and would like to learn more about Carrier Gas Furnaces please visit Sandium.Com

Friday, July 6, 2012

Insulation Types



Insulation Guide - Think carefully about the location you want to insulate and decide what your main goal is.  Are you trying to seal air leaks, add R-value, or reflect radiant heat?   Will the insulation be  susceptible to moisture, sunlight, insects or rodents?  Is there a specific problem you are trying to solve like condensation, mold, pipe freeze-ups or ice dams?  With these factors in mind look for the best insulation type for your situation.

Batt or Roll Insulation
Common Name(s):Fiberglass,  fiberglass batts, batts, "the pink stuff"
R-value per Inch: around 3.2
Strengths or Best Use: low cost, readily available at local stores, easy DIY installation, there is little left unknown about this product- time tested, can handle small amounts of moisture, naturally fire resistant (needs noadditional chemicals), use in standard framing spacing and wide cavities, some brands have high recycled content
Weaknesses:not very air tight, subject to air movement around and through the batts, low r-value per inch in narrow cavities, fibers can lead to poor indoor air quality (rare), brands containing formaldehyde off gas over time, itches like crazy during install, nesting material for rodents

Common Name(s): High density fiberglass
R-value per Inch:3.6 - 4
Strengths or Best Use: easy DIY installation, not damaged by moderate moisture contact, naturally fire resistant (needsno additional chemicals), moderate availability
Weaknesses:not very air tight, subject to air movement around the batts, low r-value per inch in narrow cavities, fibers can lead to poorindoor air quality (rare), itches like crazy during install

Common Name(s):Recycled denim, blue jean insulation, recycled cotton
R-value per Inch:3.4 - 3.8
Strengths or Best Use: high recycled content, DIY installation, not itchy during install, good sound deadening
Weaknesses:expensive, not very air tight, subject to air movement around and through the batts, low r-value per inch in narrow cavities, will absorb moisture and suffer damage if wet, not available everywhere, nesting material for rodents, batts are not sized for standard construction and are difficult to cut

Common Name(s):Cotton batts, cotton insulation
R-value per Inch:3.4 - 3.8
Strengths or Best Use: made from natural fibers, easy DIYinstallation, not itchy during install, can be installed at any temperature
Weaknesses: not very air tight, subject to air movement around and through the batts, low r-value per inch in narrow cavities, will absorb moisture and suffer damage if wet, nesting material for rodents

Common Name(s):Sheep's wool batts, sheep's wool
R-value per Inch: about 3.5
Strengths or Best Use: made from natural fibers, easy DIY installation, not itchy during install
Weaknesses:not very air tight, subject to air movement around and through the batts, low r-value per inch in narrow cavities, will absorb moisture and suffer damage if wet, not fully tested by time and ASTM, not widely available, expensive compared to other batt products, subject to moth damage if not properly treated

Common Name(s):Mineral wool batts, mineral wool, rock wool, slag wool
R-value per Inch: about 3.7
Strengths or Best Use: high recycled content, easy DIY installation, naturally fire resistant and can be used in close contact with stoves and chimneys, not damaged by moderate moisture contact
Weaknesses: not very air tight, subject to air movement around the batts, not widely available, fibers can cause indoor air quality problems (rare), itchy to install
Loose Fill or Blown Insulation
Common Name(s):Cellulose, recycled paper insulation, newsprint insulation
R-value per Inch:about 3.5
Strengths or Best Use: low cost, high recycled content, DIY installation with rental machine, covers non uniform surfaces, good for attics with lots of cavity space, widely available, good sound deadening
Weaknesses:not very air tight, air can flow through the insulation especially when coverage is light, fibers can cause indoor air quality problems (rare), good nesting material for rodents, permanently damaged if it gets wet, does not dry quickly, metal corrosion problems have been attributed to boric acid (fire resistant chemicals) leaching out of wet cellulose 

Common Name(s):Fiberglass, blown in fiberglass, blown in blankets
R-value per Inch:2.8 - 3
Strengths or Best Use: low cost, DIY installation with rental machine, naturally fire resistant (needs no additional chemicals), not damaged by moderate moisture contact, covers non uniform surfaces, good for attics with lots of cavity space, widely available, some brands have high recycled content
Weaknesses:not very air tight, air can flow through the insulationespecially when coverage is light, fibers can cause indoor air quality problems (rare), itchy to install, good nesting material for rodents, brands containing formaldehyde off gas over time 

Common Name(s):Cotton, blown in cotton, blown in blankets
R-value per Inch:about 3
Strengths or Best Use: made from natural fibers, DIY installation with rental machine, covers non uniform surfaces, good for attics with lots of cavity space, widely available 
Weaknesses:not very air tight, air can flow through the insulation especially when coverage is light, good nesting material for rodents, permanently damaged if it gets wet, does not dry quickly

Common Name(s):Blown in batts, BIBs, blown fiber with binder
R-value per Inch:3.5 - 4
Strengths or Best Use: good for wall installations except locations susceptible to moisture, readily available, minimal trim waste, good sound deadening, moderate airtightness
Weaknesses:not DIY friendly, 

Common Name(s):Mineral wool, rock wool, slag wool
R-value per Inch:about 2.8
Strengths or Best Use: high recycled content, naturally fire resistant and can be used in close contact with stoves and chimneys, not damaged by moderate moisture contact
Weaknesses:not very air tight, air can flow through the insulation especially when coverage is light, not available everywhere, fibers can cause indoor air quality problems (rare), itchy to install

Common Name(s):Vermiculite
R-value per Inch:about 2
Strengths or Best Use: naturally fire resistant and can be used inclose contact with stoves and chimneys, not damaged by moderate moisture contact, still used for insulating concrete block 
Weaknesses:not very air tight, air can flow through the insulationespecially when coverage is light, not available everywhere, some vermiculite is contaminated with asbestos depending on where it was mined, not used much for home insulation anymore but it may be found in older homes 

Common Name(s):Perlite
R-value per Inch:2.5 - 3
Strengths or Best Use: naturally fire resistant and can be used in close contact with stoves and chimneys, not damaged by moderate moisture contact, still used for insulating concrete block
Weaknesses: not very air tight, air can flow through the insulation especially when coverage is light, not available everywhere, not used much for home insulation anymore but it may be found in older homes
Rigid Board Insulation
Common Name(s):Polyisocyanurate, polyiso board
R-value per Inch:6 - 7
Strengths or Best Use: high R-value, readily available at local stores, easy DIY installation, can be airtight if sealed/taped at the seams, good for narrow spaces that still need high R-value, air can go around but not through this insulation
Weaknesses: Expensive, R-value diminishes slightly over time especially if the foil face is removed, will absorb moisture if wet, degrades in sunlight

Common Name(s):Polystyrene bead board, Styrofoam
R-value per Inch:about 3.5
Strengths or Best Use: readily available at local stores, easy DIY installation, can be airtight if sealed/taped at the seams, air can go around but not through this insulation, used for foundation insulation and under concrete slabs
Weaknesses: Will absorb moisture if wet, degrades in sunlight, not very fire resistant

Common Name(s):Expanded polystyrene, EPS
R-value per Inch:4
Strengths or Best Use: readily available at local stores, easy DIY installation, can be airtight if sealed/taped at the seams, air can go around but not through this insulation, used for foundation insulation and under concrete slabs
Weaknesses: Will absorb moisture if wet, degrades in sunlight, not very fire resistant

Common Name(s):Extruded polystyrene, XPS, blue board, pink board
R-value per Inch:5
Strengths or Best Use: readily available at local stores, easy DIY installation, can be airtight if sealed/taped at the seams, air can go around but not through this insulation, used for foundation insulation and under concrete slabs
Weaknesses: degrades in sunlight, some ants will burrow and nest in XPS, not very fire resistant

Common Name(s):Rigid fiberglass
R-value per Inch:4.4
Strengths or Best Use: easy DIY installation, air can go around but not through this insulation, used for roof  insulation (commercial) and foundation insulation, used in narrow cavities, not susceptible to moisture damage, naturally fire resistant (needs no additional chemicals)
Weaknesses:expensive, not available everywhere

Common Name(s):Phenolic foam boards
R-value per Inch:4.8
Strengths or Best Use: used for roof  insulation (commercial) in the 1980's because it was reasonably priced for a high R-value
Weaknesses: when wet it leached an acid that was corrosive to metal roof decking, no longer distributed


Spray Applied Insulation
Common Name(s):Open-cell polyurethane foam, open-cell, soft foam, half-pound foam
R-value per Inch:3.5 - 4
Strengths or Best Use: air tight installation, good for high efficiency homes and saving energy, good for whole house installations except locations susceptible to moisture, readily available
Weaknesses: more expensive than batts or cellulose, will absorb moisture, not DIY friendly, installation produces excess foam that must be trimmed and disposed of, ongoing debate in industry about fire resistance in exposed applications, subject to minimum and maximum temperature restrictions during installation

Common Name(s):Closed-cell polyurethane foam, closed-cell, hard foam, two-pound foam
R-value per Inch:5 - 6.8
Strengths or Best Use: air tight installation, good for high efficiency homes and saving energy, good for whole house installations especially locations with narrow cavities, readily available, increases structural integrity wherever applied, moisture tolerant, will not absorb moisture, minimal trim waste in standard framing sizes
Weaknesses:expensive, not DIY friendly, ongoing debate in industry about fire resistance in exposed applications, installer experience/training critical as improperly installed foam is prone to failure, subject to minimum and maximum temperature restrictions during installation

Common Name(s):Kit foam, can foam, DIY foam
R-value per Inch:5 - 6
Strengths or Best Use: can be used to air seal large areas or to fully insulate small areas, available for DIY but not necessarily user friendly- some learning curve and requires special respirator filters, available by mail order anywhere
Weaknesses: expensive especially if used for large areas, not user friendly- requires know how to both select right  product and install it properly,  subject to minimum and maximum temperature restrictions during installation

Common Name(s):Wet spray cellulose, spray cellulose, dense pack cellulose ("dense pack" is an incorrect term often used to describe wet spray cellulose, see "dense pack" under injected insulation)
R-value per Inch:3.5 
Strengths or Best Use: high recycled content, tight installation, good for high efficiency homes, good for whole house installations except locations susceptible to moisture, readily available, minimal trim waste
Weaknesses:not DIY friendly, installed wet and concerns about moisture release and mold have surfaced in the industry, adhesion to wall surfaces can break down over time so the tight installation may not be long term
Poured-in or Injected Insulation
Common Name(s):Open-cell polyurethane foam, open-cell injection foam, blown in foam
R-value per Inch: 4
Strengths or Best Use: air tight installation, good for retrofitting existing walls and cathedral ceilings, can bring older homes up to modern efficiencies
Weaknesses: expensive, will absorb moisture, not DIY friendly, not available everywhere, subject to minimum and maximum temperaturerestrictions during installation

Common Name(s):Closed-cell polyurethane foam, closed-cell injection foam, blown in foam
R-value per Inch:5 - 7
Strengths or Best Use: air tight installation, great for retrofitting walls and cathedral slopes and any narrow cavities, can bring older homes up to modern efficiencies, increases structural integrity wherever applied, moisture tolerant, will not absorb moisture
Weaknesses:expensive, not DIY friendly, installer experience/training critical as improperly installed foam can damage walls with expansion pressure, subject to minimum and maximum temperature restrictions during installation, not available everywhere 

Common Name(s):Kit foam, can foam, DIY foam
R-value per Inch:5 - 6
Strengths or Best Use: can be used to fill cavities or to fully insulate small areas, available for DIY but not necessarily user friendly- some learning curve and requires special respirator filters, available by mail order anywhere
Weaknesses:expensive especially if used for large quantities, not user friendly- requires know how to both select right  product and install it properly,  DIY USERS MUST STUDY UP- improper installations can lead to poor mixtures that don't cure or to pushed walls, subject to minimum and maximum temperature restrictions during installation,

Common Name(s): Dense pack cellulose, dense pack
R-value per Inch:3.5 
Strengths or Best Use: high recycled content, tight installation, good for high efficiency homes, good for wall and cathedral ceiling retrofits except locations susceptible to moisture
Weaknesses: expensive, not DIY friendly, installer experience/training important as improper installations can push walls, dense packing spaces under 3" thick is very risky, dense packing against brick can be risky because moisture can migrate through brick 

Common Name(s):Cementitious foam, foamed cement, magnesium silicate
R-value per Inch:3.9
Strengths or Best Use:made from natural materials, tight installation, good for wall retrofits and enclosed cavities and cement block insulation, high fire resistance, not susceptible to moisture damage even though it will absorb moisture
Weaknesses: expensive, not DIY friendly, not available everywhere, friable (fragile and brittle)

Common Name(s):Phenolicfoams
R-value per Inch:4.8
Strengths or Best Use: air is the blowing agent, reasonably priced forretrofit insulation, good for wall retrofits
Weaknesses:not DIY friendly, not available everywhere, reports of shrinkage after installation

Common Name(s):Tripolymerfoams, nitrogen based foams
R-value per Inch:4.6
Strengths or Best Use: water is the blowing agent, reasonably priced for retrofit insulation, good for wall retrofits, good fire resistance, airtight installation
Weaknesses:not DIY friendly, not available everywhere, has a reputation as being chemically related to urea formaldehyde foam which was discontinued for health reasons- issue remains cloudy because manufacturers are not forthright about the chemistry of these foams

Common Name(s):Ureaformaldehyde foam, UF foams
R-value per Inch:4.6
Strengths or Best Use: reasonably priced for retrofit insulation, itwas popular in the 1970's and 80's
Weaknesses:no longer distributed (as far as I know), if found in walls itdisintegrates to the touch, banned after it was found to offgasharmful chemicals over time, should be removed and replaced if you find it in your home  

Radiant Barriers
Common Name(s): Insulative paint, radiant barrier paint
R-value per Inch:unknown
Strengths or Best Use:  none
Weaknesses:radiant barriers are not well understood and little controlled research has been done on their effectiveness, paints in particular are prone to unbelievable claims such as very high R-values- in most cases these are "R-value equivalents," meaning that the radiant heat reflected is "equivalent" to the same amount of heat that would have been lost by conduction. Unfortunately, heat transfer by radiation does not have a direct conversion to transfer by conduction so these R-value equivalents are not accurate comparisons. Insulation-Guide.com regards the claims  of radiant barrier paints as dubious and would like to see more 3rd party data that supports the claims.

Common Name(s): Radiant barriers
R-value per Inch:unknown
Strengths or Best Use: locations prone to radiant heat loss or gain, moreeffective at reducing AC costs than heating costs, most effective in the attic above existing insulation, installed facing up. It also has the advantage of being easier to ship and taking up less trucking and warehouse space and not as irritating to install as fiberglass.
Weaknesses:if the barrier gets a layer of dust in it it's effectiveness isreduced, radiant barriers are not well understood and little controlled research has been done on their effectiveness

Common Name(s): Bubble wrap, reflective foil, bubble foil
R-value per Inch:unknown
Strengths or Best Use: below radiant floor tubing to direct heat towards the occupied space
Weaknesses: not really a primary insulation system by itself

Combination Insulation Systems and Structural Insulation Systems
Common Name(s):Straw bales, straw
R-value per Inch:about 2.4
Strengths or Best Use: made from natural materials, low cost
Weaknesses:not very air tight, subject to air movement around the bales, can't be used in narrow cavities, will absorb moisture and suffer damage if wet, not fully tested by time and ASTM, not for the average DIY project

Common Name(s):Structurally insulated panels, SIPS panels
R-value per Inch:same as EPS (R=4) or closed-cell polyurethane foam (R=6) depending onwhich type of panel you get
Strengths or Best Use: new construction, timber framed homes, highefficiency homes, air tight construction 
Weaknesses:expensive though EPS panels are less than urethane panels, not DIYfriendly, SIPS panels have had problems in the past with rot caused bycondensation at panel seams and poor flashingdetails, moisturemanagement needs to be specifically considered if using SIPS 

Common Name(s):
 Insulated concrete forms, ICF's
R-value per Inch:same as EPS insulation (the concrete mass is often ignored in ther-value calculation because it complicates the situation)
Strengths or Best Use: new construction, above grade walls, basements,crawlspaces, highefficiency homes, homes prone to high winds or earthquakes, ICFs are airtight and structurally strong  
Weaknesses:expensive, not for the average DIY project

Common Name(s):Flash and batt, flash and dash, thin coat of spray foam for air sealing and remaining cavity filled in with less expensive insulation system. 
R-value per Inch:depends on the combination of insulation materials used
Strengths or Best Use: reasonable cost, good for new construction and air tight construction
Weaknesses: the thickness of the foam coat is critical especially in colder climates and should be determined by a building science professional- if the foam is too thin it may lead to condensation inside the wall on really cold days

CommonName(s):Exterior Insulation Finish system, EIFS (pronounced "e-fis"), stucco
R-value per Inch:Typically the same as XPS foam board R=5
Strengths or Best Use: reasonable cost, good for new construction and stucco finished homes, good way to add extra R-value to a wall system, reduces conduction losses through the wall framing
Weaknesses:this system had serious problems with trapped moisture in the 1980's - moisture management is now a regular consideration in EIFS designs

Common Name(s):Advanced framing techniques
R-value per Inch:depends on the combination of insulation materials used
Strengths or Best Use: a set of framing techniques designed to maximize cavity space for insulation, reduce the conduction losses through the "thermal bridges" of the framing, reduce the quantity of framing materials, and reduce air leaks between framing members
Weaknesses:some learning curve for the DIY builder, make sure local code officials approve the building techniques before construction, some of the techniques require building materials not commonly found at local lumber yards

Common Name(s):Airtight drywall
R-value per Inch:n/a
Strengths or Best Use: aframing technique where the drywall is glued to all the framing members and to electrical boxes in order to make it a more effective block to air leaks, good for new construction and air tight construction, this method is sometimes used in conjunction with exterior foam sheathing(below)
Weaknesses:labor intensive, makes later sheetrock removal for renovations difficult

Common Name(s):Exterior foam sheathing
R-value per Inch:same as XPS (R=5) or Polyiso board (R=7) depending on what is used
Strengths or Best Use: Aframing technique where the wood sheathing (typically plywood or OSB) is replaced with  1" to 4" thick rigid foam panels or nail base panels. The wall bays are filled with batts or cellulose.  Also used to add insulation over existing sheathing before new siding is installed. Good for new construction and for retrofits on existing walls during siding replacement, good for reducing conductive losses through the framing   
Weaknesses: In order to maintain wall stiffness and strength metal braces must be used across the studs which is a little more labor than traditional framing, strapping may be required outside of the foam board to make an even surface for siding, windows and doors may have to have jamb extensions to match the added wall thickness

Common Name(s): Double wall construction
R-value per Inch:varies depending on wall thickness and types of insulation used
Strengths or Best Use: A framing technique where a second exterior wall is built inside the main exterior wall. the outer wall typically has a continuous air an vapor barrier, electrical penetrations remain within the inner wall. Both walls and the space between are insulated for a very high total R-value and reduced heat loss through framing members
Weaknesses: increased framing materials, increased labor, some learning curve for the DIY builder, windows and doors have to have jamb extensions to match the added wall thickness 

For more information on what type of insulation is best for you please visit Sandium.Com

Article Courtesy of Insulation-Guide