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    Building Your Own Custom Home Series, Part XVII: Insulating Your Custom Home

    Building Your Own Custom Home Series, Part XVII: Insulating Your Custom Home

    We take insulation pretty seriously around here. We always have and we always will. Dad has always done more than required by code which has historically set NDI apart from the crowd.

    In fact, in 2009 we made a commitment to build all of our homes Energy Star Certified. For the next three years, every home we built was Energy Star Certified. It was always fun getting the stickers in the mail. We used my house as the guinea pig in 2008.


    In 2011, the EPA rolled out new requirements for the certification. And even though the new requirements added to our construction costs, we were committed to the Energy Star program and wanted to continue to build our homes with the certification.

    But in 2012, other material costs started coming in and we had to make a decision to either raise our base prices so we could continue offering the certification or make the Energy Star certification an option. Unsure how the market would handle a base price increase, we decided to make the certification an option. And while we no longer get the cool stickers, we still insulate and seal our homes as we did when we started building Energy Star homes.

    All duct work is taped with Mastic.


    All penetrations from plumbing and electrical lines are sealed.


    Garage ceilings adjacent to living space are blown with foam insulation.


    If we’re building a covered porch with living space above, we also use foam.


    The outside walls at bathtubs, showers and fireplaces are blocked with insulated sheathing.


    And we also still do things like:

    R15 Wall Insulation (R13 is code)

    Energy Seal Package (sealing of all exterior walls, doors and windows)


    Energy Saving Windows (LowE glass windows AND argon gas filled)

    House Wrap

    …just like we always have.

    Our homes are so well insulated, most of our clients do not purchase the Energy Star Certification. In fact, we’ve sold one house with the Energy Star option since 2012.

    We’re really proud of the commitment we’ve made to making our homes energy efficient. Even though we don’t get the official sticker anymore, we know we’re giving our clients healthy, energy efficient home they will enjoy.

    Now that we are getting closer to starting drywall, I advise every client to take lots of pictures “behind their walls” before the drywall goes up. You will never again have such a clear picture of where every plumbing pipe is run (could be critical later if you want to hang pictures or (cough) remodel something). And if you want to hire a private home inspector, now would be the time to do it.

    In my next post, I’ll be talking about the home’s exterior, and why it’s one of my favorite.

    Dream Big. Build Smart.

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