One of the most important energy-saving materials in a home is the insulation. Without insulation, many of the other energy-efficient components, like energy efficient heating and cooling equipment and windows, won't perform as intended. Building codes cite the minimal amount of insulation needed by law. In general, more insulation, or insulation with a higher R-value, will help to make the home more efficient and comfortable year round. The best practice for increasing the R-value in exterior walls is to protect them with insulated foam sheathing.
Advantages of insulated foam sheathing is that, when properly installed, provides moisture control. It protects against condensation on the inside wall by keeping the interior of the wall warmer. Insulated foam sheathing has these additional advantages: 1) Continuous layer of insulation reduces thermal bridging through wood studs, saving energy and improving comfort. Thermal bridging occurs when there is a break in the continuity of the insulation layer, which results in heat loss, 2) It is easier to cut and install than heavier-weight sheathing products, and 3) It usually costs less than plywood or oriented strand board (OSB). As an award winning Asheville NC Custom Builder we like the obvious advantages of insulated sheathing and the added energy efficiency of homes using it. Visit us at http://www.advdevco.com/ashevillencbuilder.html to learn more about energy efficient homes and insulated sheathing.