Insulation Explained

When thinking about insulation and how to keep your tiny house appropriately warm or cool it is easy to get lost in a sea of values, minor math equations, and even types of insulations best suited for your particular region. Because of such, it helps to have a basic understanding of how insulation is measured and just what it means.

Insulation of all types (fiberglass batting, sheep’s wool, closed foam, etc) is rated with an R-value. The R-value measures how well certain building¬†insulation materials¬†can resist heat. In short, the higher the R-value, the greater the insulation performance. Therefore, adding insulation to your ceiling, loft floor, or subfloor, is one the best ways to improve energy efficiency in your tiny house. It can reduce your heating and cooling costs by up to 30% and help maximize the temperature control of your heat and air system.

The map and accompanying chart shows each region of the U.S., the subsequent zones and corresponding R-values.


Think of your favorite parka. When it is cold outside you put on your parka. Once you zip it up that layer of clothing traps in your body heat making you instantly warmer. Insulation is similar in that it traps warmth inside when it’s cold. Here is where it is slightly different though. Insulation also decreases the amount of heat entering from the outside when the temperature is hot. The R-value indicates how well insulation resists heat transfer.

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