Adding continuous insulation to a building increases the effective R-value of the building much more than adding a similar amount of non-continuous insulation (such as in stud cavities). This creates results you can feel, and see.

Top Resources:

Learn more about using foam sheathing to Prevent Thermal Bridging and for Green Building.

Tools & Education

Stop Wardrobe Malfunctions: Don't Eat Your Sweater: Continuous Insulation for Code-Compliant & High Performance Walls

Educational presentation covering resources on using continuous insulation for compliance with the building codes and energy codes.

Foam Plastic Insulating Sheathing Products in Type I, II, III or IV Construction

Research report covering the use of foam sheathing when used as exterior wall sheathing or in exterior walls in Type I, II, III, and IV construction as defined by the IBC. Available as a sealed code compliance report. 

Foam Plastic Insulating Sheathing Products in Type V Construction

Research report covering the use of foam sheathing when used as exterior wall sheathing or in exterior walls in Type V construction as defined by the IBC. Available as a sealed code compliance report. 

The Energy Code Myths That Haunt Us

This presentation, given by Jay Crandell (ARES Consulting) and Amy Schmidt (Dow Building and Construction) at the 2018 RESNET Building Performance Conference covers topics in energy code compliance, such as calculating the R-value of a hybrid wall and determining air space performance contributions.

Construction Details for the Use of Foam Plastic Insulating Sheathing (FPIS) in Light-Frame Construction

Code-compliant details for the use of foam sheathing as thermal insulation in light frame construction. Available as a sealed code compliance report. 

Best Practices

Building America Top Innovations 2013 Profile: Exterior Rigid Insulation Best Practices

Field studies by Building America’s research teams show the most effective ways to take advantage of the thermal, air, and vapor resistance properties of rigid foam insulation on walls, roofs, and foundations.

Incorporating Thick Layers of Exterior Rigid Insulation on Walls

Guidance for the use of thick foam (>1-1/2") in wood frame buildings 

Foundation Insulation & Frost Protection

Foam sheathing is a very effective means of insulating the interior or exterior of foundation walls, preventing heat loss and lowering the risk of condensation issues.

ENERGY STAR - Seal and Insulate

The Energy Star website gives guidance on identifying energy saving opportunities, identifying Energy Star approved products, and ways to complete energy saving projects yourself to provide up to a 10% savings on your annual energy bills.

Window Installation in Walls with Foam Sheathing

Four typical methods for window framing are covered here. The installation approaches shown all include windows with integral mounting flanges, and all use taped foam sheathing as the water resistive barrier.

Musings of an Energy Nerd: How Much Insulation Is Too Much?

This 2017 Fine Homebuilding article considers two questions: At what point are envelope improvements a waste of money? And what metrics should we use to determine when enough insulation is enough?

Practical Research

Assessment of Water Vapor Control Methods for Modern Insulated Light-Frame Wall Assemblies Research Report

A comprehensive assessment of the state-of-the-art of water vapor control for modern, code-compliant, light-frame wall assemblies.

Termite Protection Research Report

Evaluates data on termite hazard and inspection effectiveness, as well as the presence of hidden pathways in assemblies with and without exterior insulation. Recommends updates to current building code provisions.

Additional Information

BSI-126: Dirty Harry Does Insulation

Joseph Lstiburek from Building Science Corporation provides valuable insight on understanding the limitations of various insulations.

ASHRAE Position Document on Energy Efficiency in Buildings

This position document makes the case that while reduction in building energy use and improvement in equipment efficiency have both improved substantially in the past 40 years, additional energy use efficiency improvements are not only achievable but often the most costeffective strategies in both new and existing buildings to achieve a more sustainable world.

Save Energy with Rigid-Foam Insulation

A growing number of builders are singing the praises of using rigid-foam insulation between the wall sheathing and the exterior siding, creating a continuous insulating layer. 

Air Space R-Value Resources

The presence of an airspace enclosed within a building envelope assembly is known to contribute to the overall thermal performance of the assembly. But, the actual R-value of an airspace can vary significantly depending on various conditions of use, such as the air-tightness of the assembly of materials enclosing an airspace.

Building Energy Codes Program: Determinations

The U.S. Department of Energy provides an assessment of energy (and carbon emissions) savings of the 2021 IECC and 2019 ASHRAE 90.1 energy codes and standards relative to prior editions.

Comparing Continuous Insulation R-Values in Steel vs. Wood Framing

Seeing impressions of studs in a wall system during an infrared scan is one thing, but how much of a difference does thermal bridging actually make? Well, if your assembly utilizes steel studs, the answer is: A LOT.