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, such as energy savings, increased comfort, and more!

Tools & Education

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


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. 


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. 


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


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.


Originally presented by Jay Crandell, P.E. at the 2022 IIBEC International Convention & Tradeshow, this presentation reviews structural wind resistance and water-resistance research supporting various detailing options in the context of new provisions in the latest editions of the IBC and IRC. 

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.

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

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.

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.

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?

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.

Additional Information

This resource provides an overview of recent provisions designed to save builders and homeowners money on measures that improve overall energy efficiency of new residential construction, existing homes, and commercial buildings. The page also includes resources for using FPIS ci to achieve these tax incentives.


In 2022, HERS Raters rated nearly 338,000 homes. This represents an 8 percent increase over the number of ratings in 2021 and marks a decade of year-over-year increase in HERS ratings. The average HERS Index in 2022 was 58, representing a 42 percent improvement in efficiency over a home built in 2006. Since 2013, the average HERS index score has decreased by five points. Eighty percent of all homes rated last year were one- and two-family dwellings and 20 percent were multi-family units.  

This article summarizes a recent study that found investing in simple home insulation upgrades can yield both a more comfortable living space and quite a healthy return. The full report from this Insulation Industry Opportunity Study can be found here.

Energy conservation is the core value proposition of building insulation. The insulation industry delivers a product that cost-effectively optimizes the thermal performance of buildings with insulation materials that are safe to use and promote a clean, low-carbon emissions environment. This statement recognizes the great improvements that the insulation industry has made in reducing its carbon intensity and outlines a common direction and united messaging for the future of these efforts.


This infographic shows how today’s plastics can help architects, owner/managers and specifiers to meet sustainability goals for new and retrofit building solutions in commercial, residential and infrastructure construction.


The presence of an airspace enclosed within a building envelope assembly is known to contribute to the overall thermal performance of the assembly. However, 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. This updated page sheds light on a popular topic.

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

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. 

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.

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.

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.