Send lawyers guns and money

Poorly fitted cramped insulation batts

It is a fact that if you stuff insulation into tight spaces it will not perform as designed.

The ability of the batt to keep pockets of air captive is greatly reduced. Down goes the R rating, up go your heating and cooling bills.

One of our friends on the internet energy vanguard has walked into a fight. In a recent  post they described a number of the difficulties encountered with insulating a new building. Just like the one shown above. We have also discussed some of the difficulties with the insulation rating process previously. Energy vanguard used very measured language;

Fiberglass batts often result in a (poor) grade .. because the contractor fails to take the time and effort to install them properly. Batts can achieve better grades when installed carefully, i.e., the batts are cut and adapted to the correct dimensions. Building inspectors usually don’t have the time to look at installation quality, though. They look only to see that a home has insulation in the places that need to be insulated and that it’s the correct R-value.

Trouble is energy vanguard received a cease and desist letter from a hired gun;

“Guardian disagrees with [the] assertion that it is difficult to install fiberglass insulation well. … It is Guardian’s position that these comments by your company together with the picture of Guardian’s products constitute libel, slander, and commercial disparagement. … Guardian demands a response to this letter within ten days with regard to (i) Energy Vanguard’s agreement to cease its negative advertising, and (ii) evidence of Energy Vanguard’s statements and their sources. Guardian will aggressively pursue its remedies to the fullest extent permitted by law, and any further conduct by Energy Vanguard of a similar nature will be dealt with accordingly.”

This sort of legal bullshit makes me see red.

Insulation is easy when they are no pipes, noggins, braces, power points, cables and wastes in the wall. Trouble is walls are full of  pipes, noggins, braces, power points, cables and wastes.  A few years spent in  law school is poor training to comment on the sort of workmanship issues we see almost daily. No amount of threatened  litigationwill get those batts fitted correctly. A poorly trained or supervised insulator will either stuff insulation in, believing that some is better than none, or worse still leave it out altogether. So here is my quick checklist, just for any eager legal beavers out there. Got your yellow pad ready?

Insulation checklist

Avoid gaps in insulation, cut neatly

Do not compress bulk insulation, cut it correctly

Allow clearance around power points.

Replace anty insulation removed by later tradesmen

Protect insulation from contact with moisture

Provide a sealed air space with reflective insulation

The original post from energy vanguard is here. It makes for very measured and instructive reading. It should not see its author end up as a defendant in a civil litigation. If you would like to discuss the matter with the gun for hire his email is here michaelmetz@bp.guardian.com

 

I sent him this short note;

Dear Micheal ,

I thought your threats to the Energy Vanguard blog were heavy handed and unprofessional. I have forwarded a copy of this note to your professional association.

Your client should see that  installation problems are a genuine concern in the building industry and it is no reflection on their product or any other insulation batt.

However your client has shown that they have no interest in furthering best practice or even healthy debate on this topic.

Shame on them.

Yours

Marcus T Taylor

buildinginyourblood

Category(s): By Marcus, opinion piece, technical matters
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  • Stan Kuhn

    PLEASE!! No more lawyers!! Guns & money, yes! What did Shakespeare say about lawyers?

    Good on you Marcus!!

  • Paul McGovern

    On Sat, Nov 5, 2011 at 9:41 AM, wrote:

    My letter to Metz from yesterday … suggest everyone write him…

    Mr Metz,
    You would be hard pressed to find building professionals who would dispute Dr. Bailes’ statements regarding the difficulty in achieving a “Grade1″ insulation job with fiberglass batts. It is possible, but extremely rare. In the hundreds of building performance assessments I have conducted, I have yet to see one.
    I, for one, will contribute to Allison’s legal fund should Guardian choose to pursue this further, and I’m sure many others will follow suit.

    Respectfully,
    Paul McGovern
    HERS; BPI BA-EP; CGP;

    • Marcus

      Well done Paul for writing. It is important that make our thoughts known.

  • http://greenhomesamerica.com Mike

    Well said!

    Guardian’s shoot-the-messenger approach won’t help home get built the right way.

    • Marcus

      Threatening to sue also won’t help educate a single installer or builder.

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    • Marcus

      Thanks for your support, it is good to be a pebble in a shoe sometimes!

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    • Marcus

      Thanks Sean, if we educate even one person I will sleep happy.