It’s Not Easy Being Green

We have foam.  Actually we have extruded polystyrene rigid insulation; and a lot of it.  I ordered all our rigid insulation and it was delivered today.  Insulation Depot supplied us with enough recycled rigid insulation for under our slab floors and the entire exterior (assuming I calculated correctly).  It comes in on a tractor trailer and I had my rag-tag crew of worker bees out there bright and early this morning to unload it.  Insulation Depot saved me 50% on the cost of my rigid insulation with the added benefit of using recycled material that was diverted from going to a landfill.    The material I got came off of a roof from somewhere on the Eastern seaboard or Mid-Atlantic I suspect.  It was very dirty but no one said it’s always easy being green.

After unloading from the semi truck we reloaded the insulation onto a trailer to haul up to the job site.

 Our load ended up all being 2×8 sheets of recycled blue Dow rigid XPS.  You basically take what they have on hand.  Sometimes you’ll get green or pink insulation boards in varying dimensions.  We’ll be putting the rigid insulation under the concrete slabs.  Even though the earth is a toasty 50+ degrees year round, the insulation will help prevent condensation and keep our floors an even toastier 68+ degrees I’m thinking.  On the exterior walls, our 4″ of rigid insulation will make our walls 10″ thick and give us an additional R-20 on the walls.  It’s all part of our plan to save us up to $1,500 annually versus a regular cookie cutter house built to code.  That’s $45,000 savings in utility costs over the life of a 30 year mortgage.  Not to mention the increased property value.  Also because we’ll be super insulated, our HVAC system doesn’t have to be as robust as what you’d normally put in a 2,800 sq. ft. Ohio home.  The goal is to use the A/C and gas furnace as little as possible throughout the year.  We eventually will have a pellet stove and maybe someday switch to geothermal.  At some point I’ll theoretically be able to switch us off the grid if we wanted to.

Unloading 2x8 sheets at the job site. Dirty work but luckily we had Corky out there along with Tony (one of our builders), the wife, my dad and my niece to help. They pitched in without complaint. We were up to our eyeballs in grime.

 Today was a lot of planning for getting the house up and going; including planning the cement pours, the rough plumbing was started and the steel beam and posts were hopefully ordered.  With the Superior walls and the details we need to implement to make this such a great performing house, traditional planning and task lists need to really be detailed out.  It’s not like a typical house where everything gets “banged out” in a clean linear order.  Everyone involved has had to adjust a little and successful planning is essential.  Kind of preparing for a big football game.  Plays are formulated, and practiced and refined. Most of what we get done in the next two weeks will set the stage for the rest of the project.  After that it should get a lot easier and more conventional.

Self portrait of yours truly, riding in the back of the truck on one of the runs up to the job site. It took about 6 trips total, covering the 1/3 mile length of my driveway. You can see in my eyes that I'm losing my mind.

For more information on using recycled rigid insulation on your project check out Insulation Depot at
They were very helpful and accommodating and I was able to pinpoint my delivery time within an hour so I could have my crew at the ready.  All the insulation is inspected, so we don’t expect any insect damage.  Some pieces will have cutouts from whatever it was used for before.  And some of it was melted a little here and there.  But since it’s going under slab or outside the house it should suffice and is never seen.  It comes in on a semi and you’re responsible for unloading within a 2 hour window.  We unloaded using 6 people in about 45 minutes.  If your insulation is recycled in the traditional sense, plan on it being a dirty job.
Nothing in life that is “worth it” though is easy.

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