Insulation Choices - Unit 3 – High-Performance Wall Assemblies | U.S. Green Building Council
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Insulation Choices - Unit 3 – High-Performance Wall Assemblies

GBCI: 0910000505

In this third of BuildingGreen's four-part series on insulation, Peter Yost hosts architect and building scientist Steve Baczek in video presentations examining insulation details.
Eligible for 3 CE HOURS.
  • 3 CE

Rating system: v4, v2009

Published on: May 28, 2014

Average: 4.1 (9 votes)


The pros review specific designs in sectional 3-D, examine the individual layers, then explain how the choices specified in each layer relate to each other. The design details in this unit include 2x6 walls with continuous exterior insulation; double walls with cavity-fill insulation; and insulated curtain walls.

Also as part of this course, from BuildingGreen's 2013 "Guide to Insulation Products and Practices," you'll read about key environmental and performance factors for insulation materials; bottom-line insulation material recommendations; and recommended thermal design values for residential new construction.

Information on the additional units in this course can be found here.


  1. Describe key environmental and performance factors for insulation materials.
  2. Recount bottom-line insulation material recommendations and their respective environmental, performance, and cost issues.
  3. Interpret recommended thermal design values for residential new construction.
  4. Choose appropriate insulation materials—and describe their respective salutary effects—for a 2x6 wall with continuous exterior insulation; a double wall with cavity-fill insulation; and an insulated curtain wall.
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Created by

BuildingGreen, Inc.
Brattleboro, VT
United States


Peter Yost

BuildingGreen, Inc.
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Total 11 commentsLeave a comment

Drafter/Designer, Western Design Group


Vice President, Joseph J. Duffy Co., Inc.

a good practical course for exterior wall assemblies.

Principal Architect, Hazen and Sawyer

I liked the conversational style of this course, and the article and tables with insulation recommendations.

Project Manager


Senior Project Architect, HDR, Inc.

The audio quality was not good I could not make out everything that was said. Also it's just two guys talking in front of a TV. The presentation could have been a little more animated with better graphics.

Senior Consultant, HOK

Sound is messed up on Video A.

Sustainability & Building Performance Director, Deerns
Pro Reviewer

Very helpful documentation with information about the efficiency, cost and environmental and safety aspects of a great number of insulation materials. The videos don’t cover that information but they consist on explanations about three different types of assemblies for Wood residential construction.
Even if the content of the videos and the documentation are different and they are not reinforced, both the videos and the documentation contain information that will be valuable, especially for residential architects.
As the rest of the reviewers said, it is an “Intermediate” level course.

Principal / Senior Sustainability Wizard, TLC Engineering for Architecture
Pro Reviewer

As should be expected for content that comes from BuildingGreen, this module is well documented and thoughtfully presented. Definitely "Intermediate" level. As the other reviewers have said, the "Guide to Insulation Products and Practices" is not the subject of the video conversations between Peter Yost and Steve Baczek, at least not in its entirety. Yost and Baczek do a very fine job of discussing and explaining the three interesting wall sections, combining building physics and practical architectural detailing and construction practice - this information that is real, proven and easily applied to real world construction projects. The Guide is a well written resource and successfully completing the quiz will require that you read it carefully and have it at hand when answering the quiz questions.

Architect, Hastings Architecture Associates, LLC
Pro Reviewer

The written content provided and sample wall assembly illustrations contain valuable comparative content. I agree with the previous reviewer that the written content is not tied to the video content. The presenters are very knowledgeable on the subject matter. The videos could be more useful if the presenters zoomed in on the wall assembly areas being discussed in lieu of using a pencil pointer on their monitor or showed construction photos of applicable details. For viewers watching the video, I would recommend having a print out the three assemblies handy to refer to and for note taking. Appropriate Audience: Residential Architects and Builders who use wood-frame construction.

Mechanical Engineer, Naval Facilities Engineering Command

The Navy's IT system can not play the videos. Videos need to be available to download and save to be played also with Microsoft Video Player

Principal, Ecosmith Architecture & Consulting

Both the written content and the video content provided a lot of valuable information. These sources are not well knit together though. The written content covers more the performance, cost, health, and environmental considerations in choosing insulation. Whereas the videos are more concerned with the characteristics, design details, and comparative benefits of various above grade wall assemblies. The topics in the written content are only lightly touched on in the videos. So the content of each, while valuable, is not reinforced. The format of the video presentations is a bit static which required heightened focus from the listener to stay engaged. But staying engaged was worth it as the information conveyed is high quality. The two speakers are clearly knowledgeable on the topic. This course is definitely intermediate level and would be great for residential architects and builders.

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