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Going Hybrid is not Just for Cars

An innovative hybrid insulation system, consisting of three CertainTeed Insulation products, has contributed toward the LEED® Platinum certification of a home featured in the 2008 ENERGY STAR® Summit.

One of the first LEED Platinum homes to be built in Colorado, the Wallace Home stands on the site of the former home of Al Wallace, founder of the Energy Environmental Corporation. Wallace’s family was forced to evacuate on November 22, 2007, when a devastating fire engulfed the original structure. With 10 years experience in the sustainable building industry, Wallace decided to build an energy-efficient, environmentally friendly new home on the site to meet LEED Platinum standards. The home includes CertainTeed Insulation, specified to help achieve the desired LEED Platinum certification.

The CertainTeed hybrid insulation system specified for the project is designed to maximize the home’s energy efficiency, thermal control and moisture management in key areas with the high-efficiency combination of foam insulation, fiber glass insulation and a breathable vapor retarder. The wall cavities in the Wallace Home contain a 1-inch layer of CertainTeed Closed-Cell CertaSpray™ Foam Insulation to form an air barrier, a 4 1/2-inch blown-in layer of OPTIMA® Fiber Glass Insulation and MemBrain™, the Smart Vapor Retarder, which provides unparalleled moisture control for the wall cavity. OPTIMA and MemBrain were also used to insulate the attic rafters. All insulation was installed by Division 7 Quality Insulation Systems, of Denver.

Filling a wall cavity completely with closed-cell foam insulation provides similar R-value and efficiency as the hybrid insulation system, but tends to be a more costly option. The system is catching on across the nation with sustainable builders, who want a more affordable way to boost the R-value in a home and utilize the sustainable attributes of both fiber glass and foam insulation.

“This application combines the air-sealing characteristics of foam insulation with the time-proven performance and lower cost of fiber glass insulation and the superior moisture management of a breathable vapor retarder,” says Randy Straight, Manager of Residential Technical Services for CertainTeed Insulation Group. “CertainTeed is the only company that offers all of these products, providing contractors and homeowners a one-stop resource for insulation needs. The combination of CertaSpray, OPTIMA and MemBrain is ideal for sustainable construction projects, such as the Wallace Home.”

The Energy Environmental Corporation plans to use the new timber-frame LEED certified home as a teaching tool to educate homeowners and building professionals about sustainable practices, systems and products. For more information on this project, visit


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