Grade I refers to an insulation installation quality rating system developed by RESNET. Using a three grade approach, HERS raters are trained to assess the quality of insulation installation. Grade I is the best, Grade III the worst. According to the Insulation Institute this is different than traditional code inspection of insulation which is done on a pass/fail basis. The institute states that not meeting the Grade I criteria is commonplace. In fact, in a recent field survey, the US Department of Energy found only about half of all homes had Grade I quality. According to the Insulation Institute, the bottom line is, even if a builder’s contract with the insulation installer says that the product will be installed “per manufacturer specifications” this is often not happening. Why should builders care about it? According to the Insulation Institute, if a builder is getting a HERS rating for the home there are a few good reasons to care: Quality matters. Poorly installed insulation can compromise home performance, resulting in higher energy bills for the builder’s customers and increased customer call backs due to comfort issues. Also, allowing poor quality for one trade sends the message to the others that cutting corners is OK. If you show you’re serious about quality, people will sit up and take notice. If you aren’t getting Grade I you are losing HERS points. Sacrificing these points can mean you need to make up for them somewhere else. Conversely, ensuring you get these points can act as a cushion against shortfalls you may encounter elsewhere, for example missing your air leakage target. Many programs require Grade I. Energy Star, DOE Zero Energy Ready Homes and many utility incentive programs require Grade I for eligibility. Not getting Grade I is wasted money. If an installation is Grade III, RESNET software models 5% of your insulated area as uninsulated. That means 5% of the insulation you paid for isn’t being counted towards your HERS score. If you assume you’d spend about $2,600 on batt insulation (2,000 sq. ft. home), a whole home Grade III rating means you lost $130. If you’re constructing multiple homes in a development, that figure adds up quickly. As an educational tool for builders, the Insulation Institute has produced a guide “Grade I Insulation Installation: Why Builders Should Care”. The guide provides: The business case for builders on why insulation installation matters The costs of different insulation installation approaches A “Quality Management” checklist to help builders, raters and insulation contractors collaborate to deliver proper, Grade I installations To down load the manual click on Grade I Insulation Installation: Why Builders Should Care The Insulation Institute has produced a short animated video “Why Proper Insulation Installation Matters” that serves as a teaser for the guide. HERS Raters have told the Insulation Institute that not enough builders are aware of insulation installation quality issues, so they always need to educate them before even talking about specifics of Grade I vs. Grade III etc. It is a “why care” not a “how to”. The video will be of interest to HERS Raters as a tool to help educate their builder customers, with the more detailed guide as the resource to actually help deliver Grade I. To down load the video go to Why Proper Insulation Installation Matters. To learn more, make plans to join us for our free webinar, “Why Proper Insulation Installation Matters” with NAIMA on August 10, at 3 PM Eastern. CLICK HERE to register. The Insulation Institute is a project of NAIMA (North American Insulation Manufacturers Association), the voice of the insulation industry, bringing together North American manufacturers of fiberglass and mineral wool insulation products. Through the Insulation Institute, NAIMA leverages the collective insulation expertise of its organization and its members to empower homeowners and professionals to make informed insulation choices.