I was perusing the Home Energy Pros posts as I often do and ran across a post regarding a radiant barrier insulation product Costco was offering. http://homeenergypros.lbl.gov/forum/topics/what-is-costco-doing

There were some negative comments from the group regarding claims of energy savings and product selection. I did not disagree with them but looking at the video I thought the workmanship looked pretty good and thought that while they were only adding R-11 it might do the home owner some good if they performed some duct sealing, air sealing and insulation realignment before applying the product.

I then found their website and looked and thought nice slick and easy. Well put together and easy to get around. I notice they have a number of products such as insulation, air sealing, a refrigerant charge check. Although many of these things are using proprietary name brands with some dubious marketing, however solid recommendations and not all smoke and (see radiant barrier) mirrors.

I then move to their FAQ page an find this little gem


Why don’t building codes specify E-values as well as R-values?


In the last century, the only cost-effective insulation for the home was mass insulation like fiberglass, cellulose and foam that reduced heat transfer by convection and conduction. The was the measure of how good a job those insulators did. Yet R-value measures only the smallest part of residential heat transfer. E-value is the measure of emissivity, radiant heat transfer, the principle source of energy loss. New technologies make it practical to achieve extremely low emissivity in window glass and in a reflective film ideal for the attic. As these low-E technologies advance, the codes will catch up and E-value will replace R-value as the primary measure of energy efficiency

Ok now I have a bit more of an issue than my original glance at their product offering. The above statement was pulled straight from the website is for lack of a better word is ridiculous. Why would intelligent people print this statement? Is it so difficult to sell their product that they have to take solid science and twist it into half and even non-truths and then push forward with serious leaps of faith for conclusions?

As we push forward in this industry I think that good marketing is important. I personally lack this ability as I have struggled with finding my groove. If in order to sell my service I need to misinform and practice dubious marketing I choose not to play.


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The radiant barrier industry has long been guilty of misrepresentation from its inception and often flagrantly violates the FTC R-value Rule. The Rule applies equally to professional installers as to manufacturers and retailers, so it's important not to be misled and put these false claims on your own website or advertising.

In the late 1970s, exaggerated claims by insulation marketers were so common that the U.S. Congress passed a consumer-protection law specifically addressing R-value scams. Although false marketing claims were already illegal, Congress concluded that R-value scams were so rampant and damaging to consumers that the industry needed targeted regulation.

Since 1979, the Federal R-Value Rule (16 CFR Part 460, “Trade Regulation Rule Concerning the Labeling and Advertising of Home Insulation”) has regulated how insulation manufacturers, distributors, and installers test, label, and market residential insulation products. Under the law, all claims concerning the R-value of residential insulation must be based on certain listed ASTM test procedures.

The R-value is a measure of unit thermal resistance used in the building and construction industry. Under uniform conditions it is the ratio of the temperature difference across an insulator and the heat flux (heat flow per unit area) through it. It measures a combination of all heat flux mechanisms, including conductive, internal convective and internal radiant.


Hampton Newsome, FTC attorney, December 13, 2004:

"The FTC's Rule for Labeling and Advertising of Home Insulation ("R-value" Rule) (16 C.F.R. Part 460) applies to sellers of residential insulation. The Rule states that R-values given on labels, fact sheets, ads, or other promotional material must be based on uniform R-value test procedures that measure thermal performance under "steady-state" (i.e. static) conditions. Section 460.5 of the Rule specifies the tests manufacturers must use for their insulation products, including specific tests for reflective insulations (see 16 C.F.R. § 460.5(b), (c) & (d)). Manufacturers and others who sell home insulation must disclose each products' R-value and related information (e.g. thickness, coverage area per package) on package labels and manufacturer's fact sheets. In addition, the Rule requires that specific disclosures be made: (1) by professional installers and new home sellers on receipts or contracts; and (2) by manufacturers, professional installers, and retailers in advertising and other promotional materials (including those on the internet) that contain R-value, price, thickness, or energy-saving claim or compare one type of insulation to another. Finally, manufacturers and other sellers must have a "reasonable basis" for any energy-saving claims they make for their insulation products."

"The FTC's R-value Rule covers reflective insulations and radiant barrier products. The Rule requires that industry members use specific test procedures for measuring the R-value of reflective insulations with single and multiple sheets. R-value claims are not appropriate for radiant barrier products, however, because no generally accepted test procedure exists to determine their R-value. Sellers who nevertheless make energy-savings claims for radiant barrier insulations must have a reasonable basis for the claims under section 460.19(a) of the Rule."


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