More insulation than code requires. Building codes specify only the minimum standards required by law. In most cases and in most climates, it is easy and cost-effective to increase the insulation R-value over code by 50%. We used to hear that you would be wasting your money to put in more insulation. That statement is relative to the cost of energy, and the severity of your climate.
Relatively airtight. Although an Energy Star home in the Northwest is allowed to have an air exchange rate of four ACH50; many homes built just a few years ago have an ACH50 between 10 and 15. Brad and Linda’s home was tested by the City of Ashland to have an ACH50 of 1.2.
Minimal thermal bridging. A thermal bridge occurs wherever a building material connects from the inside to the outside of the thermal envelope. Primary examples include framing studs, top and bottom sill plates, and window bucks, all of which interrupt the effectiveness of insulation.