Wood is an excellent thermal insulator. This is an important characteristic since good thermal insulators help keep buildings cool in the summer and reduce heating costs in the winter. The conduction of heat in wood is directly related to its density.
Woods with low density have the highest thermal insulating value because such woods contain a high proportion of cell cavities. In dry wood, these cavities are filled with air which is one of the best known thermal insulators. With its low density and high proportion of air spaces, Western Red Cedar is the best thermal insulator among the commonly available softwood species and is far superior to brick, concrete and steel. It has a coefficient of thermal conductivity (k value) at 12% mc of 0.74 BTU in. per square ft.h degrees F. The R value ( the reciprocal of k) for Western Red Cedar is 1.35/in. of thickness.
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