Building Science: Cathedralized Attic Insulation

by Tracy Finley on April 20, 2011

Over the last decade new home construction has changed in many positive ways with energy efficiency leading the way.  New homes are now constructed to be more efficient than ever before.  Here are a few features from the ENERGY STAR® website which we build into our homes:

  • Effective Insulation
  • High-Performance Windows
  • Tight Construction and Ducts
  • Efficient Heating and Cooling Equipment
  • Efficient Products (i.e. lighting, water heaters, appliances)
  • Third Party Verifications

These great improvements mean lower energy bills and greater comfort while protecting our environment! How awesome is that!

At Shea Homes here in Arizona, we are constantly staying ahead of the curve with building science and taking energy efficiency to a higher level for our valued customers.  One aspect of this building science is our adoption of a process we call, “Cathedralized Attic” insulation.  The name alone conjures up images of the most famous cathedrals in the world, doesn’t it!  So what the heck is this you might ask?

A Cathedralized Attic, also known as conditioned attic space, is an unvented attic with the insulation installed between the upper wood members of the roof trusses instead of at the lower wood members above the drywall ceiling (see red area in the drawing below).  As you may be aware, the Arizona heat can be brutal and has historically been known to heat our attic temperatures up to 40 degrees higher than the outside air.  By moving the insulation from the lower members in the attic to the upper members it dramatically changes how your attic will perform.  This method of installation now treats your attic as a semi-conditioned space (see light blue area of drawing below).

Here are just a few of the benefits:

  • In the Summer, the temperature in your attic will be significantly cooler than a typical vented attic
  • Mechanical ducts are now installed in a semi-conditioned space compared to an extremely hot unconditioned attic space
  • Your heating and cooling system will perform with significantly greater efficiency
  • You will experience a more comfortable home during the heating and cooling season
  • A cooler attic space creates less wear on recessed can lighting, plumbing  lines and electrical wires

Oh and by the way, one more benefit for you….…you can save up to 25% off of your heating and cooling bills by having your attic insulated the Shea Way, and of course that means more money in your pocket!!
Cathedralized Attic Insulation

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Jim Bryant August 12, 2017 at 9:57 am

Do you know if there are any companies in Arkansas who use this type of insulation? If you do, would you please email me the names of several. I will be very grateful.
Thank you,


Sheri Troy August 14, 2017 at 4:35 pm

Hi Jim,

Thanks for your question. Unfortunately, we would not be able to provide any information on companies in Arkansas. You may want to conduct an online search for insulation companies/contractors in your area. Thank you.


Thiel September 2, 2018 at 10:00 am

We are looking at purchasing a Shea Home here in AZ. I wanted to know if Shea offers Spray Foam for insulation instead of Blown-in? If not, what is the reason and can it be an option. As you know, the cooling costs during the summer is astronomical and a more effective insulation will alleviate this. I know Toll Brothers uses Spray foam.

Also is it an option to insulate the garage as well?

Thank you!


Sheri Troy September 5, 2018 at 9:17 am

Hello Thiel,

Thanks for your comments. Please give us a call and let us know if there’s a specific Shea Homes community that you’re interested in. We can then provide additional details for you on energy efficiency features available. We’re here 7 days a week at: 866.696.7432. Thank you!


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