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Insulation is now required throughout the exterior envelope of buildings (homes) that are Heated or Air Conditioned. Typically fiberglass or mineral wool Batt type insulation was used in the ceilings (attic floor), exterior walls and the main floor (basement ceiling). Any spaces within the structure which were outside the insulation envelope would have to be ventilated. The purpose of attic ventilation is to prevent excessive heat buildup in the attic during warm weather and to prevent condensation of moisture on the roof framing in cold weather. In adequate ventilation of the attic can lead to premature failure of the roof shingles and/or rotting of the roof structure as well as possible mold and mildew. Basements and crawl spaces similarly require ventilation in warm weather to prevent condensation which can lead to rotting framing, mold and mildew and carpenter ant on termite activity.
In many new homes expanding foam insulation is used bonded directly to the roof framing and sheathing and to the basement walls. This leaves no unconditioned space and, therefore, no ventilation is required.