Wife and I have put in an offer on a house, and will probably get it.
It has a basement. Two of the walls are below grade, but two are above. About half the basement is finished. It's got paneling, a drop ceiling, and carpet. It was obviously done some years ago, and it seems dry and has no musty smells. I'm planning on leaving that part as is.
The other half is unfinished. Concrete floor and concrete block walls. It appears to stay dry, except one corner where there is an obvious drainage issue on the outside. Hopefully fixing the draining will correct the problem. We're getting a good rain now, so maybe I'll go look tomorrow to see how it's doing.
Anyway, I'm wondering about the merits of insulating the walls of the unfinished space. Obviously having some insulation would help with heating in the winter. I'm thinking the daylight wall would benefit from insulation year round, but the below grade portion might be an advantage in the summer. Given that the earth below grade will be cooler than the upstairs, would it not be beneficial to leave it un-insulated? Cooling is a bigger energy use than heating in our part of the country.
If your going to finish the rest of the basement, then putting insulation in the framed outside walls would be worth it. But if your not finishing it, then it really depends more on comfort. If you are down there a lot, insulation would help for comfort. I believe adding insulation just to save enegry would not bring that great of return.