It is well known that thermal insulation is a leading strategy for reducing energy consumption associated to heating or cooling processes in buildings. Nevertheless, building insulation can generate high expenditures so that the selection of an optimum insulation thickness requires a detailed energy simulation as well as an economic analysis. In this way, the present study proposes an innovative non-uniform adaptive method to determine the optimal insulation thickness of external walls. First, the method is compared with a reference solution to properly understand the features of the method, which can provide high accuracy with less spatial nodes. Then, the adaptive method is used to simulate the transient heat conduction through the building envelope of buildings located in Brazil, where there is a large potential of energy reduction. Simulations have been efficiently carried out for different wall and roof configurations, showing that the innovative method efficiently provides a gain of 25% on the computer run time.