The Effects of Energy Efficiency Home Improvement

If you own a home that you sometimes find draughty and expensive
to heat – then you could benefit from carrying out energy efficient home
improvements. An energy efficient home is not only more environmentally
responsible, it is also much more economical in the long run. When you
take steps to stop air leaks and improve the insulation in your attic,
basement and walls, these steps can mean your house stays warmer and you
are more comfortable through the winter months when those cold winds
seem to seep in from the outside.

Be assured, steps taken to
improve energy efficiency is likely to be far more beneficial than you
realize particularly in an older home. Indeed, effects are likely to be
as far reaching as helping to create a viable home performance industry
while improving our environment.

What is energy efficient home improvement?

Energy
efficient home improvement is about creating a home that is comfortable
and uses less energy to heat and cool, because it is well sealed
against air leaks and well insulated against heat transfer. When a home
is poorly insulated, the use of a heating system can be undermined by
loss of heat through lack of insulation in the walls and attic, poorly
fitted windows and doors that let in draughts and so on. By taking
measures to correct these problems, you’ll be able to improve the energy
efficiency of your home – and that can mean significant savings on
energy bills. The following are some of the ways in which you can
improve the energy efficiency of your home:

Diagnostic Tools
The best way to address problems in older homes or homes that have few
energy efficiency measures taken during construction is through running
some diagnostic tests to find the home’s ‘weak points’ when it comes to
energy efficiency. These tests can assess how tightly the home is sealed
and pinpoint the locations where hot air is escaping from the home.
These tests examined areas such as ductwork systems, attics/roofs,
basements, exterior wall cavities, utilities entry points and so on.
Ultimately, the tests will determine how efficient or inefficient for
that matter your home is; whether you have drafts that is allowed to
come in unhindered, whether or not you have insulation in your attic or
walls and whether you have insulating windows and well sealed doors etc.

Window insulations –
When you have windows that are not insulated, you can experience loss
of heat in two ways. First, if your windows are older (such as on a
traditional, character home) then you may get heat loss via gaps or
spaces around the window. Second, the home may have single glazed
windows which lose heat via heat transfer. The Repairing or replacing of
older windows with energy efficient ones can help to prevent further
loss of heat; which in turn can improve the comfort of your home. To
address the second issue, you may opt to have the windows double or
triple glazed (using heat reflecting glass), or have polythene
insulation installed to help minimise heat transfer and keep the maximum
amount of heat inside your home. Other applications such as heavy
drapes across the windows during the winter can also further reduce heat
loss to the outside.

Door insulations – If you
have glass doors, then many of the same principles apply to insulating
these as you would your windows. Additionally, draft proofing or weather
stripping is one of the simple things you may want to consider when air
sealing your homes; Preventing draughts from entering rooms also means
preventing heat from escaping. These applications are quick and simple
to install and they can make a big difference to your home. It is also
possible to carry out improvements to your home by having insulated
outer doors installed by a professional. Some of these doors are solid,
sturdy doors that will help to reduce heat loss because they contain
insulation within their core.

Air sealing – This
process refers to the sealing of the less obvious draft spots in the
home. If you have a draft under a door, you may be able to stop it with a
weather strip, but a significant amount of heat loss can take place via
gaps and holes in basements, crawl spaces and attics or lofts. In order
to eliminate heat loss in these locations, it is worthwhile to hire a
contractor to assess your home for leakage, carry out sealing around
areas where leaks are identified is very essential to improving the
home’s energy performance. A professional can seal your home quite
tightly to improve energy efficiency and prevent loss of heat from these
locations.

Duct sealing – If you have reverse
cycle air conditioning ducted system in your home, there is a
possibility that you will experience issues of heat loss via poorly
sealed openings, gaps around the seals of the ducts and so on. If you
have an older home that is prone to be draughty, then chances are you
are letting a lot of money slip through your fingers, heating a home
that is releasing a large proportion of that heat outside conditioned
space. The long-term cost of this could be significant when compared to
the ease of sealing leaky ducts. A professional home performance
improvement contractor can help you assess the loss via the ducts and
other areas and can help you to correct these problems without
inhibiting the function of the system.

Roof/Attic – Insulation
in the attic is one of the most effective insulation procedure; helping
to keep the warmth in during the cold months and the heat out in the
hot months. If you insulate your attic you would be creating one of the
most important cost savers for an energy efficient home,for heat loss
through the attic can account for up to 20% of the loss of heat from the
home. Insulation products for the roof can include traditional fiber
glass or you may opt for a more environmentally friendly option such as
cellulose which is pulverized recycled newspaper treated with fire and
mold spores retardants. This works more efficiently than the regular
fiberglass insulation when dense pack, in addition its production is
less damaging to the environment as it is biodegradable.

Wall insulation – Wall cavities in
your house can act in a similar way to double glazing, dense packed
these cavities with blown-in cellulose insulation and boost the energy
efficiency of your home. Some new homes may have been built with energy
saving measure already in place, however older (existing) homes all
across the country may have to have this done to achieve desired energy
efficiency.

Why energy efficiency matters?

Home
energy efficiency improvement matters and should be aggressively
pursued because of its obvious job creating potentials, its long-term
viability as an emerging building performance industry and its
increasing importance in the drive to reduce green house gases. The
current job market is clearly in need of a ‘shot in the arm.’ There is
little doubt that energy-efficient building improvement has the
explosive job creating potential that is needed now to help right this
economy. Indeed, low-income communities all across this country are full
of unemployed people who could easily be trained is the relatively low
skilled weatherizing techniques.The construction industry, for example,
which has loss over 20 percent of its workforce since 2008 would find
the strong commitment to energy retrofit a welcome development. In
addition, inner-city neighborhoods where older in-efficient buildings
are often the dominant building stock provide a perfect ‘ecosystem’ of
desirable buildings and worker pool. Cities such as Boston in the
Northeast United States has gotten the message and has embark on the
quest to find how to best capitalize on this opportunity.

The
long-term viability of energy efficiency as a building performance
service is attractively promising because of two main reasons. One, to
achieve any plausible reform in our national energy policy, this has to
be a fundamental piece of the equation. It is becoming clearer that the
government recognizes this and is inching its way forward. Cities across
the country are brainstorming for creative programs to solve this
building energy in-efficiency problem. The city of Boston has a proposal
on the table to infrared scan all the buildings in the city to test for
heat loss. Two, The national building stock, residential and
commercial, is woefully energy in-efficient and must be improve or we
will continue to throw money out the window and pollute the environment,
clearly, unsustainable options.

Beyond the considerable potential
for immediate job creation and the creation of a new industry with all
the social benefits attached, reducing climate pollution is an important
bi-product of energy efficiency improvement. According to the Pew
Center on Global Climate Change, buildings account for about 43% of the
total carbon dioxide emissions in the U.S., compared to transportation
32% and industrial 25%. The interesting fact is that activities to
improve building energy efficiency are among the most cost effective
among alternatives to lower green house gases. The truth is, a homeowner
choosing to improve his/her home energy efficiency is in fact
contributing to solving the fundamental environmental, social and
economic issues of our time.

Why should homeowners care about energy efficiency?

As
a homeowner, carrying out improvements to ensure energy efficiency can
quickly start to return the money you’ve out-laid. When you air
seal,insulate and improve the envelope of your home correctly to prevent
the loss of heat, it is effectively cutting out wastage. You wouldn’t
go to a store for basics like bread and milk then throw 20% of it out.
The fact is you’re ‘throwing out’ a huge amount of your heat Without
weatherization and other energy efficient home improvements. If you
don’t like the idea of wastage and you don’t want to continue throwing
away your money, then you should give serious consideration to having
your home weatherize. The correct installation of energy saving
insulation in your attic and basement alone can reduce your energy bill
by around 20 percent or more; add that to the money you will save by
having air sealed, and installed insulated windows and you’ll quickly
see that those savings stacking up. A simple way to get started with
making energy efficient improvements to your home is to contact a
professional. An experienced home performance improvement contractor can
run a series of diagnostic tests to measure your home’s efficiency and
how tightly it is sealed. Armed with this information, you can then take
the steps you must to improve your home’s energy efficiency in order to
start saving the maximum amount of money while enjoying a more
comfortable, healthy home.

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