The Energy Efficient Home

The Energy Efficient Home

Your money escapes your pocketbook when warm air enters your home in the summer and warm air leaves your home in the winter. Heat losses occur through the ceiling, floor, walls, windows, doors and other cracks or openings, usually where two different materials meet. The best way to weatherize your home is with good insulation and weatherstripping. This will keep money in your pocket, not in the utility company’s.

One way to keep heating and cooling costs from going through the roof is to make sure your attic is properly insulated. Insulation works because there are tiny air pockets, in insulating materials that resist the transfer of heat. The insulation keeps heat inside your home in cold weather. The ability to resist heat flow is measured in R (for Resistance) values. The higher the R, the greater the insulation ability. An energy efficient house will have an R rating of R-19 in the floor, R-15 in the framed walls, R-11 in masonry walls above grade and R-30 in ceilings. A vapor barrier can be a crucial part of any insulating material. Continuous vapor barriers should be installed on the living side of insulation in exterior walls. (4mil polyethelen or foil-backed gypsum board). Attics should have adequate ventilation.

There are two types of insulation, rolled or bats and blown. Blown insulation is usually done in attics and in walls of older homes, where the insulation is inadequate. Bats are normally used in walls of new homes and under floors. Caulking and weatherstripping are two inexpensive tools which can increase your home’s energy efficiency by sealing tiny gaps found throughout your house. Drafts are often found where the exterior wall meets the door frame or windows. Caulking seals these and most other gaps found where two different materials or parts of the house meet.

Some places where caulking is needed:

• Around doors and windows • At corners formed by siding

• Where outdoor faucets meet the house • Where siding meets brick or stone

• Where wires and pipes penetrate the walls or ceilings

An energy efficient heating system, such as an electric heat pump or efficient gas unit should be utilized. Non heat pump air conditioning systems should have a minimum rated energy efficiency of 7.8. Thermostats should be located on interior walls where they will be free of vibration or drafts. Water heaters should be insulated with a minimum of R-7 insulation. Windows and door glass should be double pane glass with an insulating air space between panes.