Friday, May 1, 2009

Insulation and Home Energy Use - This Stuff Really Works!

My home is heated and cooled with a duel system; the upstairs with an air heat pump and the lower levels with a gas furnace and air conditioner. The master bedroom and bedroom over the garage were uncomfortably hot in the summer and cold in the winter. Our energy bills were large enough in the first year of ownership to merit review and we wanted to reduce our overall carbon footprint. The house was built in 2004 and was acquired in 2007. After servicing the heat exchanger and furnace to ensure they were working properly, and verifying that they were appropriately sized for the house, I turned to the Building Envelop Research of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory for guidance. The Oak Ridge National Laboratory performs their Building Envelop Research for the US DOE Department of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. I followed the guidance in their Insulation Fact Sheet. First the attic and accessible areas of the basement and crawl spaces were inspected for adequate insulation. Then following the recommendations by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory the attic, crawl spaces, eves, ductwork, underside of a large portion of the main level floor were insulated with cellulose. The pipes, end caps, knee wall, sump pumps and all identified areas were sealed, the garage was insulated and an insulated garage door installed.

After six months electricity usage (as measured in kilowatts for the same six months the previous year) had been reduced by 6% and the winter liquid propane usage (as measured in volume use December through March both years) was reduced by 25%. Also, the overall comfort in the bedroom over the garage and the master bedroom has been vastly improved. I was very surprised at the energy savings for what was a well insulated home.

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