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Energy Efficiency

The pictures here show very clearly the common spots where warm air from inside the house can leak outside and cold air from outside can leak inside. Leaks from ducts will not only waste money in heating or cooling, but will also introduce undesirable air into the living spaces from attics and crawlspaces which are typically Read More »
Insulation should be applied in: Attic, or roof if there is no attic Crawlspace External facing walls Around ventilation ducts (to at least R-8) Insulation should be applied after careful air sealing to close off all places for air leakage. Except for closed cell foam which acts like a sealant, most insulation materials Read More »
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The Department of Energy has produced a number of simple tools to help homeowners manage their home energy usage and check the safety of certain appliances. This pages provides to links to the most frequently used ones. Read More »

Where Has All The Energy Gone

Many existing home were not built to be as energy efficient as necessary for today and the future. For cost reasons and environmental reason, it is important for us to fix our house to be more energy efficient.

The first chart (source: EPA) shows that close to 70% of energy is used in space heating, space cooling and water heating. The second chart shows the major problems areas where the energy is wasted in heating and cooling. It is quite obvious that that improvement in these areas can reduce energy consumption. They are also best done during a remodel.

Here is a list of things can be done to improve the energy efficiency. They are in order of easy of doing as well as cost effectiveness.

  • Reduce energy consumption. In particular, many electronic devices consume power even when they are in idle or sleep mode. Turn these devices off by using a smart power strip.
  • Air seal, including ducts
  • Add insulation to attic, crawl space, external facing walls and ducts. See insulation information for tips on what and how much to use.
  • Change to energy efficient appliances such as refrigerators, cooktops, dishwashers, laundry machines, when it is time to replace them. Tips on choosing the right appliances can be found here.
  • Change to energy efficient furnace, air conditioners and water heaters when it is time to replace them
  • Change to energy efficient windows. See windows for tips on choosing the right windows.
  • Install renewable energy sources such as solar PV, solar thermal, after taking the above measures.

It also turns out that air sealing and insulation can improve the comfort of the house as the temperature can be maintained more uniformly throughout the house at all times. Better windows can also remove that chilling feeling when you get nearer the window.

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