Advanced actions to save energy

RBC I The Northwest Colorado Energy Diet Challenge continues with this last article on the advanced actions listed in the Energy Diet Challenge checklist.
Of the eight advanced actions listed, five will require detailed planning, additional financial resources and most likely contracting skilled professionals to be effective. The remaining three actions can be completed by either a skilled home owner or a skilled professional. The details below will help you make that decision.
Increase or improve insulation in your attic or basement
Insulation is primarily measured in R-Value. R-Value is an industry term for the resistance to heat flow (cold or hot); i.e. — R40 has twice the heat flow stopping ability of R-20. The ratings are ranked by the higher the R-value the better. Putting insulation on top of thin layers of existing insulation is the first best action the home owner can take; it is easy and effective for the time and effort. Stopping air from flowing in and out is also limited by insulation, the more layers of insulation you have, the less air flows.
There are many types of insulating materials. Some are familiar like the pink stuff and some are lesser known like used denim. Be sure to do your research on the pros and cons of each type under consideration. Not all products are for all applications in the home. Insulation fabrics (the pink stuff and similar) are best known for attic applications. Yet many other products are very effective for closed areas like blown in insulation. The opinion of an experienced professional could aid in this decision.
Have your home air sealed to reduce infiltration
Professional air sealing goes beyond the weather stripping of doors and windows. Air sealing involves defining the air intrusion points in all home locations. Professionals use specific technical devices to find where the air flows and can perform professional air sealing accordingly. Bad air sealing leads to an unhealthy entrapment of stale air and may contain offensive odors. Contact a professional for home air sealing.
Seal and insulate all air ducts
For home owners with forced air heating systems, the sealing and insulating of air ducts will provide a measurable and noticeable difference in home comfort and energy efficiency. For home owners with hot water (boiler or steam) heating systems, wrapping pipes that deliver hot water to the radiating units throughout the home directly increases the heat contained.
Here are some web sites for insulating and sealing for most home applications.
http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=home_sealing.hm_improvement_sealing — A comprehensive review of many methods to accomplish insulation, air sealing and air duct efficiency from the federal government.
http://www.sierraclubgreenhome.com/go-green/air-sealing/air-sealing-and-weatherization/ – Discussion of products, methods, other considerations, potential mistakes and benefits for air sealing and insulation.
http://energy.gov/energysaver/articles/insulation-and-air-sealing-products-and-services – References web sites detailing numerous and varied energy efficiency product within the industry and related professional web links.
We wish you great success in your home Energy Diet efforts. Any success stories are worth sharing with friends, neighbors and family members. Also, send your success stories and energy usage reduction results to info@YampaValley %DataPartners.com.
The Northwest Colorado Energy Diet Challenge Checklist can be found in your local library, city hall, courthouse or chamber or at YampaValleyDataPartners.com.