The Cheapest & Cleanest Energy is Saved Energy
To say energy is a hot topic these days would be an understatement. A dramatic rise in energy prices in the U.S. is putting a strain on households and businesses. We talk about decreasing our dependence on foreign oil and developing new energy sources to create energy independence. And while we all agree we want it, we don’t all agree on how to achieve it. Wind farms, solar panels and electric cars may make the headlines, but the significant impact of these innovations takes time and comes at a serious cost.
What we can do right now is save energy.
Using Existing Energy More Efficiently
Saved energy is reclaiming energy loss in buildings, using our existing energy more efficiently. It is the cheapest and cleanest energy— and it’s available now.
With buildings accounting for 40 percent of energy consumed in the U.S., we must make our building stock as energy efficient as possible.
How to Make Homes More Energy-Efficient
Energy efficiency through enhanced insulation and air sealing is the simplest and most cost-effective way to reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. By reducing the loss of conditioned air, insulation and air sealing slashes carbon dioxide emission by 780 million tons globally every year. This is the equivalent to the annual electricity use of over 90 million homes.
Insulation levels and envelope air tightness are often specified simply to current local building codes. It’s important to be familiar with the codes, but consider the benefits of exceeding the minimum requirements. Increasing the level of insulation and reducing air leakage reduces operating costs for the life of the building, making it more affordable and valuable.
The North American Insulation Manufacturers Association (NAIMA) reports nine out of ten of single-family homes in the U.S. are under-insulated, so chances are high that your house could use some work. Homes built prior to 1960 are particularly vulnerable. The EPA estimates insulation can save homeowners on average 15 percent on monthly heating and cooling bills and 11 percent of your home’s total energy costs.
Insulation Benefits Go Beyond Energy Efficiency
The benefits of insulation and air sealing don’t stop at saving energy. Fiberglass insulation absorbs sound to help maintain a peaceful environment year around. When insulation is installed in between walls and ceilings, the transmission of sound is significantly reduced, both between room to room and from outside to inside.
On top of losing your already conditioned air, outdoor air also brings in water vapor, dust, allergens and many other pollutants which can leave you with poor indoor air quality. According to the EPA, indoor air can be up to five times more polluted than outdoor air. By air sealing any gaps/cracks in a building, you can keep pests, dust and other outdoor pollutants out of your home.
Lastly, a well-insulated home commands a higher market value. Recent studies estimate that there’s a 107% return on investment regarding your home’s value after installing fiberglass insulation in the attic. That means it more than pays for itself in terms of added value to your home.
Home energy efficiency helps you — and all of us — do more while consuming fewer resources. It increases our energy security and reduces the pollution that is emitted from fossil fuels.