Attic - Walls - Floors - Basement - Crawl Space - Insulation
Mar242014

How Adding Insulation Can Save You Money

Published by Rease at 11:17 AM under Blog

Affordable Comfort is in the insulation business, but we are also very passionate about energy efficiency. While calls from unhappy homeowners needing more insulation may make our accountant happy, the cost to the environment weighs heavily upon us. We strive to educate the public about energy efficiency in hopes of preventing more inefficient homes from costing homeowners a fortune in energy bills and leaving massive carbon footprints.

 

We recently visited a brand new home in the St. Louis area. The amount of work this home needed was simply unacceptable considering it was just built.  We’d like to discuss some important things that came up during this house inspection as well as a few others.

 

Just because your home meets the code doesn’t mean it will be comfortable

 

 

 

 

Current codes are outdated. Most builders will only meet the absolute bare minimum, which, in our professional opinion, is simply not enough. For example, code states that when windows and doors account for less than 8% of the total wall area of your home, then the R-Value for attic insulation required to meet code would be R-30. While that may meet code, in the St. Louis Area the EnergyStar recommended R-Value for optimal energy efficiency is actually between R-38 and R-60.

 

Air sealing makes a huge difference

Even if your home has a good amount of insulation, unwanted airflow could lessen the effectiveness of that insulation.  A Blower Door Test allows us to quantify the number of air changes within a house.  EnergyStar standards are 6-9 air changes per hour at 50 Pascals. The home we worked on recently was brand new and had 13 air changes. This proves that the builder/contractor did nothing to air seal the home before installing insulation. This home will most likely stand for another 50-100 years and be sucking up much more energy than it should.

 

Insist that your builder go over your options

You do not have to allow contractors to do what they think is best. Insist that they go over your options for insulation and air sealing measures. Educate yourself so that you know the difference between “up to code” and “up to energy efficiency standards.”  Until the codes catch up to efficiency standards, it is up to the homeowners and builders to work together to build homes that will be comfortable and not drain too heavily on the environment.

 

Building smart has a net zero increase in cost

You may think that more insulation and more air sealing will end up costing you more out of pocket, but this is simply not true.  Let’s say you are building a house with a total home loan of $250,000. The initial costs of the additional insulation and air sealing measures will cost more, but you will be able to reduce the size of your HVAC equipment because the home will be much easier to heat and cool. If you add in LED lighting and EnergyStar rated appliances you may end up paying $50-$75 more per month on your mortgage, but your utility payments will be cut in half. So, in the end, you will actually be saving money each month and your home will be exponentially more comfortable.

 

We are always happy to answer your questions about energy efficiency. Give us a call or send us an email anytime.

 


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