How To Improve Energy Efficiency Of The Standard Home
Many things can be done to improve the energy efficiency of the standard home. Some of these things can be done at small cost; others are expensive. A high insulation level is important to and standard home. You should insulate the footings and walls along the entire perimeter from two to four feet from the exterior walls. In cold climates, to improve energy efficiency of a standard home, it is a good idea to insulate under the entire slab with rigid insulation. If you are planning to remodel or build you should never have wiring or plumbing running through outside walls.
- Limit the size of the living unit (in square feet) by redesigning the living quarters. If each area can be made more flexible (have several uses), the original cost of construction can be reduced and energy efficiency improved.
- Use the correct kind of sheathing. Installation of energy-efficient sheathing instead of standard materials provides great fuel savings.
- Add proper insulation in walls, ceilings, and floors and around the perimeter of the building.
- Add proper, well-fitted storm windows or energy efficient windows, and french doors.
- Install the correct type of weather stripping around the doors and windows.
- Add calking around all windows and doors where the frame meets the siding and around all other possible openings. Calking should be applied around an outside faucet, between the basement and floor framing, the drip cap and siding, the corners formed by siding, where pipes and wires penetrate the ceiling, below an unheated attic or chimney, and where chimney and masonry meet siding.
- Add attic ventilation. Attics with a ceiling vapor barrier must be ventilated with one square foot of vent area for each 300 square feet of ceiling. Attics without a ceiling vapor barrier must be ventilated with one square foot of vent area for each 150 square feet of ceiling. The vents may be in the roof, soffit, or gable. One of the most efficient venting systems is that installed in the ridge of the roof.
- Insulate duct work. Duct work may be insulated by adding insulating tape around each joint and furnace opening. Also, batt insulation completely covering all exposed duct work can be installed.
- Put energy efficient light bulbs in all lighting fixtures, recycle your old light bulbs properly.
About one-fifth of our total national use of energy is for climate conditioning of houses, apartments, condominiums, mobile homes, and other living units. Energy is needed for heating, air conditioning, humidifying, dehumidifying, and air cleaning. As the cost of energy rises and the supply diminishes, it becomes increasingly important for everyone to do their part to make all types of living units more energy efficient.