Wool you or won’t you? All puns aside, don’t be sheepish about insulation. With fall here and winter quickly approaching, some seasonal preparations could help turn your heat-hemorrhaging home into a model of efficiency and conservation. How? By giving your attic and walls a winter coat of fiberglass, mineral wool, recycled cotton, or even vegetable-based foam.
Insulation can come in many different forms and is in many cases regionally specific. Depending on where you live, your home will require insulation with a specific R-value. The higher the R-value, the greater the degree of insulation needed. Here in Northern California, for example, our Mediterranean climate requires an R-value of 49 for the ceiling and 21 for the walls. You can find a general guide for your region here.
Remarkably, 10-50% of a home’s energy losses come through improper insulation, particularly in the attic. A survey done a few years back showed that nearly 46 million homes in the U.S. are under-insulated. Needless to say, that’s a lot of heat loss.
Let’s take a look at the numbers…
|Heating and cooling bill:||$850|
|Cost of insulation:||$800|
|10-50 % savings:||$85-425|
|CO2 savings:||1,900-9,500 pounds|
So, it seems that if a) roughly 30% of our nation’s energy requirements are for residential and commercial buildings and b) we’re losing 10-50% of our energy in 46 million homes, a national insulation campaign coupled with significant tax incentives could go a long way towards significant CO2 savings. Anyone willing to lead that charge?
Last week (Tip #14) 37 people gave a thumbs up to taking the dry cycle of their dishwasher out of the equation and drying their dishes passively or with a towel. At 100 lbs per vote, readers reduced their collective footprint by 3,700 lbs, or about the weight of a standard 4-door sedan.