The Energy Efficient Home
Building Envelope

A Guide to Building Envelope Design

If you live in a cold climate, you probably spend approximately one half of your energy dollars on heating. You old furnace or boiler chugs away burning gas or oil like there's no tomorrow. So should you rush right out and buy a new super-efficient one? Not necessarily.

Replacing your existing heating system with one that's more efficient may well be a wise step, but it shouldn't necessarily be your first step. You should first try to lower your heating requirements. Tighten up your building envelope. This can be done by adding loose-fill cellulose insulation to your attic, caulking holes and cracks, possibly adding cellulose insulation in your walls, caulking around windows and doors, and installing foam receptacle covers. By reducing your heating needs, can increase comfort and you may be able to get by with a significantly smaller, and less expensive, furnace, boiler, heat pump, or geothermal heat pump. Doing so can drastically reduce energy costs and winterize your home.


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The same arguments hold true with air conditioning. If you live in a warm climate with high cooling requirements, it makes a lot of sense to tighten up the house to reduce your cooling load before investing in a new air conditioning system. When researching a new air conditioning system it's always smart to investigate using a geothermal heat pump, also known as a ground source heat pump.

A tight, well-insulated building envelope saves energy and allows you to get by with smaller-capacity heating and air conditioning systems, and it is also more comfortable, with smaller temperature swings. No more cold drafts at your feet while temperatures at head level are a sweaty 80 degrees F. With less of this temperature stratification during the winter months, you'll even find yourself comfortable at a lower thermostat setting than you're used to.
Continue reading to find measures you can take to improve the energy efficiency of your house, and when it makes sense to consider such projects.

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Tags: Cellulose Insulation caulking seal  winterize your home reduce energy costs  loose-fill cellulose energy efficiency

Phillip Rye
Phillip Rye

Phillip Rye - As Seen On Fox News

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