Building Science Makes Sense, and Saves You Money! Rob Jordan, M.A. Executive Director Alaska Craftsman Home Program
DISCLAIMER The information and materials provided by the Alaska Craftsman Home Program are not comprehensive and do not necessarily constitute an endorsement or approval, but are intended to provide a starting point for research and information. ACHP does not endorse or sell any products.
1926 Sears Home Cost: $725
If Automotive Designed Progressed at the Same Rate as Home Building Technology…
The Baby Boomers Moved to the suburbs and built lots of houses
The consequences of inefficiency • We consume massive amounts of energy in this country. • More than 20 percent of produced energy flows through our homes • An additional 20 percent flows through the buildings we work in • This has a significant financial impact
Why be more efficient? • Efficient homes are cheaper to operate • Efficient homes have higher resale value • Efficient homes are more comfortable and durable • Making a home efficient is easier than it has ever been.
Behavior Changes • Most families could shave 25 percent off their energy cost by adjusting day-to-day routines • Furnaces often log hours when they are not needed • Appliances are often left running when not needed • Hot water consumption for many families can be reduced by 50 percent
What if? Convert to CFL’s • Replace 20 bulbs each in 25% of US homes • 46 Billion kWh per year • $5.1 Billion in electric bills
Seal Air Leakage • Air leakage wastes energy by allowing expensive heated or cold air to leak out of your home. • Also causes uncomfortable drafts, and can carry pollutants into your home. • Most significant leaks are in hidden areas like attics and crawl spaces– windows and doors aren’t usually the main problem. • What you can do: • Hire an energy auditor who can do a blower door test to locate air leaks. • Seal the biggest leaks in attic and crawl space.
Upgrade Windows and Doors • The doors and windows in most homes are a major gap in the buildings thermal boundary, allowing heat to escape in winter and enter in the summer. What you can do: • Replace your windows and doors, but only as part of a major energy renovation which includes adding insulation to the exterior of the building. • Don’t just install new windows and doors without adding wall insulation at the same time.
Improve Heating Equipment • Your heating equipment may account for the majority of your utility expense. • Old low-efficiency equipment may be part of the problem, but duct leakage, inadequate airflow, and malfunctioning controls are also to blame. What you can do: • Shop for a good contractor and ask for a complete heating and cooling tune-up. • Have your technician seal your home’s duct system if appropriate. • If you plan to install a new furnace, ask for a smaller unit that has a higher efficiency rating.
Improve Water-Heating Efficiency • Most homes have water heaters that include a storage tank. • These storage tanks consume gas or oil while operating at less the 60% efficiency, meaning that 40% of the fuel you consume goes up the chimney or is lost at the storage tank. • The year-round expense will become more important with rising energy costs.
Improve Water-Heating Efficiency What you can do: • Lower the thermostat on your water heater. • Install a water-heater blanket and insulate your hot water pipes. • Install a water-saving shower head. • Invest in a solar water-heating system.
Add Insulation • Almost all modern homes have too little insulation in the attics, walls, and floors. • No better energy-saving measure than installing more insulation. What you can do: • Insulate your attic to at least R-40 (14-16 inches). • Insulate your walls until they are full. • Fill floor cavities with insulation or insulate foundation walls with one to two inches of foam insulation.
Seal Your Duct System • Most duct systems are not sealed during installation. • If the ducts run through unconditioned areas like crawl spaces, attached garages, or attics, duct leakage can be a major energy problem. • Besides the leakage of heated air, duct leakage may draw moisture and pollutants into your home. What you can do: • Have your duct system professionally tested for air leaks. • Seal the leaks by starting at the furnace and working your way outwards.
Improve Appliance Efficiency • Refrigerator and washing machines are typically the most inefficient appliances in your home. • Computers and entertainment centers usually draw “phantom loads” even when they are in the “off” position. What you can do: • Replace your refrigerator if it was manufactured before 1993; replace with a model that is Energy Star rated. • The next time you buy a washing machine, buy a front loading machine with an Energy Star rating. • When replacing a dryer, buy one with a moisture sensor and an Energy Star rating. • Install switched plug strips at computer stations and entertainment centers, turn them off at the switch when not in use.