“Weatherization” and what does it mean to me?

When someone says “you need to think about doing some Weatherization to tighten up this house” do you really know what they are talking about? Without going into the whole science of the matter we will give you the crash course and just about everything you need to know to make an informed decision.

First let’s start by giving some real statistics on what good can come from “Green Energy Practices”. The US Department of Energy” estimates that weatherization returns $2.69 for each dollar spent on the program, families whose homes are weatherized are expected to save $358.00 on their first year’s utility bills. Weatherization has become high-profile, as the cost of utilities keep rising. Not only is this a great thing for the pocket but it is also great for the environment, in the United States we use one third of all energy consumed and two thirds of all electricity. We are contributing to the urban air quality problems and pollutants that contribute to climate change. But do not fear there is something we can do to help change all the negative and still live very comfortably I might add!

So what exactly is “Weatherization” you ask? It is the practice of protecting the interior of the structure from the elements; heat, moisture and air infiltration. It also reduces energy use and saves you money!
Let’s get down to business and discuss exactly what is done when you have a “Weatherization” company come out to your house. Sealing just about everything in your home, recessed lighting-windows-air ducts-pipes-skylights-doors and insulating pipes-water heaters-attics and wall cavities just to name a few of the components. “Think of your house like a balloon and how if you had a small hole all the air would flow out and the balloon would be flat” explains Jason Scheurer from “Building Energy Science Techs”

In closing, Weatherization is a very good thing when done correctly by professionals. It will save you money, make your home more comfortable and is great for the environment, so consider making your home healthier and in return it will make you a healthier person too!

Jason Scheurer

How can I reduce Energy use and save money in my home?

If you are thinking of ways to reduce your energy use then chances are you are already using less energy, but you want to reduce more and save more money!

There are a few simple things you can do today that will give you cost reduction on your electric bill:

First start by unplugging any electronics that you are not using, examples: toasters, computers, cell phones chargers, printers, coffee pots, hair dryers and any other cosmetic appliances just to name a few.

Second try to cut household appliance use to “off peak hours”, you can call your electric company and ask what the charge is for your peak hour use and what those times are? I recently purchased an electric vehicle and had to call the electric company to find out what are the rates at my peak hours, I was surprised to learn that I had to change more daily household operating schedule.

Third and maybe the best way to reduce cost is to change out your light bulbs, this really does make a difference. New more efficient halogen or compact fluorescent (CFL) light bulbs consume about a ¼ of the electric use as the old incandescent light bulb consumes. Today hardware stores offer so many different kinds of energy efficient light bulbs, they now have dimmers and can light available, and the chose is yours!

More importantly, get a whole house energy audit performed on your house by a professional. This will reveal a large part of your discomfort in your home and how in many cases just upgrading many small items can reduce the energy consumption.

Last, don’t forget to buy Energy Star appliances when you have to purchase a new item. The cost difference will pay off faster than you realize and you will have a part in making this planet (our home) a better place to live.

Home Energy Audits

To understand a “Home Energy Audit” let’s discuss what an Auditor is, this is a certified professional with training in the standards of BPI (Building Performance Institute). The Home Energy Auditor is trained to come out to your home almost like a doctor on call from decades ago, when your child was sick you would send your family member in town to get the Doc and make a house call. Well back to the task at hand, the Auditor will come out to your home and ask questions relating to the utility use of your home the uncomfortable areas and issues you are dealing with that make you unhappy with your home, just like a Doc! The professional will collect data by a number of different methods. First he or she will do a walk through inside as well as outside the home, looking at everything from attic to basement (if you have one) to the windows, doors, appliances, heaters, A/C units, water heaters fireplaces and recessed lights. This is a very intense process and the inspector should be very through.

The inspection does not stop there, they will then perform certain test on the home to determine areas of the problems you have issues with. Some of the test will include Blower Door, use of Infrared Camera and Combustion Analyzer. There will be other small operation they need to perform to understand where the problems are hidden. The Auditor will then analyze the data through software they have designed to understand the science involved and will then give you, the homeowner a very detailed understanding of your home and how it operates. You are then informed to make a decision to fix the problems and in the process lower your utility bills by up to 30%. Most Home Energy Auditors will give you a discount if you use them for the work and most counties have rebates through the utility companies to use for this purpose alone.

The best part of doing a Home Energy Audit is to lower your utility cost and the bonus to feel more comfortable in your home. Think of your house as a living – breathing thing, you are now getting a physical on your home and finding the problems before they become too big and costly to deal with.

Now is the best time to have a Home Energy Audit done for a few reasons,

1. Utility companies are giving rebates set forth by the Government, which may cost you little to nothing to do the work.

2. You are making your home a safe place to live for yourself and your family.

3. This will become a standard in the industry for all homes in the future and you are ahead of the game.

4. This is the right thing to do for the environment, when we reduce our carbon footprint on the earth we safe life and make this a better place to live.

Nothing can reverse the Global Warming effect we are all seeing, but we can reduce the affect we will have on the future for our children and generation to come.