Installing a solar water heater, photo voltaic electric panels and a geothermal HVAC system would certainly green any home and make it more energy efficient. Unfortunately, the high price tags keep these items out of reach for many property owners. There are ways to improve comfort and lower your energy bills without such a high expense with by augmenting the insulation in your home.
Insulation within your house acts to buffer your house from outside temperatures and is measured in R values. The higher the R value the higher the insulation level. Improving insulation levels in your home will save on the costs to both heat and cool your house. Adding insulation to the walls would be ideal, but a difficult task to undertake as you would need to open up the walls and then close up the walls. This would prove quite costly and disruptive to day to day living. In instances with rather old homes that have no insulation, sometimes it is possible to use blown in insulation from the the exterior of the home.
Types of Insulation
- Roll – generally used in floors or ceilings; made of fiberglass
- Batt – similar to roll insulation
- Loose Cellulose – generally used in attic spaces
- Foam – Sprayed on either walls or ceilings, offers air sealing as well as insulating properties
Areas to Add Insulation
There are two areas of the home that offer access in order to add insulation. These are the attic space and in many homes the crawlspace. Homes with basements typically have access to the underside of the first floor as well. Installing additional insulation in these two areas will help to boost your homes energy efficiency. Starting with the attic as this is generally the low hanging fruit, be sure to seal any gaps before adding insulation. Insulating the floor can be a bit harder to do but is something to consider tackling after the attic space is properly insulated. This chart from Energy Star will help you determine how much insulation to add to ceilings, floors and walls.