In the wake of increasing energy costs brought about by rising global petroleum prices, the US Department of Energy recently invited experts from the government and the academe to share their insights. Iain Walker, a representative from the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab’s Residential Building Systems Group, said that efficient layout and installation can significantly reduce energy spending for households:
“For insulation, the installation is usually more important than the material that is used. Both types of insulation can be installed well or badly. The key is to have insulation that completely fills any cavity you are insulating. Any voids that are left (whether from compressed batts in the sheet rolls or incomplete fill from blown-in insulation) are performance killers.”
What this means for homeowners looking to save on electricity costs is that better energy efficiency depends less on the cost of the components than on the manner in which the insulating material is installed. Specialist knowledge of insulation design and set-up can spell the difference between paying exorbitant monthly costs and freeing up a significant fraction of the budget for the next family vacation.
Walker added that the local climate should be factored into the design and layout of energy-saving insulation components. For instance, exterior installations, air sealing, and heat-retaining systems are best suited for residential insulation in Peterborough and other areas in higher latitudes. On the other hand, window shades and improved ventilation can greatly help homes in warmer environments cut down on their energy budget.
Homeowners are advised to keep the temperature of the attic colder than the warm, habitable indoor air of the rest of the house. Walker said that this is to avoid unplanned condensation that can lead to the undesirable growth of mold, which can severely damage insulation and other structural components over time. Residents are also encouraged to subject their insulation systems to regular maintenance to ensure the long-term efficiency and reliability of the components.
The planning, installation, and upkeep of energy-saving insulation is a complex undertaking that requires an intimate knowledge of materials and structural design. Specialists such as EnviroTech Insulation can help clients looking for insulation contractors in Toronto take the first step towards making their homes more cost-effective places to live in.
(Source: #AskEnergySaver: Insulation, Energy.gov, February 21, 2014)