Energy Diet: Advanced actions to save energy

The Northwest Colorado Energy Diet Challenge is all about helping residents identify ways to consume less energy in their homes and businesses, and therefore to save money on their monthly bills. Today’s final look at the Energy Diet Challenge checklist involves the “Advanced” items — those that take a little longer and perhaps more effort to accomplish.

Of the eight advanced actions, five require detailed planning, additional financial resources and most likely contracting skilled professionals to be effective. The remaining three can be completed by either a skilled homeowner or a skilled professional.

The details below will help you make that decision.

■ Increase or improve the insulation in your attic or basement

Insulation is primarily measured in R-Value. R-Value is an industry term for the resistance to heat flow (cold or hot). For example, R40 insulation has twice the heat flow-stopping ability of R-20 insulation.

The higher the R-value, the better. Putting insulation on top of thin layers of existing insulation is the first best action a homeowner can take; it is easy and effective for the time and effort.

Stopping air from flowing in and out also is limited by insulation; the more layers of insulation you have, the less air flows.

There are many types of insulating materials. Some are familiar, like the “pink stuff,” and some are lesser known, like used denim.

Be sure to do your research on the pros and cons of each type under consideration. Not all products are for all applications in the home.

Insulation fabrics (the pink stuff and similar products) are best known for attic applications. Yet many other products, such as blown-in insulation, are very effective for closed areas.

The opinion of an experienced professional could help in your decision.

■ Have your home air sealed to reduce infiltration

Professional air sealing goes beyond the weatherstripping of doors and windows. Air sealing involves defining the air intrusion points in all home locations.

Professionals use specific technical devices to find where the air flows and can perform professional air sealing accordingly. Bad air sealing leads to an unhealthy entrapment of stale air and may contain offensive odors.

Contact a professional for home air sealing.

■ Seal and insulate all air ducts

For homeowners with forced-air heating systems, the sealing and insulating of air ducts will provide a measurable and noticeable difference in home comfort and energy efficiency. For homeowners with hot water (boiler or steam) heating systems, wrapping pipes that deliver hot water to the radiating units throughout the home directly increases the heat contained.

We wish you great success in your home Energy Diet efforts. Any success stories are worth sharing with friends, neighbors and family members.

Also, send your success stories and energy usage reduction results to info@yampavalleydatapartners.com.

The Northwest Colorado Energy Diet Challenge Checklist can be found in your local library, city hall, courthouse, chamber, the Daily Press office or at www.yampavalleydatapartners.com.

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