With the combination of rising energy costs and the desire for homeowners to reduce their impact on the environment, it’s no surprise that home energy retrofits have become so popular across North America. More and more of us are looking for practical cost-effective ways to cozy up our homes by sealing up costly drafts in an effort to shrink our rising monthly energy bills all while reducing our carbon footprint.
Here are some practical tips from energy-efficient building experts on how you can retrofit your home using the latest energy-saving innovations to create a much greener home environment.
According to Keven Rector at NUDURA, a leader in the energy-efficient insulated concrete forms (ICFs) industry, home energy retrofits can range from quick modifications like sealing windows to full overhauls of appliances and your home’s major heating and cooling systems. These steps will lower your energy bills, reduce your effect on the environment and increase the comfort of your home.
Rector recommends targeting minor home energy retrofits at first for "low-hanging fruit” type modifications that are easy to implement, low-cost and that offer good value for the money and effort invested.”
These could include:
Although relatively simple and cost-effective compared to more major investments, these projects can make a big difference to your home’s energy consumption, he added.
One of the most effective and affordable ways to use less energy is to fill the air leakage gaps around your home that are costing you money every month in unwanted heat loss. “Caulking and weather-stripping are quick wins and upgrading your insulation is one of the best investments you can make to keep air from escaping your home,” Rector advised.
According to Natural Resources Canada, if you have an attic or basement, these areas can be responsible for as much as 15% – 30% of your home’s overall heating and cooling losses.
Rector explained that the latest innovations in insulation are making home energy retrofitting much easier to install and more effective for homeowners. “The Integrated Series from NUDURA combines building envelope products that work in conjunction with our line of ICFs or with traditional walls to provide maximum energy efficiency.”
The Integrated Series is made up of three building envelope products: Hydrofoam (a radiant heat insulation base), Homega (panels that install inside and out for walls, floors and ceilings) and Thermofoam Floor Technology (insulation for floors). Each Integrated Series product has been manufactured to install quickly and efficiently and replaces many traditional forms of insulation.
Rector explained that Hydrofoam is used to maximize radiant heat insulation for homes by ensuring the heat is dispersed evenly throughout the entire floor area, providing homeowners with a more comfortable living and working environment. “Installation is fast and easy compared to traditional radiant heat insulation which requires multiple steps to run radiant heat piping.”
The lightweight high density expanded polystyrene (EPS) radiant heat insulation product increases installation speeds as it’s easily cut to meet any angle or radius while providing R-10 of insulation. The interlocking 1.2×1.2-metre boards can be specified in thicknesses of 64mm and 102mm with a 360-degree, multi-directional friction-fit anchor system that facilitates the easy installation of radiant heat pipes.
The fast and effortless installation also describes the Homega insulation panels made of EPS foam which do not contain CFC's or HCFC's making them safe for a variety of applications such as retrofitting non-insulated walls, floors and ceilings for cottages, homes, and garages.
“Easier to install compared to conventional multi-step finishing methods, Homega panels fit seamlessly together with a ship-lap system,” added Rector. “Electrical installation is easily completed, and drywall or Gypsum Board is attached using the 2 1/2” (64 mm) fastening strip located on 16” (400 mm) centers. Once installed the panels provide insulation performance up to R-14.8.”
Thermofoam Floor Technology increases a homes' comfort and energy efficiency through the reduction of heat loss through the floor and provides an effective base for radiant floor heating. Rector explained the 2′ x 8′ (0.61 m x 2.4 m) insulation panels differ from conventional insulation products by featuring a unique interlocking design providing easier installation and airtightness.
“The panels are available in thicknesses of 1 1/4″ (32 mm), 1 7/8″ in (48 mm) and 2 1/2″ (64 mm) and offers R-values up to R-10.6 with three different compressive strengths to better meet the insulation requirements of all types of construction,” he added.
These new home energy retrofit innovations are making it easier for homeowners to upgrade their home’s insulation values while also helping them save on energy consumption and in turn their effect on the environment.
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