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Retrofitting to Ensure Energy Savings

March 17, 2016

Home insulation is mainly about comfort - but it's also about energy consumption and energy savings. After all, an energy efficient house will dramatically reduce heating and cooling costs throughout the year. And with good insulation, those savings could be substantial enough to offset the cost of retrofitting. In fact, one of the best ways to reduce energy consumption in a home is to insulate the roof, walls and basement. For the professionals, these efforts are referred to as "building envelope retrofits". Beyond personal comfort, a well insulated home contributes to better energy efficiency in winter and in the summer. And with energy consumption reduced by 25% and more, long-term utility savings can make for a retrofit project that can be worthwhile investment. This is particularly true for homes that are older, where air leakage can seriously compromise insulation values. With a good insulation retrofit plan, and with a professional approach to air sealing and insulation, results can be impressive. "Building envelope retrofits" can be achieved from the exterior or interior of the home. Here, a reputable insulation contractor can recommend the product options and installations methods that would best meet the needs of the project. And while retrofitting from the exterior of the home has some advantages, doing the work from the interior will also deliver good results. Most importantly, whatever insulation approach is decided upon, it's absolutely vital to ensure air-tightness throughout the home. For the most part, older homes have limited insulation - attics usually have the minimum; exterior walls may not even be insulated; and basements have modest amounts. That's why a good insulation retrofit can make a difference - using a high quality insulation product; ensuring effective air sealing; and installing proper ventilation. Here again, a professional can assess weaknesses in the "building envelope" and can offer viable recommendations that will guarantee the optimum in energy efficiency. A good insulation retrofit will address what the experts call the "air barrier system". This is the system of building materials that resists air movement through walls, roofing, and even the foundation of the home. And while some of these materials do a good job resisting air movement, many do not. This is where sealing, weather-stripping and draft proofing can play a vital role in improving energy efficiency. And it's here that choosing the right type of insulation product will make a big difference. Today, many home improvement centers promote insulation products and techniques that are targeted at the DIY enthusiast. Many of the products are worthy, and the promise of cost saving is attractive. But with a home insulation retrofit nothing can compare with a professional contractor. Professionals have in-depth product knowledge. They have troubleshooting expertise. They have the installation experience. And above all, they have the know-how to recommend viable project options. Unlike some of the more cosmetic home improvements, an insulation retrofit benefits from the expert touch. The long-term results will be evident - with enhanced home comfort, improved energy consumption, and energy savings throughout the year.

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Mike Holmes and his son Mike Jr. (MJ) convert MJ’s bachelor bungalow into a two-storey home for MJ and his girlfriend Lisa. Choosing the newest materials and build techniques, the father and son team follow Mike’s famous motto – “Make it right.” The show can be watched on HGTV and DIY Network.

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