Energy Saving Solutions That Will Save Money And Enhance Home Comfort
Insulation products are designed to save energy while enhancing home comfort. And insulating the home is one of the most cost-effective improvements a homeowner can make. When a home stays warm in winter and cool in summer, without unnecessary energy loss, the utility savings are significant. And every home can benefit - whether it’s a new build, a renovation or a retrofit.
1. THE BASEMENT UNDER-SLAB (FLOOR)
In the basement, the concrete floor transfers cold from the ground below. This results in a cold floor and an uncomfortable space. Here, the ideal solution is to create a “thermal break” by applying spray foam into the floor gravel before pouring the final concrete covering. With this application, the concrete floor covering will hold the indoor heat, and consequently create a warmer, more comfortable indoor environment. This is the ultimate basement insulation, inhibiting airflow and moisture collection, while insulating at the same time.
2. THE BASEMENT WALLS (AND FLOORING)
In practically every home, at least 30% of heat loss is from the basement. In addressing this issue, more and more insulation contractors are installing spray polyurethane foam insulation (SPFI) into basement walls. In one application SPFI provides an exceptional insulation envelope, an effective air barrier, and an equally effective vapor barrier. For the optimum in insulation, contractors are also insulating basement floors – this serves to inhibit any air movement, prevent moisture accumulation, and insulate like no other product.
3. THERMAL BARRIER OVER SPRAY FOAM
Where spray foam insulation is not fully covered by drywall, a thermal barrier (or fire barrier) is an absolute requirement of the building code. Drywall (gypsum board or sheetrock) is an approved thermal barrier. In the event that there is no drywall, a spray applied thermal barrier can be applied over the spray foam to meet the required building code. Here, a professional approach is highly recommended so that the right product and install are employed. In addition, it’s important to satisfy the building code, while ensuring safety for occupants.
4. THE GARAGE (ATTACHED TO THE HOME)
When a garage is attached to a home, it’s a requirement of the building code that the space be “gas proofed” with respect to the living areas of the home. This is best accomplished by installing spray polyurethane foam insulation (SPFI) to cover the walls and garage ceiling. Where living areas are in close proximity, this application will help to seal off gasses, as well as cold air in the winter and warm air in the summer. Where there is a “bonus room” above the garage, that room will be warmer and more comfortable. SPFI does a better job here than other conventional insulation products.
5. SOUND PROOFING/SOUND DAMPENING
In many residential homes, as well as multi-tenant buildings, a quiet indoor environment is desired. There are various sound proofing measures that can be employed to reduce sound transfer between walls, ceilings, and floors. Indeed, soundproofing can improve occupant comfort in a private home, and particularly where individual residential units are under the same roof (and in proximity). Depending on a building’s structure, layout and size, a professional insulation contractor can recommend an insulating product that will best suit.
6. SECOND FLOOR/MAIN FLOOR IN THE HOME
Every home and building structure suffers from the “stack effect”. Simply put, the “stack effect” occurs when air moves upward from the bottom floors, travels to the top floor, and leaks out of ceiling, window and other accesses. Here, the appropriate solution is comprehensive air sealing. Windows and doors are sealed with weather stripping, and additional “air leaks” are sealed up with an expansion-foam product. The result: unwanted air movement is curtailed, indoor comfort levels are enhanced, and energy savings are realized.
7. DRILL AND FILL INTO EXTERIOR WALLS
“Drill and fill” is usually a retrofit upgrade that will allow a home to keep heated (and cooled) air inside. In this installation, holes are drilled in between wall studs, and the wall cavity is filled with loose-fill insulation. Loose-fill insulation is the ideal product option - it’s blown into the wall, and easily conforms to the cavity space, without disturbing anything structural. The “drill and fill” install can be performed from the inside of the home or from the outside. In the end, insulation values are upgraded and energy savings are measurable.
8. THE “BONUS ROOM” (ABOVE THE GARAGE)
Very often, the so-called “bonus room” (above the garage) is the coldest room in the house in winter. This is a problem that’s easily rectified, and can be solved with one product application. Using spray polyurethane foam insulation (SPFI), the entire under-side of the garage ceiling is coated. It provides the highest R-Value of any comparable product, and results in reduced heating costs during the winter season. But in addition to ongoing cost savings, there is enhanced comfort in the “bonus room” itself, as well as the rest of the home.
9. 3M™ SUN CONTROL WINDOW FILMS
3M™ Window Films are specially designed to rebuff solar heat, while blocking harmful UV rays at the same time. They can be installed without altering the appearance of the window. 3M™ Window Films contribute to energy savings by reducing cooling costs. They substantially reduce fading of carpeting and furniture, and serve to keep room temperatures consistent. By reducing solar heat gain, these window films reduce energy costs related to air conditioning. 3M™ Window Films are high quality, and covered by the full 3M warranty.
10. DRAFTPROOFING AND WEATHERSTRIPPING
Air sealing, draft proofing and weather stripping are all relevant home improvements with valuable payoffs. And it pays to have a “strategic” approach for each – in other words, choosing the right product and install for the job to ensure maximum results. A wide range of solutions is available for residential and commercial applications - spray foam for airtightness and thermal insulation; caulking and weather-stripping for doors and windows; even window “mullion injection” for more specialized installs. It’s all designed to save energy.
11. THE ATTIC AREA
Industry research shows that the attic is a primary cause of heat loss, air loss and moisture loss. As such, the attic space must be “air sealed” – and that means either strategically using spray foam to seal up any visible openings, holes and penetrations, OR using professionally applied spray foam throughout the entire attic floor. The idea is to create an airtight seal. augment insulation levels AND create an air/vapor barrier in one shot. After strategically air sealing the attic space, loosefill fiberglass or cellulose can be blown in on top of the spray foam to increase the overall R-value. Alternatively, spray foam can be used as the sole means to achieve the desired R-value. For a total “system”, added soffit ventilation will deliver both home comfort and energy efficiency. Depending on the conditions, a full removal of existing insulation may be required.