Monday, October 28, 2013

Wrapping Up Energy Awareness Month, October 2013

Once again we used the power of social media to focus on daily education (and sometimes amusement) in
support of October being National Energy Awareness month.  This is just one way we seek to fulfill our Mission to Save Energy, Save Money and Save The Environment. Looking back over the month, here are the top insights.

You are worried about the impact of winter on your home energy bills and comfort.

There is still time to prepare for the coming frigid winter
Our most popular posts were around the frigid winter weather predictions ahead, and how NOW is the time to prepare for Mother Nature and the rising heating costs.  While many people may contemplate a new high efficiency furnace as the solution, remember that may NOT in fact be your problem.  Prevent yourself from wasting thousands of dollars by having your home tested first to really figure out what’s going on.

Insulate yourself from energy loss.

Our two-part series on understanding the role of insulation and the different types of insulation available was a hot item.  Missing insulation is consistently one of the top 3 issues we find during our home energy audits.  To minimize the cost of your insulation – and maximize your benefit – you first need to know exactly where the insulation is missing from, and if there are related issues that need addressed beforehand.

You like animals in sweaters.
'Sweater Weather' included Scottish ponies in sweaters 

Hmmm….we won’t judge!  Our Friday Facebook ‘Sweater Weather’ feature was such a hit, we’re thinking of running a contest where you can vote for the Sweater Champion – stay tuned!

And remember, you can always look back on our energy saving tips anytime – it doesn’t have to be Energy Awareness Month.

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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Colder Temperatures and Higher Bills Predicted – Time to Plan Ahead! Issue #2    

Last month Caleb Weatherbee, The Farmers’ Almanac pseudonymous weather forecaster, alerted us to some dire predictions for the coming winter season. Mr. Weatherbee stated that in the coming months we should anticipate a combination of both low temperatures and high utility bills.
Pro Energy Consultants took that prediction as an opportunity to present a two-part series about the importance of insulation. In September’s blog post, we covered the ways in which insulation can reduce heat loss or gain while saving you money on energy bills. This month we are sharing further details on the various types of insulation and the R Value system that home-owners should consider.

Do the Research Before Spending Money on Insulation

Which type of insulation is the best choice for your home depends on a variety of factors including the following:   How much insulation is needed and where specifically it needs to be applied; R-value based on the climate and location of the home; design of the home; is this a remodel of an existing home; how much do you plan to spend; and how much do you plan to save on energy costs over what period of time. Other considerations involve the installation. Are you adding insulation as a DIY project or do you plan to hire professional installers?
A professional energy assessment of your home will provide UNBIASED insights on most of these issues. (Sometimes you may even learn that your problem is not related to insulation at all.) It will also tell you if, and where, you have air leak issues. If you do, these should be addressed first before making any other investments.

Types of Insulation

·        Batts and Roll Insulation is the most common type of insulation. It comes in long rolls of pastel-colored fluff and is easy enough for DIY installation in open areas such as unfinished attics and basements. This low cost insulation is made from glass fibers or rock wool and is already sized to roll out between the studs and beams in your home.
·         Loose Fill Insulation comes in loose fiber form or fiber pellets and is usually made from cellulose, fiberglass or rock wool. Loose fill material is pumped or blown into a wall cavity by a machine, so this is not typically done by a DIY homeowner. This is a good solution if you are remodeling your home and need to insulate inside existing walls and fill in empty nooks and crannies to eliminate cold spots.
·         Spray Foam can be blown into walls, onto attic surfaces or under floors by professionals. Consumers can buy a similar spray foam product in small aerosol cans that can be used to reduce air leakage in holes and cracks such as window and door frames, and electrical and plumbing penetrations.
·         Rigid Foam looks like large sheets of Styrofoam and is very effective for exterior wall sheathing, interior sheathing and for basement walls and attics. The R-values for Rigid Foam is up to 2 times greater than most other insulating materials of the same thickness is typically more expensive than other types of insulation.
·         Reflective Insulation (Radiant Barrier) reflects heat away from your home to reduce cooling loads. This is used for homes in extremely hot, sunny climates.
·         Green Insulation is an example of what’s old is new again. This includes natural materials such as cotton, sheep’s wool, straw, hemp and other materials made from plant-based substances.


Regardless of the type of insulation you choose for your home, all varieties are rated by R-values. This rating system measures levels of thermal resistance with the higher R-values providing greater insulation effectiveness for both summer and winter temperatures. To determine your insulation needs, use an insulation calculator that factors your geographic location and climate.

Insulation is just one element to consider in your winter-weather preparations. The important thing to remember is that NOW is the time to act! Stay tuned and connect with us for more information. Please see the links below to find us on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.