With more than a century of experience in the building products industry, CertainTeed Corporation recognizes the continued challenges homeowners face in tackling escalating home heating costs.
CertainTeed's Building Science Department has found that building an energy-efficient home or retrofitting an existing home to increase energy efficiency can create many positive results. These projects help reduce utility and maintenance costs, increase occupant comfort, reduce noise and provide a healthier and safer indoor environment, as well as improve the structure's durability. One of the ways to go about such projects is using a "whole-house approach." This approach considers the interaction between the occupant, building site, climate and other elements, such as products used.
During October, the U.S. Department of Energy's Energy Awareness Month, CertainTeed wants to let homeowners know how to develop a successful strategy for making a home more energy-efficient.
Here are a few tips to get started:
Conduct a home energy audit. Start with a simple but careful walk-through of the home. Many of these problems are easy to spot. Locate obvious air leaks by examining gaps along the baseboard or edge of the flooring, at junctures of the walls and ceilings, and at electrical box openings and plumbing penetrations. If cracks are present, caulk and weatherstrip.
Understanding the R-value of fiberglass insulation is also important. R-value means resistance to heat flow - the greater the R-value, the greater the insulation power. Earlier this year, the International Energy Conservation Code was updated and in order for homeowners to take advantage of federal energy efficiency tax credits, improvements must meet the new requirements. Visit www.energystar.gov for map of the recommended R-value insulation levels needed in your region.
Get cozy with energy-efficient fiberglass insulation in attics. If an attic has 6 inches or less of insulation, it should be upgraded to the recommended level of insulation for the home's specific geographic area. This will help the home retain more warmth during colder months, thereby reducing the heating costs. Homeowners can receive up to $1,500 in tax credits for making energy efficient home improvements, such as adding insulation. For more information about products that qualify or to find a reputable contractor, visit www.cozyenergy.com.
Properly controlling moisture in a home will improve the effectiveness of air sealing and insulation efforts. Some insulation systems can provide the added benefit of moisture management in addition to traditional insulation performance. For example, CertainTeed Corporation's DryRight((TM) )Fiberglass Insulation offers excellent thermal protection while helping to reduce in-the-wall moisture to prevent the growth of damaging mold and mildew. Any insulation that is exposed to significant levels of moisture can decrease R-value performance.
Insulated siding helps improve R-value, up to 30 percent. Insulated siding can help reduce the heating and cooling costs of a home. In addition to its enhanced thermal performance, insulated siding's custom-contoured foam insulation helps block sound infiltration and provides added strength and rigidity for outstanding durability. To provide an additional sustainable benefit with its CedarBoards(®) Double 6-inch Clapboard Insulated Vinyl Siding, CertainTeed recently began incorporating 60 percent recycled material, the highest recycled content of any vinyl siding on the market.
Solar reflective roofs can provide long-term protection as well as savings. Cool roofing technology is another simple way to lower energy consumption. This means less work for the air conditioning system, and minimizing the absorption of solar heat through the roof. CertainTeed's Landmark Solaris((TM)) shingles feature solar-reflective granules that reflect the sun's rays and reduce a roof's surface temperature by as much as 20 percent, thereby reducing energy consumption. These innovative shingles, as well as CertainTeed's CT20((TM)), XT25((TM)), and XT30((TM)) shingles, are ENERGY STAR rated and eligible for homeowner tax credits.
CertainTeed offers quality-building products for both new and existing homes that meet the National Green Building Standard((TM)) and Green Building Guidelines established through the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). CertainTeed's full line of insulation products are certified through the GREENGUARD Environmental Institute and many interior and exterior building products can also qualify toward credits for The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED(®)) through the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).