|Home ownership guide: Insulate to save money|
|Thursday, 10 March 2011 10:40|
Brought to you by Scotiabank
Temperatures as well as energy costs are on the rise, which is a costly combination in the Turks and Caicos Islands. Don’t sweat, there are ways for you to reduce your air conditioning needs without toasting your pocketbook.
According to the recently released TCI Energy Study, buildings in TCI waste energy because simple measures like good insulation and proper control of air conditioning are often overlooked.
“The vast majority of buildings in the TCI are poorly insulated concrete structures. ... Buildings are generally not sealed well — this increases consumption of electricity for air conditioning where this is used; and where there is no air conditioning, relatively higher temperatures increase power draw of refrigerators.”
Heat flows naturally from a warmer to a cooler space. During the summer, heat moves from the hot outdoors to the cooler house interior. Improving insulation in the ceilings, walls and floors decreases the cooling needed by providing an effective resistance to the flow of heat. Air conditioners fight incoming hot air to keep the space cool.
When we send a letter, we make sure it is closed tightly to protect our important documents inside, ensuring that nothing enters or leaves the envelope that is not meant to. This same principle should apply to houses. Technology today allows you to seal the building envelope of your home to keep inside air comfortable and outside air where it belongs.
House wraps like Tyvek HomeWrap, a DuPont product, is an example of a new technology that builds an airtight seal around the home, helping air conditioning systems to run more efficiently, saving energy and lowering your utility bills — while keeping you more comfortable year round.
Tyvek HomeWrap is installed on the exterior of a home underneath the siding or stucco, sealing the envelope of the home from the outside elements including air and water.
Solar barrier for your house
In the hot summer months, approximately 75-percent of total heat transfer in a building occurs through radiation. One way to protect your home against this heat penetration is with reflective insulation.
This reflective insulation system consists of thin aluminum foil blankets which are installed between the frame and the outer wall and roof coverings (siding, steel roof panels, decking, etc.). These blankets wrap the entire house and provide an effective barrier to thermal penetration.
One such product, Solarguard, uses a ¼-inch layer of fiberglass between the two aluminum layers, helping it to reflect 97 percent of radiant energy striking it.
Seal air leaks, save energy
Air leakage, or infiltration, is outside air that enters a house uncontrollably through cracks and openings. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, air infiltration can account for 30 percent or more of a home’s cooling costs.
Simple measures like sealing the frames of doors better, replacing the doors with Energy Star-rated doors and ensuring that the doors open into the home rather than outwards can help to eliminate a good chunk of the air leakage.
Although windows, doors and outside walls contribute largely to air leakage, the biggest holes can also be hidden from view and connect the house to the attic, crawl space or basement. The key is to identify these areas during the design process, seal the holes, and check to ensure that the air sealing was done effectively.
For most homes, the sheet goods that form the ceilings, walls and floor (such as drywall, sheathing, and decking) are effective at stopping air leakage. It is critical to seal all holes and seams between these sheet goods with durable caulks, gaskets and foam sealants to create a continuous, firm barrier.
Ensuring a good envelope for the home you are building or looking to buy is one important piece of the puzzle of reducing your utility bills in the long run. A small investment on the front end can make itself felt over the entire ownership period of your home.
Get rid of inefficient appliances
Inefficient appliances give off a lot of heat. Especially consider replacing or discarding old or auxiliary refrigerators; replace incandescent light bulbs with fluorescents that produce much less heat; and unplug electronic equipment when not in use.
Consider “cool” exterior finishes
When replacing your roof or painting your house, use light-colored or other “cool” roofing and siding products can reduce your peak cooling demand by 10-15%. There are a number of roofing products that can dramatically cut down on heat gain without blinding the neighbors.
You can reduce your reliance on air conditioning by taking advantage of natural air currents. Hot air rises, and cool air sinks. If you have double-hung windows, open the top sashes on the sunny or warmest side of the room, and the bottom sashes on the cooler side: this will create a cross-breeze.
Cool with air movement
Fan operation uses less energy than air conditioning and can be adequate for attaining desired comfort levels. Operating small fans for controlled ventilation can also reduce the running time for air conditioners.
Ceiling fans cool by creating a low-level “wind chill” effect throughout a room. As long as indoor humidity isn’t stifling, they can be quite effective. Just remember that a fan cools people — it doesn’t actually reduce room temperature — so turn it off when you leave the room.
|Last Updated on Thursday, 17 March 2011 11:04|
Latest Local News
Tourist Board expands adding two new staff members
The Turks and Caicos Tourist Board announced this week it welcomed two new staff members to further More...
Cruise terminal to open April 8
Beginning Monday, April 8, thousands of cruise ship passengers will again begin to enjoy the More...
2013 TCI Elecrotal List Available
TCI 2013 Electors’ Register is Ready! Supervisor of Elections Mr. Dudley Lewis has announced More...
Misick Declared By-Election Winner
Supervisor of Elections Dudley Lewis has advised that the Progressive National Party's (PNP) Amanda More...
New Board leads TCHTA
On Wednesday, March 13, Turks and Caicos Hotel and Tourism Association (TCHTA) bid farewell to its More...