Insulating yourself against energy costs
Tuesday, October 10th 2006 8:13:20am
‘Every Kilowatt Counts’ coupons
(Ottawa, October 9, 2006) With the heating season upon us, NAIMA Canada, the association of fibre insulation manufacturers, would like to remind homeowners that increasing the amount of insulation in their homes remains one of the best things they can do for the environment and their wallets.
By adding insulation, you lower the amount of energy needed to heat your home, resulting in fewer associated greenhouse gas emissions and a lower monthly heating bill.
Inadequate insulation is one of the main reasons why the average Canadian home can lose up to 50 percent of its energy. Adding insulation will provide a lifetime of comfort and energy savings.
Steve Koch, executive director of NAIMA Canada, believes the provincial government’s efforts to save energy are a great start.
“The recent changes to the Ontario Building Code are an excellent example of the government’s commitment to energy conservation. Other examples are seen in its agreements with the Conservation Bureau, the City of Toronto and the Building Owners and Managers Association of Greater Toronto (BOMA).”
The Conservation Bureau’s Every Kilowatt Counts program helps homeowners conserve energy by offering coupons for a host of energy-saving devices, such as programmable thermostats, dimmer switches and compact fluorescent light bulbs. Visit www.conservationbureau.on.ca for information.
While pleased with the current level of provincial support for energy conservation, Koch added, “The government must adopt additional measures like British Columbia, which provides a tax rebate for energy-saving building products, such as weather stripping, insulation, heat pumps and the like. This kind of incentive will help stimulate even greater conservation in Ontario.”
For more information, please contact:
Steve Koch, Executive Director, NAIMA Canada, (613) 232-8093, email@example.com
NAIMA Canada is the association for North American manufacturers of fibre glass, rock wool, and slag wool insulation products doing business in Canada. Its role is to promote energy efficiency and environmental preservation through the use of fibre glass, rock wool, and slag wool insulation, and to encourage the safe production and use of these materials. NAIMA Canada is a sister organization to the North American Insulation Manufacturers Association (NAIMA).
Where you can add insulation
To achieve maximum thermal efficiency and comfort, it is important to insulate any space where energy could be lost. For optimal energy savings and comfort, consider adding additional insulation to your home.
1. Attics & Ceilings
The attic is one of the largest sources of potential heat loss in a home and often one of the most neglected areas when it comes to insulation, even in homes that are less than ten years old.
In most of the country, homeowners will want to add between R-8 and R-30 insulation to what they already have.
If your attic is unfinished, you, or a contractor, can install either fiber glass, mineral wool batt or blown-in insulation in the floor joists. If the attic is finished, fiber glass and mineral wool blown-in insulations are the best options.
To achieve R-values of R-40 and higher, two layers of fiber glass batts can be used, to combine their R-values. For example, an R-20 batt added to an R-30 will yield an R-50.
When installing a second layer, always use unfaced insulation. The second layer should be applied across the joists. Fiber glass or mineral wool loose-fill insulation can also be used.
2. Don’t Forget the Walls
Sections often overlooked in homes are the walls between living spaces and unheated garages, storage rooms, dormer walls, and the portions of walls above ceilings of adjacent lower sections of split-level homes. Today’s fiber glass insulation products are manufactured to fit in both 2 x 4 and 2 x 6 construction.
Floors that are above unheated or open spaces, such as garages, porches, and unheated basements, need insulation, too. This will also help control noise.
R-20 (or higher) insulation batts are usually cut into small pieces to fit snugly between the floor joists, sills and band joists. But when insulating floors over unheated basements or crawlspaces, faced products are necessary. The vapor retarders should face heated areas and be in contact with the subfloor.
4. Basements and Crawlspaces
Heat loss through basements and crawlspaces is often neglected. However, in an otherwise well-insulated and tight house, as much as 25% of the total home heat loss can occur through uninsulated foundation walls and floors (source: ACEEE).
If the basement is an unheated space and isn’t used as a living area, insulate between the floor joists for the room above, instead of around the exterior or perimeter walls. This keeps conditioned air in the living areas where it belongs, and out of the basement. R-12 to R-14 batt insulation can be used.
If the basement is going to be heated and used, you need to insulate the basement walls, instead. The simplest method is to build 2 x 4 frames against the concrete foundation walls, using R-12 to R-14 fiber glass or mineral wool batt insulation beneath the drywall. Vapor retarders should face heated areas and be covered as soon as possible.
If the basement is already finished, it is difficult to add insulation without tearing out the drywall. Look to other areas of your home that are easier to access for places to add insulation.
A crawl space is an unfinished, accessible area below the first floor of a building. Fiber glass or mineral wool batt insulations are the most typical products used to insulate this area. R-20 or R-21.5 insulation batts are usually cut into small pieces to fit snugly between the floor joists, against sills and between band joists. If you use faced insulation for insulating floors, put the facing up toward the living area.
Verify that the walls are dry and do not leak ground moisture before insulating a basement. If a crawlspace wall is vented, you should insulate the floors above and not the crawlspace walls.
For more on the life cycle and environmental attributes of fiber glass and rock and slag wool insulations, visit www.naima.org/pages/benefits/environ/environ.html