A new type of prefabricated “stackable apartments” are being built to help curb the problem of homelessness. In addition to being made with renewable materials, these apartments boast the latest in energy-efficient design. How energy efficient? The special insulated walls are so powerful that the apartments don’t need any extra heat. Imagine living in a home where you don’t have any heating bills, but you’re still nice and cozy during the long winter months.
These new insulation walls could become a game changer in future home design. As the weather starts to cool, you’ll be paying a lot more attention to your thermostat and utility bills. Is your home as insulated as it should be? The answer to that question could mean huge savings for your family.
According to Shrink That Footprint, a well-insulated home can get away with using the power of the sun, heat from people’s bodies and appliances to keep everyone warm. If you find yourself shivering in the cold, then there could be a problem with your insulation.
Is Your Home a Leaky House?
The leaky house is the home with the weakest levels of insulation. Typically, this will mean construction that uses solid walls along with an uninsulated floor. The leaky house will also likely have single-glazed windows.
In this type of home, it’s easy to see where all the energy would be “leaking out.”
To keep a leaky house warm, you would need to generate 300-kilowatt hours of heat energy per square meter. Translation? An enormously high power bill.
Is Your Home a Modern House?
Once it was determined that insulation matters in home construction, every new home was built to allow insulation between the walls. That includes insulation up in the attic and under the floorboards. The goal of insulation is to trap heat inside and to act as a buffer to prevent any outside cold from seeping into the home. Insulation becomes your home’s “wool sweater.” In a modern house, the power usage for heating drops to 150-kilowatt hours per square meter — a significant drop from the leaky house.
Is Your Home a Passive House?
Think of the passive house as the “Super Insulated Home of the Future.” Not only is there active insulation throughout the entire home, but the windows are triple-glazed. In fact, this type of home is so sealed up that it might require a ventilation system just to keep the air fresh and circulating — kind of like what you would have on an airplane, only fresher.
With the passive house, you need only to devote 15-kilowatt hours per square meter per year toward heating. The bulk of the heat for the passive house will be provided by a heat recovery system that is part of that ventilation unit.
How does all this break down in terms of heating bills? Look at these estimates:
Leaky House: $1500 per year
Modern House: $750 per year
Passive House: $100 per year
Obviously, the amount of insulation in your home can indeed have a huge impact on your expenses. The issue before you now is how can you improve your home’s insulation — short of moving into a home with better insulation, that is?
Best Methods for Cutting Heating Bills
There are many proactive measures you can take to improve your home’s insulation issues and cut your power bill:
- Replace weather-stripping. You probably have some type of weather-stripping around your doors and windows. When was the last time you got close to see what kind of shape it was in? Replacing the worn weather-stripping or redoing the caulking around windows is a simple way to plug up those heat leaks. A great tip is if you can see daylight coming from your doorframe, it’s time to “plug it up.”
- Plug exterior holes. There are other potential heat leaks zones in your home. For instance, some of your outlets can actually cause a small draft. You can eliminate those drafts by filling the gaps with acrylic latex. That same approach can be taken for any plumbing pipe entry points. The major culprit can usually be found down in the basement.
- Utilize a portable heater. Doesn’t it seem silly to heat an entire house when you’re only spending time in one room? Even a small home would still benefit from a portable heater that can be utilized in a single room. Anytime you can turn down that thermostat, the better off you’ll be. Just be sure the portable heater you’re using meets safety regulations. For instance, it should have an automatic shut-off if tipped over.
- Install a programmable thermostat. Not only will a programmable thermostat help cut your heating bills, but it will also keep you from running back and forth to adjust the temperatures.
You can program your thermostat to keep the heat low during the day when no one is home and at night when everyone is sleeping. It can also be set to turn on the heat just before you get home from work to ensure a cozy welcome. Once you embrace the concept of lowering your thermostat during those “off” hours, then the programmable unit will do the work for you.
Now that you know about insulation, are you ready to get your home in shape? No matter what time of the year it is, always remember winter is coming eventually.
This article came from our friends at Phroogal, and can be found on their website here. It was originally posted on September 23, 2015.