If you think energy waste is something you only find in older homes, and that new homes are all built with energy efficiency in mind, you are seriously mistaken. A lot of new homes are built with no regard to energy efficiency whatsoever. Sometimes it is because building codes are not updated to meet new energy efficiency standards. Sometimes it is because the builder is unaware of current best green building practices, and sometimes it is simply because they are trying to cut costs in a tough economy and spend more on visible features like energy efficient windows, and green roofing, while forgetting proper insulation and air sealing.
Larry Janesky, owner of Dr. Energy Saver, walks us through a new construction project showing the various details that are normally overlooked by builders. Such oversights can result in wasteful and very uncomfortable homes, very expensive heating and cooling costs, and high energy bills.
Improper attic insulation, that doesn’t meet the U.S. Department of Energy recommended R-Value for the regions is among the most common issues in new construction. Improperly insulated ducts running through unconditioned attics are other sources of energy waste.
Some architectural features such as cantilevers, bay windows, and custom windows with round frames, pose additional challenges when it comes to insulation. In particular, they create odd spaces that are hard to fill with popular insulation choices. Fiberglass bats, for example, is the material of choice in most new construction projects, because it is the least expensive, yet it only works when evenly distributed and fluffed inside wall cavities. Compressed fiberglass loses R-Value. These odd spaces around architectural features are often neglected or poorly insulated, creating gaps and cold spots in the building envelope. Common sources of air leakage are often overlooked as well. Holes around pipes, fixtures, ducts and duct chases, allow unconditioned air to move through and leak in and out of the house if not properly sealed.
If you have concerns about your new or old house energy consumption, and want to make your home more comfortable and affordable to own, call your energy conservation experts at Dr. Energy Saver!