Saturday, 17 September 2011
Prep Your Home For Solar
Solar is the future. Solar is on its way. It’s here, becoming more popular, accessible, and affordable as you read this. You may even be considering solar for your own home.
It’s important to do the prep work in your home now, so you’re ready for that solar installation. Putting a new technology into an old setting can be like putting new wine in old bottles—and that, as you probably know, isn’t a great idea.
“After all, it doesn’t make any sense to outfit a home with all of these great new, highly efficient technologies and then have it in a home that leaks like a sieve,” says Michelle Desiderio, Director of the Green Buildings program at the NAHB Reserch Center.
How to get started?
First, compare pricing on installation.
Next, learn what you can do now to prep your home for the future of energy consumption: home solar.
Heat Pump Water Heaters
Heat pump water heaters have hit the residential market with a bang over the last few years. Why? They’re gaining popularity as a way to slash electric water heating bills—and save water and energy. Made by companies like General Electric, the heaters suck heat out of the air such as a basement or garage (like a fridge running in reverse) to help heat water in a house.
The savings on this is astounding. Average operating costs of the device run between $225 and $280, or about half of standard water heaters.
Not to mention the fact that the minute you turn on your warm water, it actually becomes warm. No running, running, running your water at full blast (five minutes of this equals the energy of about 14 hours powering a lamp) waiting for that hot water.
Blown Fiberglass Insulation
Rather than those old matted sheets, a new technique has been developed for insulation. Blowing fiberglass between the walls is one of the best ways to improve the efficiency of your home. Proper insulation makes sure that your energy isn’t simply leaking back out of your home.
While the old sheets, or “batts” don’t often keep rooms sealed very tightly, a foam in the form of polyurethane provides better insulation, filling the nooks and crannies.
But what about the fumes and chemicals, you ask? The fiberglass industry answered those needs by creating a fiberglass that can be blown into wall cavities. While there is still potential danger during a professional installation, the industry is continuing to improve the materials.
And financially? Builders say that the blowing technique costs as much as 40% more than the batts, but it’s up to 50% cheaper than using spray foam. And better. Green building experts say that the higher insulation costs will at some point be offset by your overall savings in energy—dependent, of course, on what other green features the home has installed.