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Studies have shown that improving the air tightness of a building can produce energy savings of 15% – 30%. That’s because as much as 20% of heat lost in the average home can be caused by unsealed gaps. Draft-proofing the average home can cut between 300-350 lbs. off the buildings’ average annual greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions!1
Keep your building warm in the winter and cool in the summer, and cut energy costs!
Weatherizing your building is one of the most significant changes you can make to save money and reduce your carbon footprint. Some simple behavior changes can reduce heat loss, such as making sure doors and windows are closed when the heating is on. But building owners should also investigate more long-term investments and solutions. Below are some suggestions for building owners looking to weatherize their home.
Draft Audits and Energy Assessments
$$ Civic Works offers a number of services to Baltimore residents to assess a buildings’ energy performance. For a limited time, these affordable services are made even more so with financial incentives, including utility rebates.
$ If a professional energy assessment is outside of your current budget, you can do your own home draft audit by holding a lit candle next to windows and doors (preferably on a windy day). Identify drafts by observing where the candle flame flickers.
$ Apply draft-proofing and leak-sealing materials (such as caulk, weatherstripping, and door-sweeps) around windows and doors.
$ Plug chimneys with a “chimney balloon” in the winter to keep warm air from escaping, but be sure to remove the device before lighting a fire!
$$ About a third of heat escapes through drafty attics. Trap winter heating indoors while keeping summer heat out by insulating attic spaces. Remember, there are a number of federal and local incentives to help you pay for insulating your home.
$$ Insulating materials, including windows and doors, are given an “R-Value.” This measures the material’s thermal resistance. When purchasing construction materials, look for products with higher R-Values.*
$$ When replacing windows, look for double glazed windows, or products made with low-E (low emissivity) glass which constricts thermal conduction while allowing the same amount of light to penetrate.
$ Use storm windows to create a thermal barrier, or apply an adhesive insulating film in the fall and peel it off again in the spring.
$ Draperies can cut heat loss by a third (uninsulated) and a half (insulated). In the winter, be sure to close draperies, blinds, and shades at night to keep the warmth indoors.
*Some products will instead be given a U-Value. This measures the transfer of heat, so a lower U-Value is preferable.
1 Yarrow, J. (2008). How to reduce your carbon footprint. San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books.