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Affordable Weatherization and Conservation

3 Comments

Many low-cost upgrades improve the comfort and efficiency of your home and immediately start reducing your monthly heating bill. Did you know that homes can lose about 40 percent of their heat through wall openings like electrical outlets, light switch boxes and around windows?

No cost upgrades

  • Turn down your thermostat to 66-68 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Replace your furnace filter regularly (every one to three months) for efficient operation
    Turn off lights when you leave a room
  • Unplug idle electrical items and use smart power strips that keep digital clocks on time
  • Contact the Energy Trust of Oregon (ETO) 1-866-368-7878, www.energytrust.org for a free
    in-home energy audit; there are cash incentives for energy efficiency upgrades
  • Set your water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Wash laundry in cold water
    (with the exception of bed linens – wash these in hot water to kill dust mites)

Low cost upgrades

  • Implement one or more energy efficiency measures identified in your free ETO energy audit
    Seal air leaks in basements/crawl spaces between the concrete foundation and the wood sill plate, using spray-in foam; use rigid foam board between floor joists (above foundation and below the rim joist bays)
  • Install batt insulation jackets around older electric tank water heaters, but not older gas water heaters that need air-flow for combustion. New water heaters have adequate built-in insulation.
    Wrap hot and cold water pipes with insulation
  • Purchase green energy from your utility and support the production of renewable energy; contact your utility provider for more information
  • Replace thru-wall mail slots with a wall-hung mailbox and seal original slot to stop energy leaks
    Install a multi-flap energy efficient pet door with magnetic seals
  • Plant leafy shade trees and shrubs on the south and west sides of your home that provide shade in the summer and shed their leaves during winter allowing the low sun angle to heat your home’s exterior
  • Replace incandescent and halogen light bulbs with compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) or light emitting diodes (LEDs)

Moderate cost upgrades

  • Install a solar tube in your ceiling to reduce the need for artificial lighting
    Use photocells, solar cells or motion sensors on exterior lights
  • Upgrade furnace thermostat with a programmable one
  • Insulate heating ducts in attics, and basement ducts should have joints sealed with mastic (foil tape will eventually fall off)
  • Preserve the charm of older wood windows with professionally fitted gaskets and weatherstripping to seal out drafts and reduce rattling
  • Purchase ENERGY STAR rated appliances, lighting, roofing, heating and cooling equipment and home electronics
  • Insulate to exterior walls and attics with formaldehyde-free insulation

Investment upgrades

  • Replace older windows with high-performance, dual–pane models or install storm windows
    Choose a direct vent fireplace (if you are installing a fireplace) that reflects 70 percent of the heat it generates into your space rather than venting it out through a chimney
  • Install solar water heaters (thermal) or photovoltaic panels (PV). Contact the Solar Now!
    Program for assistance, including an online cost calculator, at 1-877-546-8769 or
    www.solarnoworegon.org
  • Install heating systems with zonal control (one room can be heated at a time); efficient systems include floor-mount radiators, ductless mini-split heat pumps and wall-mount radiant heater

3 Comments

1

Jamie Saunders

March 16, 2009 at 12:22 PM

Does it matter if you have an energy audit done in the winter or summer, adavantages, disadvantages, etc?

2

Deborah Cleek

March 16, 2009 at 12:54 PM

That question is best directed to the Energy Trust. You can reach them at 866-368-7878. I do know if you have the audit done in the winter the effects of the blower door test are more easily noticable. The blower door test forces all of the outside air to come in through all the crack and holes in your house. If the air temperture outside is closer to the temperture of the air inside you home it would be much more difficult to notice the effects.

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