Properly installing good insulation is a relatively simple way to increase energy efficiency and comfort in a home.
Written by Sylvie Belmond
Your home is your shelter, a safe place where loved ones can gather in comfort. But it takes more than cozy chairs and soft carpeting to make a room warm and inviting.
Steve Anderson, founder of Progressive Insulation & Windows, is working to educate homeowners about the importance of the unseen lining inside their walls and attics. With energy costs rising and environmental concerns growing, good insulation is more important than ever before. Everyone wants lower energy bills and soundproof walls.
Properly installed insulation can pay for itself in five or 10 years, depending on the price of energy, Anderson says. “But once you do it right, it will last for the life of the house.”
Materials commonly used to insulate homes include fiberglass, cellulose paper, rock wool fiber and foam.
“Any of them will work, provided the materials are air-sealed,” he says.
On hot days, the oppressive outdoor heat enters your home. In cold weather, the warmth from your heater escapes through the walls, floors and ceiling. Insulation creates a barrier to keep your thermostat on an even keel.
“The most important thing is to have an energy audit from a qualified company to assess where leakage occurs,” says Anderson, whose company offers free baseline inspections.
While performing more extensive inspections, Progressive technicians may use infrared cameras and air blowers to detect the amount of air-flow leakage throughout the house, as well as leakage in the heating and cooling duct system.
In 2007 the California Public Utilities Commission set a goal that by 2020 all new homes should be energy neutral—producing as much energy as they consume. This can be accomplished with solar power and advanced insulation systems.
Through the Energy Upgrade California program, homeowners in Los Angeles and Ventura counties who make energy-saving upgrades to their homes can qualify for rebates and financial incentives of up to $4,500, in addition to saving money on their monthly utility bills.
The new program emphasizes a “whole house” approach, and insulation is one of the most efficient and effective ways to qualify for the maximum rebate available, Anderson says.
To be eligible for the rebates and incentives, upgrades must be performed by an approved contractor listed on the EnergyUpgradeCA.org website.